James H

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About James H

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    Chiyonofuji, Kirishima

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  1. James H

    Onoe Oyakata caught DUI

    Do you know what would happen to a salaryman in Japan if he were caught drunk driving? He would be fired. Onoe got off easy. Not sure about that... he might get moved sideways and the whole thing swept under the carpet. Not that I've watched it happen.
  2. James H

    New yaocho prevention committee

    The thing about this is that it built on a false assumption - that yaocho was organised within the physical confines of the shitakubeya. There were/are plenty of opportunities for rikishi and their tsukebito to get in touch with each other outside the shitakubeya, and even if they combine this with a decision not to announce bouts too far in advance, there will still be time to get the fix in if one is so inclined. Window dressing as usual. And this is dumb. They've had an oyakata sitting outside each shitakubeya, ostensibly on security detail/yaocho prevention, for years and it did diddly squat.
  3. James H

    Onoe Oyakata caught DUI

    Probably a red herring, but I remember when Baruto left Mihogaseki in 2006, he was hardly overjoyed to be moving... although this was when Onoe beya was literally a pile of dirt in a garage. (If I remember rightly, the location sucked, the facilities sucked, it was miles from Ryogoku etc etc) Even so I'd be interested to hear from people close to him now about how upset he'd be to go back to Mihogaseki.
  4. James H

    Yaocho by mobile scandal-

    Seriously at risk of karma here but it's interesting to see Sakaigawa oyakata missing from that list of demotees (and by extension his rikishi missing from the list of yaochoers) This means little if you subscribe to the hard-to-argue-with theory that small fry have been sacrificed to save Kaio more senior wrestlers. But I hold onto the thought that Sakaigawa would cut off more than his wrestlers' chon-mage if he thought they were play-acting out in the middle.
  5. Glaring factual error? Karma...
  6. James H

    Scandal fallout

    I honestly don't know and I'm sorry to build an argument on unproven assumptions. But in my experience of living in Japan, if the conditions exist for something corrupt to occur, then it occurs. And that is because social/community norms have a much greater influence on behaviour than personal concepts of morality.
  7. James H

    Scandal fallout

    First off - I have no concrete insider knowledge. What I do have is years of hearsay from insiders - mainly beat reporters. But it is hearsay about other topics that has in most cases turned out to be true. So while I can't say that yaocho and betting on sumo are reality, I'd say that there is a large likelihood of betting and related matchfixing in sumo. Why? Because the environment for it to thrive is already there: 1) Existing relationships between wrestlers/stables and illegal gambling syndicates/mobsters. 2) Strong financial reasons - whether to pay off gambling debts or to line their mawashi - for sekitori to cooperate. 3) The absence of what in business would be called the NSK's 'corporate philosophy' or something like that. The NSK has shown time and again that it puts money above ethical considerations. Wrestlers have few incentives to behave otherwise. 4) Huge possibilities and little risk. A wrestler goes down/steps out/flubs their tachiai and no one knows. It's not going to be reported because no one will go on the record, ever. But rationally, it has to exist.
  8. James H

    Scandal fallout

    Huh? I am sure this has been touched on elsewhere, but isn't that a little naive? If there is illegal betting on baseball (which has shady links to the mob but nothing like sumo) then what makes you think there isn't illegal betting on sumo that hasn't been mentioned yet? The elephant in the room of this whole scandal is that sumo wrestlers - top sumo wrestlers - were compromised by their behaviour outside of the ring. That would make them prime targets to be persuaded to compromise their behaviour inside the ring too...especially when it is so easy to fix the result of a sumo bout in advance.
  9. OFF ToPIC, kind of... You're right - gambling type games are a big part of the typical growing up experience (all kids play karuta and hanafuda, although likely not for cash), and it's not like pachinko isn't omnipresent either. And game arcades - all about games of chance (you just win a Lupin III keychain instead of money) It's the typical Japanese thing of attacking the stuff that goes on below the water line when it becomes impossible to ignore - and simultaneously ignoring the 'legal' activities that either mirror or promote similar activity. Eg- illegal drugs BAD vs rampant alcoholism and lung cancer from state-owned tobacco GOOD; state-sponsored gambling GOOD (pachinko, keirin, that speedboat thingy, horses, soccer pools) vs yakuza-run illegal casinos and betting rings BAD. The fact that babies die of heatstroke every year when their parents leave them in pachinko parlor parking lots is kind of irrelevant, but does illustrate a certain blindness that is quite painful to watch from the sidelines.
  10. James H

    Onoe Beya Dohyo Matsuri

    Great photos one and all - wicked to finally see them in the place.
  11. Without wishing ill on anyone, the f%&king Japanese press are a bunch of two-faced gobsh!tes when it comes to this type of stuff. (Full declaration: this touches a raw nerve as I once had a story spiked because the lede was all about a bunch of sekitori trying to null the boredom of jungyo by playing cards) Everyone knows that wrestlers have been gambling for ages. Everyone knows that some oyakata quietly encourage it because it "hones a winning mentality" or some such idea. I've seen many rikishi (I won't name names but I'd say a serious percentage of top, top sekitori) playing hanafuda at jungyo and rolls of 10,000 yen notes being passed around. (I remember asking Bart if he played, and he said it seemed a dumb way to lose money so I guess we can say he's clean) Everyone also knows that sumo and yakuza rub shoulders, and that illegal gambling is run by yakuza. So why is this story coming out now? Gah. This isn't a particularly enlightening post, I admit. It just is annoying to see another scandal brewing about something that is an everyday part of sumo... Everyone comes out of this badly, don't they? Sekitori for being dumb enough to gamble, journalists for ignoring it until now (and you can bet some of them share bookies with Kotomitsuki), or the NSK for manufacturing some outrage about it now the heat is on.
  12. James H

    "Kuroboshi" defeat

    Completely agree. I think that any writer / editor with the time or inclination can work out a way to explain without using tortuous, or tautologous (apologies Kinta), phrasing. The idea that the annoyance comes from, for example, 'gyoji' describing 'referee' is spot on.... and for me it also is reminscent of Orwell's disgust (in Politics and the English Lang) at neoligisms that mixed Greek and Latin for no reason except pretense of profundity. Not that this is exactly what is going on here, more that it is so ugly and unnecessary that it does end up making one repeatedly headbutt the nearest hard object. I don't have any real ideas how you 'educate the audience,' except to describe what you see in clear terms that hopefully illustrate your enthusiasm (or justified lack of) for what just occurred. When people get interested in something, they tend to try to educate themselves. I was going to write a para about the difficulties facing a foreign writer because of sumo's perception in the english-speaking world and how its intangible elements are what makes it interesting, but I realized I was disappearing up my own backside and so stopped. (Nish - insert your own joke here. )
  13. James H

    "Kuroboshi" defeat

    In defense of the maligned Kyodo writer... Tautologous repetition is the price some people think you should pay for trying to educate general readers. Think about the knots English-language papers get themselves in trying to describe Japanese food, culture or anything that isn't instantly replicable in English. If I had a yen for every time some Japanese editor at the Yomiuri had tried to put mawashi belt, dohyo ring, or gyoji referee into my copy I would be a millionaire. A millionaire in sterling. The practice is understandable but it does feel like your copy has been violated when someone "clarifies" the meaning for you...so not much of a defense, on second thoughts. (Edited for clarification)
  14. James H

    Election erection

    That's right. He's already been quite a presence in the press room and is obviously well known among the reporters. The other thing - he has that laidback I'm-a-tall-handsome-guy-who-is-used-to-being-listened-to-and-being taken-seriously aura so he'll play well on TV. Kokonoe was just a bit too standoffish for the press - whereas Michinoku is fairly approachable, I'd say.