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nirumaruyama

Great Sumo Debates

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Baruto's spate of injuries has restarted the Kosho debate on this forum at least. It got me thinking about what may have been big debates in sumo in the recent past and going back 100/200+ years. I don't mean forum debates such as "will Asashoryu get 100 yusho." I mean debates which have changed sumo and created the world of sumo as we currently know it.

For instance, in the last 10 years or so football introduced the golden goal and then the silver goal ideas for extra time before abandoning them but France won a European Championship thanks to the rules. Currently there is debate over the offside rule.

I'm trying to imagine what debates in sumo caused oyakatas to fall out, for schisms to appear in sumo that have been healed over. What about debates a 100 years ago over promotions to yokozuna and so on.

I'm sure there must be books in Japanese about this kind of thing but unfortunately I don't have access to it.

Does anyone here know about this kind of thing and would they be willing to share it with us? (In a state of confusion...)

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For instance, in the last 10 years or so football introduced the golden goal and then the silver goal ideas for extra time before abandoning them but France won a European Championship thanks to the rules.

Make that Germany instead of France. Bierhoff was the golden scorer.

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For instance, in the last 10 years or so football introduced the golden goal and then the silver goal ideas for extra time before abandoning them but France won a European Championship thanks to the rules.

Make that Germany instead of France. Bierhoff was the golden scorer.

Germany and France (Euro 2000 Trezuget's goal against Italy)

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Hmm...

- Nishinoumi's demand to be listed as yokozuna rather than ozeki on the banzuke (1890)

- associated with that, making the qualification for the yokozuna title a matter of performance, rather than one of having connections to the right people

- the decision to make Juryo into a second salaried division (1888?) in its own right

- the Futahaguro incident (1987)

- what the hell to do with collegiate rikishi (ongoing since the late 1960s, I think)

- what the hell to do with foreign rikishi (ongoing ever since Takamiyama's success, I'd say)

- the introduction of the yusho for the best rikishi of the tournament (1909)

- various changes to the torikumi system (East-West competition / ichimon-betsu / heya-betsu...between the 1930s and 1960s)

- the aforementioned Shunjuen incident (1932) and a spate of smaller labour strikes

- the decision to pay monthly wages to Makuuchi and Juryo rikishi, rather than just their hosho-kin basho bonus based on past performance (not sure when that happened)

- not sure if I'm remembering right, but I think there was a debate whether to strip sumo of its ceremonial qualities post-WWII as part of the make-over of Japanese society (heck, I suspect there might have been something similar during the Meiji era)

- the introduction of kosho in the first place (early 1970s, I think)

- similarly to the kosho debates there was aborted talk about making yokozuna into just another rank (in the 1950s?) with the possibility of demotion when it was felt the active yokozuna were missing too many tournaments

Edit: I should say that I have no idea how contentious any of these changes/decisions/incidents were, but if you're looking for things that influenced what sumo looks like today, those are the ones I can think of quickly. I'm sure I'm still missing a ton more...

Edited by Asashosakari

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Great list, Asashosakari.

You kind of hinted at this one, but I'd add the reforms after the fall of the shogunate. I'm sure the sumo world thought long and hard about whether they should continue wearing topknots when the rest of society was forbidden to do so. I'm sure the government debated it as well, before finally agreeing to let sumo continue this way.

Another debatable issue, although really only taken seriously by foreigners, is whether to allow women on the dohyo. I think the average Japanese doesn't really care. And the kyokai only offered lip service to the idea by conducting a very unscientific survey about the issue.

A related issue (from a long LONG time ago) was whether to allow women to even watch the matches.

Similarly, sumo officials must have given a lot of thought to whether they should open tournaments to the public, that is, to make it into a spectator sport at all. Beofre that it was merely an exhibition for emperors.

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- the Futahaguro incident (1987)

Can someone please explain what exactly happened to Futahaguro? I was semi-following sumo at that time and remember him as Kitao. I remember hearing something to the effect of he disrespected his oyakata but don't know the specifics (or non-specifics for that matter.)

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Can someone please explain what exactly happened to Futahaguro?

Look here.

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Can someone please explain what exactly happened to Futahaguro?

Look here.

Thanks... I almost got a tear in my eye. Not about Futahaguro, but just reading Sumo World again.. Felt like running into an old friend that you haven't seen in years as I have every issue from 11/74 - 7/86.

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Thanks... I almost got a tear in my eye. Not about Futahaguro, but just reading Sumo World again.. Felt like running into an old friend that you haven't seen in years as I have every issue from 11/74 - 7/86.

At least you still have yours. I had issue 1 thru 1980. In a house cleaning during the 90's, I had given up ever having access to sumo, and tearfully dumped my collection after one final read thru. Have been kicking myself for over 5 years now.

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I would add the Toda-Taiho controversy of '68 or whenever.

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I would add the Toda-Taiho controversy of '68 or whenever.

I don't know about this, Could you please give some details or point me in the direction of where I could find out? Thanks

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I would add the Toda-Taiho controversy of '68 or whenever.

I don't know about this, Could you please give some details or point me in the direction of where I could find out? Thanks

Here you go.

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