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#51 Peterao

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 21:27

It is really a crisis situation that could even threaten their existence unless they take immediate actions as this could cause the cancellation of Haru Basho.

I do find it amusing that, for the last scandal, when actual crimes were committed with actual underworld people that few of us ever suspected, most people on this forum accused NHK et al of overreacting. Now, when evidence is found for a non-crime that we all knew was going on, it's a crisis situation.

This will blow over exactly how the gambling blew over; a basho or two of "reflection", meetings to schedule other meetings that are eventually forgotten, a few sacrificial lambs falling by the wayside to save the hides of the real culprits, and life eventually goes back to normal, minus the fans they've alienated this time around.

#52 Asameshimae

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 21:30

I think anybody who has watching sumo long enough has suspected it might be this bad (or worse) but hoped, out loud that it wasn't this bad (or worse). In such a government sanctioned and closed world, corruption is inevitable, and also easy to keep a lid on because of it's close nature. Add on to it the deceptively simple kachi-koshi, make-koshi system and you get rampant corruption. Regardless of how we all argued, I don't think anyone is surprised.

I can see that it might be largely confined to juryo because those are the wrestlers who have the most to lose (besides ozeki). I can also see that the argument that the police know more than they are saying about other ranks, and are holding back for now for whatever reasons (maybe they want a payout - don't use your cell phones!)

I am curious if the police confiscated the cell phones of gyoji, tokoyama and yobidashi; these would be perfectly placed men for making arrangements. I hope they were smart enough and quick enough to do that (again if you have watched the police in Japan long enough, they can still seem pretty amateurish sometimes.)

It would seem to me this investigation by the police is at an end, if they have made it this public. I assume they thoroughly investigated whether anything illegal was going on, inside the sumo world, or if there were any outside yaocho connections. Anybody who didn't get their cell phone confiscated has already made a visit to the cell phone shop to be sure erased emails are gone once and for all.
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#53 Asashosakari

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 21:33

Most sumo fans, outside of this forum, couldn't care less about the "specifics." The bottom line is that there is mutual cooperation going on. The important thing about the "insider" information is that we get an idea of what people within sumo think of their peers.

I get that, but barring corroboration as to their identity I'm just not willing to accord "insider" status to just any anonymous poster at 2ch and the like whose claims look like they make sense. I could've come up with a list nearly identical to the one you mentioned just based on the theory that anyone who survives in juryo for more than 15 basho or so (without significant time in either maku* division) must've engaged in some rigging to do it, and I'm assuredly not an insider. Maybe it really is as easy as that, but in that case any inside info that doesn't actually name any specifics just isn't very "inside".



From the time of Itai's revelations, it had been made clear that money per se isn't the main reason for yaocho. It is maintenance/preservation of rank. Why do you think ozeki and lower juryo are two areas where cooperation exists the most? Those guys have the most to lose. The money involved is just to keep score. If at all possible, the debts are repaid on the dohyo. That's why the "debts" are passed around and around. A middle man, nakabon, would not be needed if each debt is paid off immediately. The only time that money is involved primarily is when a yokozuna is involved. Obviously, he cannot repay his debts on the dohyo.

I'm the last guy who needs a reminder why juryo is particularly susceptible to it. (In a state of confusion...) My point was slightly different though - if these guys were truly (and only) "cooperative people", money wouldn't be needed: From time to time, you willingly give up a win to someone who (looks like he) needs it, and if he's the uncooperative type who doesn't want to repay of his own volition when the tables are turned, you just cut your losses and exclude him from future niceties. Yes, keeping track of disparate obligations by assigning monetary values to them makes it easier to trade them around between otherwise unrelated parties (i.e. settlements that go beyond one Samplenoshima-beya guy "paying up" for his stablemate), but at that point things have moved from "cooperation" to "fraudulent business", IMO.

But maybe I'm overestimating the need for internal justification before a rikishi decides to step across the boundary from one to the other.

Edit: Was it Osaka basho before which all the sumo people with a collegiate background are having their big annual meeting/pep rally? That could be an interesting event this year if the open evidence keeps pointing towards a large Nichidai bout-fixing network.

Edited by Asashosakari, 02 February 2011 - 21:44.


#54 Asameshimae

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 21:40

"Now, when evidence is found for a non-crime that we all knew was going on, it's a crisis situation."

Why is it not a crisis situation? Yes, we all knew it was going on to whatever extent, but it is quite disheartening to see it proven. So, none of this will change your mindset, viewing habits etc. towards sumo at all? The fact that it is not a crime makes it less of a crisis for the sumo world than it could have been, but this will obviously have ramifications.
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#55 Kintamayama

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 21:43

I do find it amusing that, for the last scandal, when actual crimes were committed with actual underworld people that few of us ever suspected, most people on this forum accused NHK et al of overreacting. Now, when evidence is found for a non-crime that we all knew was going on, it's a crisis situation.

Here we go again- Peterao surfaces as usual exclusively when the sumo world is at its best.. To answer you, thinking that NHK are over-reacting, and thinking that what happened is serious are actually two distinctly different things. I can say NHK didn't have to stop the broadcasts, and also say the gambling stuff was bad. At the same time!! Additionally, there is quite a big difference between rikishi caught gambling in BASEBALL, be that illegal as it may, and rikishi caught selling each other bouts for money, potentially opening all sorts of possible cans of worms. Even you can see that, no? One has nothing to do with sumo itself, the other having everything to do with sumo? Big difference there. And, the difference between hard evidence and rumor, of course. Some of us that actually LIKE sumo stubbornly did not want to believe this happens, and when it hit us straight in the face, it caused some uneasiness, for sure.

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#56 Peterao

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 22:01

I do find it amusing that, for the last scandal, when actual crimes were committed with actual underworld people that few of us ever suspected, most people on this forum accused NHK et al of overreacting. Now, when evidence is found for a non-crime that we all knew was going on, it's a crisis situation.

Here we go again- Peterao surfaces as usual exclusively when the sumo world is at its best.. To answer you, thinking that NHK are over-reacting, and thinking that what happened is serious are actually two distinctly different things. I can say NHK didn't have to stop the broadcasts, and also say the gambling stuff was bad. At the same time!! Additionally, there is quite a big difference between rikishi caught gambling in BASEBALL, be that illegal as it may, and rikishi caught selling each other bouts for money, potentially opening all sorts of possible cans of worms. Even you can see that, no?

Your point would be valid if Ozumo were a sport. Last crisis I outlined a proposal for a radical overhaul of Ozumo, and you told me that it would take away all of the tradition, which is the only thing that makes Ozumo special.

Well, yaocho, code of the bushido, preserving the wa, whatever you want to call it, is all part of the tradition of Ozumo. All the Japanese decrying this do so in the same vein as analyzing pro wrestling matchups as if they were real athletic competitions. They know the fixes are on, but it's more enjoyable for all to preserve the lie. So after a little uncomfortable squirming, this is destined to return to the status quo (save for a strong edict to never put yaocho down in writing), minus the people who are tired of playing the game.

Gambling/yakuza involvement was a REAL crime and, IMNSHO, much more serious than this.

#57 Asameshimae

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 22:07

You have expressed my sentiment exactly, Kintama (boy it is hard to call you that without smirking, even in these dire times : )

I finally saw on the news this morning the match that NHK was showing that shows the Kiyoseumi / Kasuganishiki bout following their email exchange exactly. It is sad that is looks pretty convincing compared to many other dubious bouts I have seen.

Edited by Asanomeshi, 02 February 2011 - 22:08.

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#58 Kintamayama

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 22:07

Well, yaocho, code of the bushido, preserving the wa, whatever you want to call it, is all part of the tradition of Ozumo. All the Japanese decrying this do so in the same vein as analyzing pro wrestling matchups as if they were real athletic competitions. They know the fixes are on, but it's more enjoyable for all to preserve the lie. So after a little uncomfortable squirming, this is destined to return to the status quo (save for a strong edict to never put yaocho down in writing), minus the people who are tired of playing the game.

Gambling/yakuza involvement was a REAL crime and, IMNSHO, much more serious than this.

Let me get this straight-you are equating sumo with pro-wrestling? Out of curiosity, how many bouts do YOU think are fixed in the two top divisions on a daily basis? 50%? 80%? 100%?

What do you get when you cross an insomniac, an agnostic and a dyslexic?

A guy who is up all night arguing with himself over whether or not there is a dog.

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#59 Peterao

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 22:33

Well, yaocho, code of the bushido, preserving the wa, whatever you want to call it, is all part of the tradition of Ozumo. All the Japanese decrying this do so in the same vein as analyzing pro wrestling matchups as if they were real athletic competitions. They know the fixes are on, but it's more enjoyable for all to preserve the lie. So after a little uncomfortable squirming, this is destined to return to the status quo (save for a strong edict to never put yaocho down in writing), minus the people who are tired of playing the game.

Gambling/yakuza involvement was a REAL crime and, IMNSHO, much more serious than this.

Let me get this straight-you are equating sumo with pro-wrestling?

In the sense that the results are secondary to the overall atmosphere created, yes I am.

Out of curiosity, how many bouts do YOU think are fixed in the two top divisions on a daily basis? 50%? 80%? 100%?

It's legit when it can be. 100% of the bouts that the Kyokai require to be fixed (probably not that many) are. The rest would depend on the age, rank, temperament, and financial situation involved.

I do think that there is a difference between yaocho set up by individual rikishi (what the current "crisis" is about) and institutional yaocho, of which no evidence will likely ever be found.

#60 madorosumaru

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 22:42

The term "cooperation" is used ironically, sarcastically or whatever one wants to call it. In any case, in the broadest sense. As I mentioned, Japanese society, sumo included, is chockful of "obligations." When a gaijin studies Japanese culture, the first thing he is taught is "giri" and "on"--concepts alien to most Westerners--but integral to every Japanese person's life. Giri 義理 can be defined as 1. duty 2. courtesy 3. sense of duty 4. honor 5. social obligation 6. decency 7. debt of gratitude and On 恩 as 1. favor 2. obligation.

As you can see, there is a lot of obligation extant. It could be for himself, for his heya-mate, oyakata, schoolmate, koenkai . . . on and on. Add to that the sense of "There but for the grace of God go I." One does a favor because he is sure to need the favor back at some point. Yes, the money may factor in, but it would be a secondary or tertiary consideration.

Of course, it is "fraudulent business." No one is trying to excuse it--only trying to understand/explain it. The difference between sekitori and toriteki has been described as being between heaven and hell. The details have been discussed elsewhere. The few-man-yen mentioned is truly chicken feed.

Those who play banzuke games may find it hard to accept, but in reality there are only three ranks and a special category in sumo--toriteki, sekitori, ozeki with yokozuna being a special category of ozeki. The day that a rikishi becomes sekitori is the happiest day of his career even if he later becomes a yokozuna. That is the day his life changes the most. After that, there are a bunch of mileposts, but the next significant promotion is the one to ozeki. Once he reaches that rank, his situation, current and in retirement, changes forevermore.

Rikishi are going to do whatever is necessary to preserve those ranks. If setting up mutual-benefit groups is the way, then so be it.

You are misunderstanding my use of "specifics." By that, I mean most fans don't care how Kisenoumi did against Yamamotoyama or whomever specifically unless they are fans of one or the other. They are interested in the fact that the subject is the cause for a long-running (for years) series of similar threads. They care that the names mentioned are very similar to ones revealed by the police. They find it of interest that some "insiders" may be contributing information. If they smell smoke, they are certainly closer to the fire than we are. But, this is not a contest of who knows more than the others or who said it first. If there is yaocho, there is yaocho. Simple as that.

This is also not a court of law. The accused are not indicted and face punishment as a result of this information. For that to happen, the courts and/or the Kyokai would want more details. What we have here is just additional information to add to our pool of knowledge, which hopefully, over time, becomes a meaningful one.
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#61 Peterao

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 23:02

As I mentioned, Japanese society, sumo included, is chockful of "obligations." When a gaijin studies Japanese culture, the first thing he is taught is "giri" and "on"--concepts alien to most Westerners--but integral to every Japanese person's life. Giri ???can be defined as 1. duty 2. courtesy 3. sense of duty 4. honor 5. social obligation 6. decency 7. debt of gratitude

And 8. chocolate (In a state of confusion...)

Edited by Peterao, 02 February 2011 - 23:04.


#62 sekihiryu

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 23:03

Well it is the headline News on the Yomiuri today (J-edition) Big black headline. "Juryo Rikishi did Yaocho" Chiyohakuho being the "star" of the story.
sigh.

I used to get a lot of pleasure from sumo but recently it has been one big shit sandwich - excuse my French.
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#63 Asashosakari

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 23:15

The term "cooperation" is used ironically, sarcastically or whatever one wants to call it. In any case, in the broadest sense. As I mentioned, Japanese society, sumo included, is chockful of "obligations." When a gaijin studies Japanese culture, the first thing he is taught is "giri" and "on"--concepts alien to most Westerners--but integral to every Japanese person's life. Giri 義理 can be defined as 1. duty 2. courtesy 3. sense of duty 4. honor 5. social obligation 6. decency 7. debt of gratitude and On 恩 as 1. favor 2. obligation.

The problem is that with "Japan" (I don't mean the country itself, but I can't find a way to put it differently) having actively projected sumo as one of its cultural prides out to the rest of the world for the last couple of decades, this really doesn't fly anymore. Yes, one might as well blame us ignorant gaijin for not recognizing and appreciating the nuances, but they've made their bed and now they have to lie in it - and IMO that's the reason for the increasing public furor with every new scandal. People and government alike may well recognize that all this stuff has gone on forever and may still not be terribly bothered by it on the merits, but the image it projects (even about Japan as a whole) just isn't tenable any longer.

In a way it's a good thing if public opinion forces sumo to become as squeaky-clean as possible even if it's simply driven by a desire to display a good image, as that would imply the Japanese people still desire to have sumo as one of their cultural hallmarks. If they don't, things might well be easier for everyone involved - including domestic fans - but sumo will ultimately become no different from puroresu and baseball: something Japan may be known for, but not recognized.

#64 Asameshimae

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 23:16

I considered getting into a discussion of how some of the basic tenets of Japanese society would make a lot of wrestlers feel they have to take a loss, even if they don't want to, or if they don't want/need the money (if money was involved), but the excuses can only go so far. The closed nature of sumo, and sumo's particular win/loss system for a sport of individual achievement are also contributing factors, but again the excuses can only go so far. I don't see a fix (for a lack of a better word) either. Wasn't it a while back that Italian soccer league was basically ended when widespread match fixing was made public (sorry not much of a soccer fan, I could be way over simplifying it.) I guess sumo is too old and time honored, and taking care of too many fattened, uneducated kids and paying the salaries and pensions of too many old fat men to fail... but honestly a Monbusho order to cease and desist until it's house is truly in order would be better than watch sumo slowly die faster than it already has been.
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#65 madorosumaru

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 00:41

One of the main problem trying to understand yaocho in Ozumo is that Westerners equate "match-fixing" with gambling. The Italian soccer scandals were mentioned and they had to do with gambling. Major League Baseball has only one rule that is sacrosanct--no gambling on baseball--because of the infamous Black Sox Scandal, when professional gamblers fixed the World Series.

As the police was quick to point out, the possible yaocho evidence they found on the cell phone records had absolutely nothing to do with gambling and the baseball scandals. The discovery of the records was a serendipitous by-product of investigations of gambling activities.

Yaocho has been part and parcel of Ozumo from the origin of its modern form as entertainment for the emerging new middle class of Japan. Sumo set up shop alongside other entertainment venues like Kabuki. The top star was called kanban ozeki 看板大関--marquee ozeki, as in marquee actor of the theater. So, the ozeki would be the strongest-looking guy and/or the most popular guy. He would win because he is strong but also because the script warranted it.

Over the course of its evolving history, even when winning or losing mattered, no one ever cared about records or stats. If a draw was good enough, then that would be the result.

Anyway, there are dozens of reasons why yaocho exists. The average fan doesn't care what a guy's exact won-loss record is--for every basho. They want him to KK. They want him to hopefully get an award. Only a few rikishi are expected to win yusho so fans of the others rarely get their hopes up.

When I was a kid, I was a Wakanohana fan. I would have been glad if he and Tochinishiki agreed to trade off yusho as long as Waka got his share. As far as I know, all my friends felt the same way--even those dastards that were Tochi fans.

It wasn't until decades later when I happened upon Sumo Forum that I found a bunch of people who actually counted every single bout--sorting them, categorizing them, ranking rikishi using all sorts of convoluted statistics. They would even try to predict--no, calculate the banzuke position of rikishi for each basho.

All the fans that I knew over the years cared only about their own favorites. They would care where on the banzuke those guys would be but all the others . . . gimme a break!

So, finding out about yaocho didn't bother us at all. OK, maybe it was a bit too much to expect a little guy like Chiyonofuji to achieve a long streak like that. But, then, our curiosity went to how the heck he did it--both technically and logistically. I have seen a special feature where every bout of his streak is analyzed in detail, showing exactly what each rikishi did to effect the outcome. But the tone of the article was not "Bad, bad Wolf." It was more of a grudging respect for his carrying it off. It's great theater--like watching Newman and Redford pull off "The Sting."

Do you think for a moment the people of Kyushu care that Kaio's longevity and records are not entirely legitimate? Of course, not. They would want him to stay a day longer even if he wins 8 bouts by fusensho, tsukihiza and isamiashi. As his wife described it, Kaio could barely walk at times during the basho. Yet, he managed to win just enough bouts to stay on as ozeki. Also great theater: "Perils of Poor Kaio."

In all the hoopla that I read in the last day or so, the statement that stands out came from a veteran sports writer: "Ozumo tries to be "entertainment" and "national sport" at the same time. That is apparently an impossible thing to do."
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#66 Asashosakari

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 00:58

Yaocho has been part and parcel of Ozumo from the origin of its modern form as entertainment for the emerging new middle class of Japan. Sumo set up shop alongside other entertainment venues like Kabuki. The top star was called kanban ozeki 看板大関--marquee ozeki, as in marquee actor of the theater. So, the ozeki would be the strongest-looking guy and/or the most popular guy. He would win because he is strong but also because the script warranted it.

Are you drawing out the kanban era much further than I've commonly seen? Going by the well-preserved Tokyo-zumo records nearly all ozeki typically referred as "kanban" barely competed. The big winning records of the early days were typically put up by sekiwake and komusubi.

#67 madorosumaru

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 01:05

Yaocho has been part and parcel of Ozumo from the origin of its modern form as entertainment for the emerging new middle class of Japan. Sumo set up shop alongside other entertainment venues like Kabuki. The top star was called kanban ozeki 看板大関--marquee ozeki, as in marquee actor of the theater. So, the ozeki would be the strongest-looking guy and/or the most popular guy. He would win because he is strong but also because the script warranted it.

Are you drawing out the kanban era much further than I've commonly seen? Going by the well-preserved Tokyo-zumo records nearly all ozeki typically referred as "kanban" barely competed. The big winning records of the early days were typically put up by sekiwake and komusubi.

Ky intention was to show that the origin of modern sumo was "theater," not sport.
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#68 Peterao

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 01:14

Three people have apparently confessed to their involvement in yaocho. So the days of pretending that yaocho doesn't exist are finally over.

#69 Peterao

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 01:28

Two of those who confessed are the previously known Chiyohakuho and the former Kasuganishiki. The third is another rikishi that hasn't been named, bringing the total number of rikishi currently under suspicion to 14.

#70 Babaryutaikai

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 02:06

Indeed, after his loss at Nagoya 2009, Asa was not upset. He calmly told me he would win the next one, and he did. At the time I thought it an odd remark and wanted to mention it but then thought better of it while he was active. Now... I think it is OK to say.


No, it's the rikishi way. I've been around many of the boys, as I know you have, too, Harry, many times after their losses and they were never upset. Asa always said he would win the next one regardless of whether he won or lost the last. If I told the boys that they will win the next, they inevitably responded that they would, all very calmly, all very confidently. I'm not ruling anything out, but I doubt that any one of them saying they will win the next bout, yusho, whatever is anything but confidence in their own abilities or, just plain bravado. Just my opinion, knowing the man, Dagvadorj Dolgorsuren, for all these years.

Go ahead and take your shots now (not directed at you, Harry (In a state of confusion...) )

Edited by Otokonoyama, 03 February 2011 - 05:00.
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#71 Asameshimae

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 02:13

"One of the main problem trying to understand yaocho in Ozumo is that Westerners equate..."

Yes, many Japanese (and some non-Japanese, myself included depending on my mood) are happy if Kaio (as a for instance) just stumbles along and aren't that concerned at exactly how he pulls out a kachikoshi when he needs it, but just like us, they also wanted to be fooled just like anybody else. The average Japanese sumo fan being interviewed on the street by journalists with microphones is reacting just like "Westerners" who don't understand yaocho, and Kaio love, and sumo history.

Edited by Asanomeshi, 03 February 2011 - 02:21.

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#72 Asashosakari

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 02:27

Ky intention was to show that the origin of modern sumo was "theater," not sport.

But the particular play you've claimed they were presenting never happened, which is kind of a major point... I think the iffy origins of sumo have been well-documented even on this forum that resorting to exaggerated tales isn't necessary.

#73 Babaryutaikai

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 02:34

The Japan Times reports 2 stablemasters - one unnamed, and the other Takanawa (?????) They also said 11 wrestlers were identified in the messages: four in the elite makuuchi division, four in the second-tier juryo division and three in lower ranks.
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#74 Jonosuke

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 02:39

It is really a crisis situation that could even threaten their existence unless they take immediate actions as this could cause the cancellation of Haru Basho.

I do find it amusing that, for the last scandal, when actual crimes were committed with actual underworld people that few of us ever suspected, most people on this forum accused NHK et al of overreacting. Now, when evidence is found for a non-crime that we all knew was going on, it's a crisis situation.


It has nothing to do with whether this is a crime or not. So if this happens in horse racing, it is a crime but not in Ozumo as there is no such criminal law for that. The point I was making is that its repercussion. Ozumo is no friend of the current governing Democrats, Kan, Sengoku and et el. Unlike Liberal Democrats geezers who often served as a honorary chairman of heya or rikishi supporters club and helped them behind the scene.

Within two years, the Kyokai will need to get approved by Ministry of EduSci as a non-profit organization and there is less and less likelihood that such thing will happen to them. Without preferential tax treatment and donation from corporations and individuals, at least half of heya are not big enough to survive. After baseball gambling fiasco, heya has lost quite a bit of so called local businessmen who used to sponsor their Jungyo and out of Tokyo basho and their budget is tight enough now, further cuts to their donor base will be near fatal.

While the Kyokai itself can survive with NHK rights and their core supporter money, they have been attracting less and less of spectators to the arena as evidenced by the last several basho so losing more fans is something they will like to avoid at all costs as well as having more Chaya going into bankruptcy.

I am sure NHK will keep airing live broadcast as there is still a significant base of viewership but they will likely reduce their coverage if the Kyokai loses the status so their broadcast will align more with other sports they cover like baseball and soccer.

The Kyokai can kick out known culprits and bad apples like Chiyohakuho but a bad taste in mouth will remain and regain trust back from general public appears to be further and further away from all these events.

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#75 Hakuyobaku

Hakuyobaku

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 02:41

Two of those who confessed are the previously known Chiyohakuho and the former Kasuganishiki. The third is another rikishi that hasn't been named, bringing the total number of rikishi currently under suspicion to 14.


Of course you can already say "former Chiyohakuho" like former Kasuganishiki. Also, former whoever third rikishi.
It's not that I object to her profession...


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