Sumo chairman resigns, wrestlers expelled

For the few of us interested in sumo or Japanese events (there is some Russian judo connection):

Chairman Kitanoumi finally resigned today under pressure from all sides. A Russian rikishi Wakanoho was arrested for possessing marijuana, and two other Russians were tested and had THC in their urine. In Japan this is serious shit that can get you locked up. They claimed innocence and Chairman Kitanoumi stood by them because it was his only chance to avoid losing power. Kitanoumi actually said this in the media:

"If the test comes back positive, we will keep going to lab after lab until we get a negative test."

Kitanoumi, like all old-guard rikishi, has a junior high education and protects the old guard. (I worked with a junior high teacher who knew one of Kitanoumi's old teachers, who said Kitanoumi was dumb as rocks.) Sumo's popularity and prestige has declined from numerous scandals during his tenure. He has done little about it and protected himself and his people. I believe he got elected Chairman due to his prestige as a dai-yokozuna. I met him, dude is about 5'10 tall and 5'10 wide. He sized me up fucking good and I couldn't meet his gaze.

Judo connection: the Russians are actually North Ossetians who all come from a judo background. The 2 with THC in their piss are brothers (Roho and Hakurozan) whose father is a judo coach. The one caught with pot and a drug pipe (Wakanoho) was a student of that judo coach. Through that connection they all got into the amateur sumo circuit in Europe and then to pro sumo. It was a smart play because they probably couldn't make it in international judo, but they make way more money in sumo anyway. These 3 Ossetians have been known for their rowdy behavior. After losing a match Roho clobbered a cameraman and sent him to the hospital, and then punched through a window. Wakanoho punched through a wall. They should have been expelled a long time ago but the Old Guard brushed it under the rug.

Now there is going to be STEROID TESTING. Ozumo is only slightly less juiced up than pro bodybuilding. These guys are insanely strong. Now there is going to be testing and oh, what a surprise, yokozuna Asashoryu is not as buff and is getting injured all the time.

The new sumo Chairman has pledged to bring discipline and honor back to sumo. In the future I believe the great yokozuna Takanohana will take over sumo and institute much-needed reforms. The sport is dying because it's on at fucking 4pm-6pm. Everybody is at work! Takanohana already said this has to change, but they silenced him.

Thanks for the update; maybe sumo will get back on its feet.

 Thanks for the info. Here's hoping Takanohana is able to set things right again for sumo - a shame to see it on the downswing.

Ozumo is a government body under the Ministry of Education, that gets tax exempt status. Rikishi are supposed to be ambassadors of Japanese culture. Yeah.

Partial list of scandals in just the last year alone:

2007 beating death of 17 year old recruit who tried to escape the beya. Sempai hit him with a baseball bat and conducted a grueling butsugari training session. He died of heart failure a few hours later. Hazing like this is common. In response, Kitanoumi instituted the reform that bamboo sticks, axe handles, shovels, and baseball bats are not allowed in the training area. This reform was opposed by a lot of oyakata, but hazing is probably less extreme now.

2007 Yaocho - match fixing. Shukan Gendai, the magazine that brought down Pride, alleges that Yokozuna Asashoryu has been doing Yaocho. They have proof that one of Asashoryu's servants was frequently running from East locker room to West locker room before matches, which is forbidden and is never done. Their excuse was "he was giving advice to the young wrestlers." Shukan Gendai also has a tape of yokozuna Hakuho's coach talking about yaocho with a prostitute whom he was trying to impress. Shukan Gendai also accused Kitanoumi himself of yaocho back in his day. Ozumo is suing Shukan Gendai for libel but the magazine is not backing down, they never do. They destroyed Pride, fuckers. In 2000 there was another yaocho scandal, but it went away when the whistleblowers both mysteriously died of a rare lung ailment 12 hours apart.

2007- Asashoryu refuses to participate in a sumo tour, citing injuries. Instead he returns home to Mongolia and participates in a soccer match. It is a massive slap in the face to fans who support sumo financially with personal donations and other benefits. He is suspended for 2 tournaments, becomes depressed and disheveled, a huge media circus, basically a total disgrace to sumo. Kitanoumi protects him. Asashoryu has a list of transgressions so long I can't even remember, and he is constantly "getting a cold" and going back to Mongolia for "special hot spring treatments". The new Chairman said today that Asashoryu will be forced to retire if he doesn't clean up his act.

2007 - Oshima stable is rammed by a truck and vandalized by yakuza trying to get money out of Kyokushuzan due to his failed business dealings with them. Usually yakuza support ozumo and the connection is never talked about, so it is awkward to have any connection come out in public like this. Kyokushuzan is forced to retire and returns to Mongolia.

2008 - Drunk rikishi hits taxi driver and demolishes taxi cab.

2008 - Wakanoho arrested for pot, Roho and Hakurozan found with THC in blood.

2008 - 95% of rikishi will be found with roids in their system.

PS the new Chairman is Musashigawa, former yokozuna Mienoumi who was a great technician. He is known to be a hardass.

Takanohana is still too young but is clearly being groomed to take over the Kyokai. He lives Sumo-do fanatically, and has some radical ideas to revitalize the sport. Dude was 163kg at retirement, now 90kg. He lost the weight eating nothing but chanko nabe (sumo food). Sumo-do to the grave.