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Araiguma_Rascal

Ozumo is Rotten to the Core, and I won't Watch it Anymore

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Stable Master Held in Fatal Beating of 17-year-old

I used to be a fan of Sumo. Even went to see it in person last year, although I haven't been an active poster here recently.

I have to say that the whole Sumo world disgusts me now. This abuse and hazing of youngsters is just part of it.

Another thing is that the lifestyle encouraged by the traditions is totally unhealthy. The Japanese are among the longest-lived people in the world, but Sumo wrestlers have much shorter lives on average. IIRC, I read somewhere that they die in their 50's on average. There is also not to my knowledge any attempt to even find out if performance-enhancing substances are a problem in the sport.

Wake Up Ozumo! Welcome to the 21st Century!

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I have to say that the whole Sumo world disgusts me now.

:-) :-) (Happy goodbyes...)

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Good luck to you. There are at least token movements towards finding out about performance enhancing drugs: Thread about doping

"Token" movements are inadequate. And what about movements (and not just "token" movements!) to extirpate the culture of hazing altogether? A kid has been murdered. Do more kids have to die before something is done?

I hope parents take notice before entrusting their children to the tender mercies of these sadistic stable masters. Perhaps there needs to be an age limit for of 18 or 20 for residing in a sumo stable, and younger deshi need to go home to sleep and all deshi need to be able to leave the stable whenever they want. People cannot be confined against their will like some kind of slaves in the 21st century.

When real reform has happened, and young deshis' human rights are respected, I will happily start watching again.

Now, it is closer to the level of dogfighting for which Michael Vick is in prison.

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The Sumo world must have been worse before. Now we see changes. Young Oyakata with a fresh spirit- those grew up in an other world.

How can one think to know enough to call it rotten?

Ciao...

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That whole "rikishi die in their 50s on average" is tabloid nonsense, too. That wasn't even true for those born around 1900 as far as I can see (average lifespan ~60 years, and that's with a world war in there), let alone the current generations of ex-rikishi who almost all reach the mandatory retirement age of 65 at the very least. Admittedly I'm basing that conclusion only on the data for former makuuchi rikishi, but I think it's fair to assume that if sumo was shortening lifespans to the tune of 25 years, it would be most pronounced among those with the longest careers, and it clearly isn't.

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Some folks still suggest that rikishi tend to die younger than average.

To demonstrate that the benefit of caloric restriction would be minimal in humans, Drs. Phelan and Rose used a mathematical model.

First, they noted that in Japan, the average male adult consumes about 2,300 calories per day and lives to be on average 76.7 years. This population fell in the middle of a longevity and caloric intake spectrum.

Then they looked at either side of the spectrum. On one side were males living on the island of Okinawa, an area where residents are known for their simple diet and longevity. The researchers estimated male Okinawans consumed about 17% less than the average Japanese male, yet the average age for an Okinawan male was 77.5 years.

On the opposite side of the spectrum were Japan's Sumo wrestlers, who consume about 5,500 calories per day and live to be about 56 years old.

http://www.medpagetoday.com/PrimaryCare/Di...rition/tb1/1626

According to a book written by a medical doctor working for Sumo Kyokai's

Sumo Clinic, Average former rikishi's life ends too prematurely compared

to average Japanese. Needless to say, the average Japanese life expectancy

includes those of rikishi and former rikishi.

In the chapter 10 "a path to longer life" in his book "Rikishi's medical report

from last 100 years of sumo (Rikishi 100-nen no Karute)", Dr. Hayashi said

that in the earlier years in the last 100 years, mainly Meiji, rikishi's life

span was actually longer than average Japanese. Rikishi's were early 50's,

while men's average life expectancy was early 40's in Japan.

But while average Japanese men's life expectancy grew to mid 70's, average

former rikishi dies sill around mid 50's. The difference is about 20 years.

That is one of his motivation of his books.

In his book "Checking Rikishi (Rikishi wo Miru)", he describes many typical

health problems occur to rikishi and former rikishi.

http://www.banzuke.com/96-6/msg00064.html

The sumo entry on Wikipedia uses a quote from the Discovery Channel homepage:

The negative effects of the rikishi

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The sumo entry on Wikipedia uses a quote from the Discovery Channel homepage

:-D There's an authoritative source, right there. (For one thing, there are obviously no "standards of weight gain"...what the heck does that even mean?)

At any rate, let's not forget the elephant in the room, namely that former rikishi have tended to be relatively uneducated in the past. To assess the actual effect of sumo, I think it would be more interesting to know how the average lifespan of a rikishi compares to that of the average Japanese male who did not finish high school (or another comparable socio-economic background), rather than to the average Japanese male overall. I suspect the gap would be considerably smaller.

Anyway, this is getting way too cerebral for a thread that started with little more than ignorantly vented outrage.

Edit: I'd be wary of the data quoted in that Medpagetoday article, too...apparently the researchers didn't even realize that sumo wrestlers aren't active in the sport until they die, as they seem to assume that the "5,500 calorie sumo diet" is in effect throughout their lives.

Edited by Asashosakari

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I think your criticisms of those sources are reasonable. I hoped to show where people could get the idea that rikishi tend to die quite young, as it seems to be a persistent idea among the general public. What did you think of the info from the old SML post?

Edited by Otokonoyama

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Is it also true (I've heard) that the shin-deshi were generally very poor, from very poor families. Sending one to live in a heya meant food and shelter. Their family's poverty may have affected their education, initial health as young children and so on which would also have adverse affects on health. Or am I wrong? What about today? With all the foreigners it doesn't seem like a place to send your kid for free room and board now.

Edited by Harry

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I think your criticisms of those sources are reasonable. I hoped to show where people could get the idea that rikishi tend to die quite young, as it seems to be a persistent idea among the general public. What did you think of the info from the old SML post?

There's just not a whole lot there, to be honest. FWIW, my above data was a result from crunching the age data included in Yubiquitoyama's makuuchi rikishi database. As I mentioned, rikishi born around the turn of the last century averaged a lifespan of about 60 years. Then there's a bit of a drop for those born in the 1920s who averaged something like 57 years. However, that's also exactly the first generation that spent its formative years during WWII, and I'm pretty sure there's evidence that malnutrition during one's child and teenage years has strongly negative long-term effects. (Beyond the effect that some rikishi actually died during the war, either in service or during the firebombing of Tokyo, which alone dropped the average by half a year or so.) So it's anybody's guess how biased that lifespan data is to begin with, independent of the potential effect that sumo might have had.

I suspect the book author keyed in on exactly that generation since, for those born in the 1930s and afterwards, the number of those who are still alive was just too large to make a credible average lifespan estimate yet. But the fact that so many are still alive is pretty good evidence that their average lifespan will turn out to be significantly larger than 57, I'd say.

Of course it's possible that my own results are significantly biased by using only makuuchi rikishi. But let's put it this way: If you take 100 former lower division rikishi who were in sumo for 10 or 15 years and then worked in construction or as dock workers until they died (or reached retirement age), would their average lifespan be significantly lower than that of 100 other men who worked in construction or on docks all their lives? I actually wouldn't be surprised if there is a statistically significant difference, but I'd be extremely surprised if it's anywhere close to even 10 years, let alone 20.

Edited by Asashosakari

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And I should say that when I read statements like (from the SML post)...

Dr. Hayashi said that in the earlier years in the last 100 years, mainly Meiji, rikishi's life span was actually longer than average Japanese. Rikishi's were early 50's, while men's average life expectancy was early 40's in Japan.

But while average Japanese men's life expectancy grew to mid 70's, average former rikishi dies sill around mid 50's. The difference is about 20 years.

...I'm always wary that somebody has confused two different cohorts, or two different definitions of life expectancy. (Even medical doctors are apt to make such mistakes if they don't have the statistical background.)

The Meiji numbers definitely sound misleading...as high as the child mortality rates were in the 19th century, it's not a surprise that the group of ex-rikishi had a longer average lifespan than the average male - by limiting it only to those who were able to become rikishi (= they actually survived until age 14 or so), you're significantly biasing the sample.

And in turn, I suspect that the statement about contemporary lifespans might be mixing things up, too, such as comparing actual outcomes of one group with statistical expectations of another, i.e. the lifespan of actual rikishi born in the 1920s or whenever versus the estimated lifespan of Japanese males at the time of writing (or in 1920), or comparing the numbers from two different cohorts, or biased cohorts (as in Meiji) etc. For instance, did those were who 20 years old in 1950 really reach an average lifespan in the mid-70s? And what was the average life expectancy for those people as measured in 1950, rather than what they actually ended up achieving? It's just very hard to say what the author is even talking about without more details, so I definitely wouldn't take the validity of that data at face value.

Edited by Asashosakari

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And one more...I just remembered that I did some data-crunching for the German forum about a year ago.

After somebody had brought up the longevity issue over there, I found some official Japanese death rate data (census-based or somesuch, dating back to 1918) on the net, and again based on Yubi's rikishi database, I calculated how the rikishi survival rate (to the year 2001) compared to that of the average Japanese male, by eliminating the potential data issues mentioned above. For instance, Yokozuna Yoshibayama was born in 1920 and debuted in makuuchi in 1947, so for comparison I calculated the 2001 survival rate of all men who were born in 1920 and still alive in 1947. (It was 39.8%; Yoshibayama himself of course already died in 1977.) Anyway, those general-population rates were summed across all 354 cases for which rikishi existed. Here are the year 2001 survival rates (by birth year), both in the general population and among makuuchi rikishi:

Birth Year

#

%JP

%Rik

1918-1929 72 53.8 41.7
1930-1939 64 79.1 60.9
1940-1949 81 90.9 82.7
1950-1959 70 96.8 91.4
1960-1972 67 98.8 95.5

Obviously makuuchi rikishi do die earlier than average male Japanese, or at least they have done so among the age cohorts which have already started dying in significant numbers. (Which doesn't say anything about the current lifestyles in Ozumo, of course, even though the original poster tried to make that connection.) Anyway, all the caveats about the different socio-economic circumstances of rikishi vs. average males still apply, however, but I'm not sure if there's any publicly available data to quantify that.

Edited by Asashosakari

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Is it also true (I've heard) that the shin-deshi were generally very poor, from very poor families. Sending one to live in a heya meant food and shelter. Their family's poverty may have affected their education, initial health as young children and so on which would also have adverse affects on health. Or am I wrong? What about today? With all the foreigners it doesn't seem like a place to send your kid for free room and board now.

With all the foreigners?? (On the banzuke...)

Ever heard of the 格差社会? That's today, not past.

And, Nobody can tell me that a Sumo body is as healthy as a normal japanese male's body. There must be an effect.

Edited by ilovesumo

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Ever heard of the 格差社会?

No. (On the banzuke...)

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Ever heard of the 格差社会?

No. (On the banzuke...)

Sorry. (Blushing...) This semester we got that stuff hammered into our brains...

meaning is, that Japan is a society with a big gap between the poor and the rich. The "normal" is getting smaller,

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can we all leave this topic die in peace?

it's getting too much attention and it definitely doesn't worth it.

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And one more...I just remembered that I did some data-crunching for the German forum about a year ago.

After somebody had brought up the longevity issue over there, I found some official Japanese death rate data (census-based or somesuch, dating back to 1918) on the net, and again based on Yubi's rikishi database, I calculated how the rikishi survival rate (to the year 2001) compared to that of the average Japanese male, by eliminating the potential data issues mentioned above...

Thank you for the data & analysis. Much appreciated. It would be good to see this sort of thing published for a wider audience. The typical non-sumo fan (both foreign and Japanese) tend to think the same way as mentioned in the OP. I'm guessing they get their information from the sorts of studies and articles linked to in my earlier post, which they feel confirms whatever stereotypes they hold about sumo.

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Is it also true (I've heard) that the shin-deshi were generally very poor, from very poor families. Sending one to live in a heya meant food and shelter. Their family's poverty may have affected their education, initial health as young children and so on which would also have adverse affects on health. Or am I wrong? What about today? With all the foreigners it doesn't seem like a place to send your kid for free room and board now.

With all the foreigners?? (On the banzuke...)

Ever heard of the 格差社会? That's today, not past.

And, Nobody can tell me that a Sumo body is as healthy as a normal japanese male's body. There must be an effect.

the part about poor boys from the countryside entering sumo is far from realistic but is a long held stereotype. I believe this year Tokyo topped the rikishi rankings in numbers of men, Osaka was second and Fukouka third. (going from memory as opposed to having the facts in front of me) Nagoya (Aichi) is always up there too.

BTW - congratulations on passing your test Verena, and I know it feels 'cool' to be able to read / write some hiragana / katakana and kanji etc but peppering so many of your posts with words / comments / kanji that the vast majority here likely cannot read too easily (and that doesn't even take into account the many many non-members who read SF) might leave them more confused than impressed. そう思わない?

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Another thing is that the lifestyle encouraged by the traditions is totally unhealthy. The Japanese are among the longest-lived people in the world, but Sumo wrestlers have much shorter lives on average. IIRC, I read somewhere that they die in their 50's on average. There is also not to my knowledge any attempt to even find out if performance-enhancing substances are a problem in the sport.

All sports have their good and bad sides but even with all the bad Sumo is still the greatest sport in the world.

As for dying in the 50's on average I think your confusing Sumo with American Wrestling,now theres a low mortality rating if ever there was one. (Nodding yes...)

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Stable Master Held in Fatal Beating of 17-year-old

I used to be a fan of Sumo. Even went to see it in person last year, although I haven't been an active poster here recently.

I have to say that the whole Sumo world disgusts me now. This abuse and hazing of youngsters is just part of it.

Another thing is that the lifestyle encouraged by the traditions is totally unhealthy. The Japanese are among the longest-lived people in the world, but Sumo wrestlers have much shorter lives on average. IIRC, I read somewhere that they die in their 50's on average. There is also not to my knowledge any attempt to even find out if performance-enhancing substances are a problem in the sport.

Wake Up Ozumo! Welcome to the 21st Century!

I definitely share your sentiment as regards the dead young rikishi, and I'm once again appalled by predictable reaction of the "ozumo is great no matter what and even thinking about reform is sinful" faction. These folks will manage to kill the ozumo, by handing out free passes to the ozumo establishment no matter how it performs, and by turning away more open-minded supporters like you in the process. I also agree that the (largely) unchecked use of steroids is a scandal that the NSK -- true to form -- is very slow to address.

This said, there is a criminal investigation under way that may deliver the urgently needed shake-up. And your criticisms of life-style etc. seem far less compelling to me -- this is no different in other sports (for example, weight lifting).

Edited by HenryK

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I'd like to add that most physical sports generally have lower life expectancy averages than "normal". Wear and tear on a body will do that, be it football, US football, ice hockey, wrestling, sumo, etc. Yes, the dietary needs of sumo probably put more stress on the body than what a normal diet would, but I doubt that sumo's life expectancy differs that much from the NFL, particularly. NFL study

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"Open-minded"???? (Nodding yes...)

That's pretty funny indeed. As usual "open-mindedness" is merely code for favouring one reactionary approach over another.

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I'd like to add that most physical sports generally have lower life expectancy averages than "normal". Wear and tear on a body will do that, be it football, US football, ice hockey, wrestling, sumo, etc. Yes, the dietary needs of sumo probably put more stress on the body than what a normal diet would, but I doubt that sumo's life expectancy differs that much from the NFL, particularly. NFL study

I tend to agree. Check Wikipedia regarding American football and life expectancy, career length, injuries, death from practices, and so on. Those include amateur (high school and college) ball stats, but seems as dangerous if not more so to do than sumo.

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A lineman who tries to get his weight up high to prevent the opposing team from passing him has, in many ways, similarities to the job of the rikishi. I'm not surprised there are other similarities. The force of impact is likely similar to the tachi-ai (different from that of tackles in the open field). Rugby and Aussie rules football players are much more mobile. It is not quite the same of course as most kimarite would get you a holding penalty and football players wear equipment somewhat larger than a mawashi... It would be interesting to compare their diet to chanko.

Edited by Harry

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