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Jonosuke

Asashoryu Yaocho Article from Shukan Gendai

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Blowing a Whistle on Asashoryu

Edited by Jonosuke

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Thanks Jonosuke for giving us the whole article!!

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Thanks for translating this, Jonosuke - must have taken you quite a bit of time.

My two cents; utter nonsense. Allegations backed by nothing except the author's personal conviction.

There may, or may not be yaocho involved in Sumo, but this particular article certainly doesn't, in itself, warrant any such conclusion.

I'm appalled by the random assumptions scattered almost everywhere, without any arguments to back any of them.

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Excellent translation - makes me feel like SumoForum is ahead of many Japanese web sources. (Blushing...)

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Right. Nice "sources" in that article. What is this whole "cloak and dagger" hidden sources thing? If yaocho is so true, then why the need to hide? Fear of retaliation? Get real. If what the whistleblowers are saying is true, then it would seem like a lot of people would be out, and in no position to retaliate, due to the publicity it would generate.

And the logical basis for calling yaocho is really convincing, too, as usual. Tenzan goes to the other side of the dressing rooms? That's proof of rigged matches? Huh? Kotomitsuki lost 23 in a row, and that's proof? Oh, and he looked bad doing it? Hmmm, what about when he looks bad in all his other losses? Is he just a bout selling machine? I guess he buys 8 and sells 7 each basho?

And Roho "throws" matches to Asashoryu? Really? is that even realistic? He looks "troubled" even in his favorite grip?

I want names, not of the "perpetrators" but of these "sources". Wild accusations in the dark are useless. If yaocho is really happening, then why not "clean it up", instead of just murmuring and being impotent whiners about it? Oh, that's right, because that is the key word, isn't it, "Impotent?"

Thanks for the translation. (Blushing...)

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Huh? Kotomitsuki lost 23 in a row, and that's proof? Oh, and he looked bad doing it? Hmmm, what about when he looks bad in all his other losses? Is he just a bout selling machine? I guess he buys 8 and sells 7 each basho?

This thread will become hot I think. Yaocho threads tend to become so! But even if total nonsense , it is always interesting to follow the deductions in these articles. One thing is certainly true. Some of Kotomitsuki's losses against Shoryu are very strange. He may lose even with morozashi or left hand outside grip but he looks oddly weak in the follow-up. This is not Asashoryu's power as equally powerful rikishi have not been able to throw him around like that even from better positions. Shoryu's sukuinage and shitatedashinage of recent times have not been from strong position. The point is that one can understand if sumo reporters wonder why Kotomitsuki is so incompetent even in the bouts he gets into good positions against Shoryu. It has been quite obvious for me too that those losses are peculiar. Kotomitsuki loses badly often but never from his favourite positions like that. The fact that this was brought as an example in the yaocho article does mean that whoever wrote the article and whoever analyzed the bouts, they did do good analytical stuff too and not just bad disinformative "revelations". The story as a whole is not credible but details are not written in just 30 minutes without some in-depth thinking and analysis.

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Right. Nice "sources" in that article. What is this whole "cloak and dagger" hidden sources thing? If yaocho is so true, then why the need to hide? Fear of retaliation? Get real. If what the whistleblowers are saying is true, then it would seem like a lot of people would be out, and in no position to retaliate, due to the publicity it would generate.

This incident in 1996 may explain why some sources would hesitate to comment publicly.

AsiaWeek.com also has a piece dealing with the accusations, deaths, etc.

Edited by Otokonoyama

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Jonosuke,thank you for the translation it was an interesting read.

If there is no demand , no one would have published this article. The problem is, Ozumo is a national sport /tradition and as such it touches directly the national pride, which is a very strong feeling among Japanese as I heard. So in a way I can understand the frustration of folks over there. The dominance of foreigners is so overwhelming and It is not going to fade anytime soon, as it looks. It is just too much to digest if two of the so called Japanese hopes going MK, while some gajin called Dorj yushos 20th time threatening to pass the records of great japanese legends of the past. The frustration must be bad if it needs to be meditated by a verbal throw-ups like above article or Kyokushuzan’s retirement ordeal, or even Taiho’s and Kitanoumi‘s recent remarks on Asa.

For sake of sumo, may be, Kyokai should rethink their ways and instead of pushing for internationalization, while trying to make an Japanese out of every foreigner that enters sumo, to go with a general feeling of "the citizens in Japan" and preserve it as a pure Japanese sport with only Japanese rikishis. I believe there are going to be many who will embrace the idea and not only in Japan.

As for Mongolian rikishis, they have shown what they can, it is time to go home. It seems they are not welcomed on their dohyo.

Edited by BuBa

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Thanks Jonosuke (I am not worthy...) and also to other people referring back to the Onaruto and Itai cases.

I was speaking to another sumo beat writer yesterday, and he said he thought the sumo association would make a lot of noise, threaten to sue, and then wait for the fuss to die down. His reasoning - the kyokai can't admit anything is wrong: even if it is, unless there are actual photos / phone records that support these allegations, they don't have to do anything.

Another beat writer argued with suitably twisted logic that if Asa had fixed bouts, this would show his dominance of the division. According to this argument (which I think is a little far-fetched) Asa could only convince others to throw bouts if they thought they were probably going to lose anyway. If they are going to lose, the argument goes, they might as well make some pocket money at the same time.

Not my opinion - just what some of the press are thinking.

All of which made me wonder if anyone - Jonosuke for example (Showing respect...) - knows if anyone has ever been expelled for match-fixing? (In a state of confusion...)

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The point is that one can understand if sumo reporters wonder why Kotomitsuki is so incompetent even in the bouts he gets into good positions against Shoryu. It has been quite obvious for me too that those losses are peculiar. Kotomitsuki loses badly often but never from his favourite positions like that.

Actually, I think the explanation is much more mundane than "yaocho". I think Asashoryu is just in Mickey's head, so to speak. The mental pressure of 23 consecutive losses must be such a burden, it just crushes Mickey even before he gets to the point of securing his favorite grip. Maybe it isn't so much that Asashoryu is actually that much better, but that his own mind starts winding up, and overthinking, and worrying "what if?" again, and so on.

I really think these guys are so close together, in terms of talent, and ability, that they're almost totally equal. All the Ozeki's and Sanyaku's and upper Maegashira regulars, are virtually absolutely equal in physical ability, and talent. But really what it comes down to in most instances is mental ability.

Asashoryu is slightly different. I think he is maybe 3% more gifted physically than the rest, which is a huge amount, and even if his mental state is only 98% sometimes, he is still 1% better. That is monumental, in a game where the difference between Ozeki and the current Wakanosato is only like 1/64 %.

The physical and technical advantages are limited I think, since the training is fairly equal across the board after all these years. It must be about mental game and "peaking" like I keep saying. Yaocho isn't the explanation, peaking is. Asashoryu is in such a rhythm, and his game peaks right when it needs to, and he's pretty sturdy, and not chronically injured. I would say that not being injured, peaking during the basho, and his 3% natural ability advantage goes a lot further than he would get buying matches.

Edited by Iwagakki

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The physical and technical advantages are limited I think, since the training is fairly equal across the board after all these years. It must be about mental game and "peaking" like I keep saying. Yaocho isn't the explanation, peaking is. Asashoryu is in such a rhythm, and his game peaks right when it needs to, and he's pretty sturdy, and not chronically injured. I would say that not being injured, peaking during the basho, and his 3% natural ability advantage goes a lot further than he would get buying matches.

Of course, the yaocho rebuttal to that would be (devil's advocate only, I don't actually hold this opinion): The reason Asashoryu isn't having any chronic injuries yet is that he buys bouts in part to prevent getting injured by an opponent's unexpected moves during hon-basho. I suppose it would be interesting to know whether Wakanosato is considered gachinko by the writer's "sources", given that he was the most recent opponent to cause one of Asa's rare injuries.

Edit: Oops, forgot this was my first post in this thread - many thanks to Jonosuke for the excellent translation!

Edited by Asashosakari

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This article is full of cr*p. All those subpar rikishis not only lost to Asashoryu, but also to other rikishis.

Yaocho would make sense if all those Ozeki lost only to Asashoryu and nobody else.

In reality, all those ozeki lost to each other and to the lower rank rikishi.

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Yes, thank you very much, Jonosuke-sensei.

What I get out of it- new vocabulary and anger cause there is so much I simply see as bad lie.

@ Buba- opposite! And they will go on showing how good they are. Proove it guys!

How the heck did Shoryu win when he raised up the ranks like a rocket- as a poor mongolian kid?

Edited by ilovesumo

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i think this whole discussion is weird....

anyone saying yaocho does not exist on this forum here does so, because he/she does not WANT it to exist......

the accusations might come from a unreliable source and they launch such an article fully knowing that there never will be a proof against or for it.....but none of the members here saying that it is not true, simply lack KNOWLEDGE....anyone seen money changing hands or overheard a discussion about fixing bouts?......so there might be no proof for it.....

but to be earnest......does anybody here believe kaio is 5-7 on day 12 and than wins 3 straight including the already sure-of-yusho asashoryu without the "help" of others?.....why is kotomitsuki winning no bouts after the kk is assured?.....i got my own thoughts about yaocho, but it simply is strange it is discussed here....mostly in favour of the rikishi and the sport we love.....but none of us has any proof......

i do not want the bouts to be fixed and first of all not at the extend the writer of above story claims......but i for my part thought koen and other not-honbasho are ok, too, until i saw the bouts and the wellfitting outcome......nobody following sumo any longer believes those bouts are not fixed.....

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one telling factor in Japan that won't make it online I'd venture is the mag in question being helped on its way somewhat by at least one avenue of the mainstream printed media (Japanese language) carrying an ad for said Shukan Gendai today - with full reference to the scandal in Q.

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but to be earnest......does anybody here believe kaio is 5-7 on day 12 and than wins 3 straight including the already sure-of-yusho asashoryu without the "help" of others?.

If you are talking about this previous basho, Kaio was 6-6 and did lose to Asashoryu...

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but to be earnest......does anybody here believe kaio is 5-7 on day 12 and than wins 3 straight including the already sure-of-yusho asashoryu without the "help" of others?.

If you are talking about this previous basho, Kaio was 6-6 and did lose to Asashoryu...

Maybe Gernobono is referring to Haru 2006, the only basho when Kaio was 5-7 and finished 8-7 (well, he did that several more times in his career but all before he became ozeki). But he didn't face Asashoryu on the last three days then either.

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Kaio is a long-time Ozeki, had some Yusho- he should be able to win 3 in a row to reach his skin not to become Kadoba or worse.

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does anybody here believe kaio is 5-7 on day 12 and than wins 3 straight including the already sure-of-yusho asashoryu without the "help" of others?.....

Which basho are You talking about?

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Which basho are You talking about?

i have to apologize to all of those spotting a major error in my memory......

the basho i had in mind was aki 2004 and i did not check it on the internet......the ozeki in my mind was obviously not kaio but chiyotaikai and a rechecked showed that it was completely wrong......

i should not post without checking and first of all not basho when i was away on vacation just bearly managing to enter daily guesses in a few games....

sorry again for the wrong data (does not change my feelings about yaocho)

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This article is full of cr*p. All those subpar rikishis not only lost to Asashoryu, but also to other rikishis.

Yaocho would make sense if all those Ozeki lost only to Asashoryu and nobody else.

In reality, all those ozeki lost to each other and to the lower rank rikishi.

(In a state of confusion...) How could them all lose only to Asashouryuu and not lose to each other?

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I was speaking to another sumo beat writer yesterday, and he said he thought the sumo association would make a lot of noise, threaten to sue, and then wait for the fuss to die down. His reasoning - the kyokai can't admit anything is wrong: even if it is, unless there are actual photos / phone records that support these allegations, they don't have to do anything.

I think this will be the outcome of this affair. The Kyokai has no history of taking anyone to the court or sue them as they simply do not want the whole thing dragging through courts for months as they have a basho every couple of months.

In the Itai case, they came up with a rebuttal and asked the publisher and Itai to withdraw and retract their statements and offer a public apology. They never received them but they did not go through legal proceeding. The Kyokai released a letter saying they did not find any wrongdoings and was satisfied that there was no Yaocho. They also said even though there was no substance to the accusation, they opted not to proceed with a legal fight to prove there was no yaocho.

Even with Onaruto/Hashimoto case before, they only decided to take one piece of their allegations to the court, not the whole series.

So once again this time around, they would ask the publisher to retract and apologize as they found no truth to the article but they would unlikely do anything further. There are too many cans of worms in the Kyokai's backrooms from way back for them to want to argue a case like this in public.

But I should say one thing. If the Kyokai is really serious about getting to the bottom of this, they should get an independent outside authority to come in and do the investigation. Everyone knows Tomozuna oyakata has been with the Kyokai for ages and is considered to be one of the old guard. Whatever he finds will not carry the weight. You can't blame anyone for thinking this is just all facade or smokescreen on their part.

I don't believe Yaocho as widespread through Ozumo as they claim (if it was, these magazines came up with it already) but even trying to find such a story, they had to admit grudgingly some rikishis were beyond reproach.

One item did pique my interest though. The writer stated that Asashoryu started more yaocho bouts after becoming yokozuna. And I think initially at least, the easiest rikishis to do it were fellow Mongolians. Since they say Kyokutenzan was a go-between, two easiest rikishis to do it should have been with Kyokutenho and Kyokushuzan. But Kyokushuzan had a whole fracas with Asashoryu with that mage grabbing incident and everything else. Both apparently patched up their difference eventually but at the time at least, they looked like they really hated each other's guts. Why did Kyokushuzan insist Asashoryu pulled his mage if the outcome was already decided?

Another thing. They claim the majority of Makuuchi rikishis have done Yaocho but so far they are only saying Asashoryu is the only one doing it as he is the only one with enough money to do it. If this is true then all the other bouts are not yaocho and not fixed. I am sure no one will argue that Chiyotaikai-Roho bout to be yaocho.

They say Hakuho is not one of the non-Yaocho rikishis but he did beat Asashoryu not so long ago. Was it the one Asashoryu let Hakuho win because he already had the yusho in bag? This last basho Tochiazuma looked helpless against almost everyone. Asashoryu in half a decent shape could beat Tochiazuma in that condition easily but Tochiazuma bout was still one of the Yaocho bouts according to them.

One time no one could beat Asashoryu because he was too quick. Then no one could beat him because he intimidated them in training sessions. Now apparently no one could beat him because he is paying tons of money to win. I wonder what they come up with next.

All of which made me wonder if anyone - Jonosuke for example (I am not worthy...) - knows if anyone has ever been expelled for match-fixing? (In a state of confusion...)

As far as I know there has been no one expelled from the Kyokai for such thing as they maintain it does not exist.

However they have admitted certain bouts ended in what they call "Muki-ryoku Sumo" (not motivated sumo).

Ozeki Maenoyama (current Takadagawa oyakata) showed rather uninspired sumo from time to time after he came back from his leg injury. In one of his bouts against Kotozakura (former Sadogatake oyakata), the Kyokai took an unprecedent step by cautioning both rikishis publicly of their lacklustre competition. While Kotozakura continued on, Maenoyama went on kyujo from the next day (likely threatened with a forced withdrawal) and as a result he had makekoshi and fell out of ozeki.

Edited by Jonosuke

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but to be earnest......does anybody here believe kaio is 5-7 on day 12 and than wins 3 straight including the already sure-of-yusho asashoryu without the "help" of others?.

If you are talking about this previous basho, Kaio was 6-6 and did lose to Asashoryu...

No it was one a couple of basho ago.

That was the one where most of us predicted he would retire either during or after the basho.

Then he managed to turn a very bad basho into an amazing recovery, and beat Asa on day 15.

Most of us predicted he would retire in beauty shortly after.

But he didn't.

Which is sad in a way, because he would have ended on a high note.

I seriously doubt he can recover to his previous form, but of course he may amaze us all and retire as a Yokozuna and say 'in your face' to all the non-believers.

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No it was one a couple of basho ago.

That was the one where most of us predicted he would retire either during or after the basho.

Then he managed to turn a very bad basho into an amazing recovery, and beat Asa on day 15.

I remember having the last discussion about bout fixing after Haru 2006 when everything fell in place. Kaio was completely un-genki throughout the basho, was 5-7 behind, but needed a senshuraku win against red-hot Hakuho who was still having yusho hopes. Kaio defeated Hakuho, got KK; Hakuho was almost out of the yusho race, but alas, Asashoryu lost against Tochiazuma to have a kettei-sen. It seemed fishy to some, somewhat inexplicable to others, and completely normal to many.

I think I even remember how Gernobono exactly predicted this outcome after day 12 on the German Forum.

Which leads me to the next observation. When the Y word was issued last March, experienced Forum bigguns were much more vehement in their anti-yaocho statements than this time around. Resignation? Growing scepticism? Or what?

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