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Kaikitsune Makoto

Itai's book translations

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Amanogawa wrote:

"Just hoping my writing will make a little sense to you. There may

be questions arising in you after reading this through because there

may have been things that felt uncertain to you, as, I may have

skipped some things going behind. Things too Japanesque and

too granted for me but not to you."

And then she proceeded with translations from the book. I can't remember

which parts these are but I am sure Amanogawa will comment further if any

of you have any questions concerning the book.

This is a rare chance to read quite a long piece of Japanese sumo book so

all the credit to forum's crowned Nihongo-princess who masters English!

to Amanogawa-zeki

The book was evidently written by some reporter and Itai.

Amanogawa herself has not commented the book here other than in some

small comments in parenthesis at some points. Most parenthesis stuff

are translations too.

Warning: this text may annoy you. It is Itai's world after all and yaocho

as the topic so be warned...

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Itai has the record of the fastest rise to Juryo, and will be so unless

the present rule is changed in the future ( which is, "Rikishi below

Makushita 15 will not be promoted to juryo even if he wins the Makushita

zensho-yusho"). And he thoroughly explains about how come it was

achieved. No, not yaocho at all :

Itai was in a kind of heretical situation when he joined the professional

sumo. He was not scouted in "regular" way like most young boys or he was

not from a university, but from a business body which was ( and still is )

very rare. He had to fit in the situation where much younger boys would

call him without an honorific way. Those young boys wouldn't associate

with Itai. They even bullied him too. But then he was strong, VERY strong,

from the very day he joined the heya no one there could make a match with

him. When he degeiko-ed and even fought with Sandanme, he barely lost.

Gradually his heya-mates were throwing in to him, admitting how strong he

was.

He had achieved good results in amateur sumo just well enough, but was not

qualified a "Makushita Tsukedashi" status both because his glorious

records hadn't been achieved not in the individual division but group

bouts, and his Oyakata Oonaruto did not have a political power in Sumo

Kyokai. The rijicho then was Kasugano, Dewanoumi Ichimon, and did not

really favor Oonaruto. So Kasugano never liked to entitle Oonaruto's deshi

Itai the privilege.

This ignited Itai to fight desperately to prove himself to the rijicho who

depreciated his real power. He writes, "Those days from Jonokuchi ( where

he was feeling sorry to fight with green skinny boys ) to Makushita 29 was

the most tense stage of my sumo career -- I was giving all to prove

myself, aiming to wipe the eyes of Rijicho. So everyday, every bout, I was

fighting for my pride and life. After I had made a Makushita middle-r, it

wouldn't have been a shame if I'd lose one or two bouts there -- and it

was such a relief" "I was so glad when I heard many Oyakata grumbling to

Rijicho, 'how come didn't you put Itai at Makushita-tsukedashi? he's

beating up our new 'promising' deshis. he's way too strong for lower

rankers!' "

The first yaocho he was involved was set up by his Oyakata at his Juryo

debut. - By then he and Oyakata were in bad relationship because of money

problems. Oyakata did not keep his words ( for example, he had promised

Itai when he was scouting him, to pay 200,000 yen every month as a

"salary" to take care of his family, which was never made but once ) and yet he

commanded Itai things to do and not to do - but the orders were given by

Oyakata's moody moods, and lacked coherence at all. Oyakata squeezed one

last yen ( well actually except last 100,000 yen ) out of Itai where he

was supposed to have more, a lot more, somewhere 5,000,000 yen when

collected money from Supporting groups. Some of the Koenkai members wanted

to give money to Itai, but Oyakata took most of it and Itai was always

wanting for money to live daily life. Though the heya was holding

Juryo-promotion parties or Makuuchi-promotion parties, collected good

money for Itai was all gone to Oyakata. These factors finally made Itai

think, "I'd rather sell my hoshi(=wins) if I can't make money even if I

make good promotions. I can get cash anyway if I do yaocho."

Itai writes --

*If Kitanoumi hadn't had to be involved ( long story.... Oyakata kind of

made him do those things, in a long run... ), he would have won more yusho,

piece of cake.

*Wajima sold his wins for money, and that made it happen

that Takamiyama made the kinboshi record.

*There are two ways of setting up bouts. 1. To buy the win with money

( Y 700,000 ) 2.To "rent" the win and pay it back with yours +

money ( Y 200, 000 ).

But if you "pay back" the win during the ongoing basho, the 200,000yen is

not needed. How you would pay it back with no money during the basho

while you won't face the rikishi twice - this "system" enables it. Yaocho

is not all that simple ( of course you've known by now, I'm sure ),

according to Itai. It's not happening between only two rikishis but a

"group" of rikishs. It requires numbers of them:

When A wants win from B, A will need C that's to lose to B to whom A

promises to lose in the next match. But this is the simplest connections

and actually numbers of them are involved and "circulate" the wins. It

more than often gets so complicated that someone like Itai ( =Naka-bon )

would be needed.

*Chiyonofuji's 53 consecutive wins. He won 19 gachinko wins. Only 19 wins.

The rest 34 were yaocho-ed. ( I could go in detail here - he's got the

"record" and there's one picture of them in the book )

*If you want to make an apt yaocho rikishi, you must be strong enough to

win by gachinko. Otherwise, no one would deal yaocho with you because

they'd think, "I can defeat this guy even if I don't set it up". In order

to convince a rikishi that he'd rather "sell" his win, you have to be a

"strong opponent" to him. It's sadly ironic, but that you're a competent

yaocho rikishi means you can fight very strongly enough in gachinko bouts

too.

*Yaocho rikishis don't necessarily do yaocho-zumo all the time. They

sometimes do gachinko bouts, but when asked to pay the hoshi (=win) back

to the one from whom he had bought hoshi before, he would have to lose the

bout. That's why you woulnd't be able to get rid of the yaocho system

easily once you're involved.

*So Oonokuni should be given much bigger credit to, because, he once was a

(little) yaocho rikishi when he was very low-ranked. But at one time he

decided to quit it ( Tochitsukasa quit too ) which of course would bring

lot of disastrous revenges from yaocho rikishis. Yaocho rikishi couldn't

arrange his basho plans because of several gachinko rikishis in the way,

so they all would try their best ( or worst ) to beat up gachinko

rikishis. Oonokuni however never let them defeat him. As far as Itai

knows, Oonokuhi has been one and the only yokozuna who's made his rank

without NO yaocho bouts.

*Sakahoko was very astute trying every way to be close to Itai to draw

yaocho updates and get advantages. ( actually he and Itai were more than

often connotatively teased as "Special (gay) friends" ) He was another

perennial sekiwake then but the truth was, he didn't want to make ozeki at

all, knowing his toshiyori stock was made certain. He chose the easier way

as being a sekiwake rather than taking the ozeki responsibility. So when

Kirishima was going to be ozeki, Sakahoko was the only one who never

"co-operated" with other Ichimon and heya sekitoti to give Kirishima the

wins. Sakahoko is a jealous, narrow-minded, weak-hearted guy ( but he

cared very much about his little brother Terao... ).

*"Elevator rikishis" are rikishis who buy the wins to emerge in banzuke,

and pay them back in the next basho ended up with MK to be demoted. Those

rikishi can't stay in Maku because they can't win the gachinko bouts. For

example, when you get 5-3 with yaocho, you'll have to win 3 more to make

KK with gachinko. IF you're not strong enough to make the rest three,

you're to be demoted. Very paradoxically, you can't stay in the Maku

division if you can't win by gachinko, even if you're a wool-dyed yaocho

rikishi.

*When I would yaocho-lose to bigger ones like Konishiki, I'd tend to rush

with full good charge but without sideway actions so they'd easily get me

and push me out ( safely ). When I were to yaocho-win to bigger ones, I

told them to come with full power ( so it would look real ), then I

rapidly dodged and thrusted and they would just fall making a big roll. I

just didn't want to be injured, and neither did they.

*Kotonishiki was doing the "job" mainly for Akebono. Usually the rate was

Y 700,000 for "sale" and Y200,000 for "rent". Akebono, as being a very

practical American, ranged his payment from 200,000 to 2000,000 yen.

One time he sent his tsukebito to me and asked me to sell one win with

200,000yen, which of course I madly refused. Even less than the half of

the "sale"!!! I told the man NO, and then he re-sent the man with the

price of 400,000 yen. I thought he might be in financially tight situation then.

*The most difficult position is around Maegashira5 where you're likely to

face all sanyaku and up. If you get heavy losses there, you'll possibly be

seriously demoted down to the end of Maku, while Maegashira-top or sanyaku

won't go down lower than the middle of Maku. You would "sell" ( not

"lend") your hoshi to ozeki & yokozuna when you're at M5. And you wouldn't

want to lend your hoshi to anyone when you're at M5 where you desperately

want KK. That means you won't get any hoshi paid back in the next

tournament, and it means you'll have an even more difficult basho awaiting

-- then what would you do at M5? Set up as many bouts as you can from the

beginning of the basho and lose as much as you can, and you won't have to

face ozeki or yokozuna after the middle of the tournament (

Shinpan-section and torikumi making judges wouldn't like to match high

rankers with losing maegashiras ). And then towards the final phase of

basho you'd ask those yaocho-rikishis to pay back the hoshi to you, which

hopefully keep your score from going too bad.

*When I was most active setting up yaocho bouts, I was, without knowing at

all though, working for a possible pseudo -yakuza bookmaker(s). It was

the notorious sumo-gamble. There were 20 bouts in Maku and you simply bet

on Higashi or Nishi. If the number of win of either side excesses the

other, the side wins. The bookmakers put the handicap in 0.1 unit

everyday, to even out the number of the customers. They needed someone who

knew thoroughly about the details of the actual yaocho-goings and

happenings inside the tournament in order to get the best figure for the

odd. At first they ( their requests came through tanimachi ) only wanted

me to give inside-information ( of the day's yaocho bouts and its

pre-results ) for the handicap, but gradually they came to ask me to

juggle the bouts - like, "Let the East side win today" "Can you get the

West win today"

*As Futagoyama-gachinko group rose, yaocho rikshis including me had more

difficult times setting up the bouts. The yaocho establishment was falling

apart..

*On January 21st, '00, I was at a press interview of The Foreign

Correspondents' Club of Japan, and revealed some of active ( then ) yaocho

rikishis names like Akebono, Chiyotaikai, Asanowaka, Higonoumi,

Shikishima, Aogiyama, Asanosho, Minatofuji, Otsukasa, Ohinode, Kaio, Toki,

Kotonowka, Kotonishiki, Hamanoshima, Kyokushuzan, Terao, Kaiho, Sentoryu,

Hoshitango. The next day Chiyotaiakai was meeting Akebono, and the bout

had been set up to assure Akebono's yusho. But my interview made so big a

news by then that this bout was made gachinko, and Chiyotaikai got to win

after all. Akebono lost against Takanohana on Senshuraku and never won the

yusho, which spoiled Akebono's plan of staying as yokozuna for two more

years.

Let the record reflect --

And you'll see how "dramatic" the basho was going on towards the end

when Oonokuni was kyujo. Like, Chiyonofuji - Hokutoumi's

Do-beya play-off, or Konishiki- Kirishima -Hokutoumi's mitsu-domoe

playoffs. Those scenarios were of course written by the King Chiyonofuji.

Hokutoumi often referred himself as, "I'm like a panda only to make the

show a little exciting..."

Chiyonofuji had good Koenkai where he could draw as much money he needed,

and in the first place, he was a very strong rikishi who you'd think you'd rather

deal yaocho with him, which enabled him to do that numberless yaocho. As

achieving the 32 yusho and 53 wins, he was desperately buying hoshis as

much as he could. He was seriously intending to break Futaba's record and

everyone in Kyokai knew Chiyonofuji was up to his eyes or foreheads in the

dirty yaocho mud.

It was said that at every Senshuraku party Chiyonofuji was able to collect

money as much as Y 50,000,000 - so if Chiyo had had to buy all 15 wins for

the tournament which would probably raised to some 15,000,000 ( including

buying wins from higher rankers ), it wouldn't have taken too much from

him.

Chiyonofuji kind of threatened you if you would reject his request to sell

the hoshi ( he, would always pay cash for the wins, not pay back with his hoshi ),

saying, "Okay fine. You can fight your gachinko but now you've got two of us

( Chiyo and Hokutoumi ) to defeat with gachinko!" --- then you'd of course

figure you'd better go with yaocho and get 1-1 for sure. This finally defeated

Terao's gachinko-will and make him a yaocho ( but not too much ) rikishi.

Kotogaume too.

And Chiyo did way too desperately buy the wins -- so there were

always problematic problems swirling around between him and other

rikishis. Hokutoumi, straightforward-hearted rikishi who would

hate dirty strategies but had no choice but to obey his great

"stablemate", would worry and reconcile them.

Knowing how it was like then, it's very natural that Chiyonofuji was only a

mere board member but Hokutoumi made one of the Cabinet ministers

before Chiyo did. It only shows how Chiyo was disliked.

About Haru, '90.

CHiyo's "1,000 wins" and Kirishima's ozeki promotion were in focus.

Kirishima had won 10, 11, in the past two bashos and would make the

promotion if he won 12 wins. In Hatsu '90, Chiyo and Kirishima had an

agreement that Kirishima would help Chiyo win the basho's yusho, and Chiyo

would, in return, help Kirishima win 12 wins in the next basho to get the

promotion. So the King had ordered every yaocho rikishis to "collaborate"

in order to achieve Kirishima's promotion, though of course Kirishima

needed to win against gachinko rikishis on his own.

On Day 6, Chiyo lost to Kirishima himself. Day 7, Konishiki "helped"

Kirishima. So did Hokutenyu on Day 9. It was quite likely, with full help

from the yaocho-group, that Kirishima would win both yusho and the

promotion, but the situation changed drastically after he lost to gachinko

Kushima on Day 11 and got the second loss. Chiyo immediately started to

wolf, bulldozing Kirishima with "Plan B", "You give up the yusho - but

I'll reassure you 12 wins and the promotion" And Kirishima did not have a

choice.

After Day 11, Chiyonofuji, Hokutoumi, Konishiki were all 10-1.

Chiyonofuji lost on Day12 to gachinko Ryogoku, which finally made Chiyo

give up the basho's yusho. Because Konishiki had owed Chiyo and Hokutoumi

when winning yuhso in the last but one basho, he voluntarily refrained.

But Chiyonofuji wanted really to make it sure about Kirishima's ozeki

promotion, so he made Hokutoumi defeated by Kirishima, which gave Kyokai

such a good impression of Kirishima that his promotion would almost be

assured. But Chiyonofuji, with a meticulous regard for social duties,

even made ozeki Asahifuji ( with 7 losses at the point ) lose agianst

Kirishima ( and afterwards Chiyo would lose to Asahifuji instead, to help

him win KK ). And on Senshuraku, Kirishima defeated the KK-ed ozeki

Asahifuji to achieve the ozeki promotion successfully.

Now the focus was on who'd get the yusho, which would be decided by

mitsu-domoe playoffs by Konishiki, Kirishima, and Hokutoumi in the end.

Hokutoumi's yusho had already been secretly decided by then, so everyone

watching the TV in the dressing room was in uproar when Hokutoumi lost to

Konishiki in the first bout. But Konishiki was defeated by Kirishima, and

then Kirishima lost to Hokutoumi, who would win against Konishiki in the

next ( and final ) match, to win the yusho.

But all of this -- that the yusho would be decided by mitsu-domoe playoffs

after two circuits, that Konishiki would be beaten with shitatenage -- was

just "acted out" along the screenplay by the King.

About Kyushu, '84

This was one of the rare cases where Chiyo couldn't rule the yaocho

systematic world. Plus fancy sumo gods sometimes play tricks.

Hiramaku (mere maegashira ) yusho just happens when he has got several

wins paid back AND he keeps in good shape to keep winning against gachinko

rikishi until it's too late for King to twitch the direction. After Day

13, Tagaryu was 12-1, Wakashimazu and Konishiki were chasing with 11-2.

Tagaryu was meeting Wakashimazu on Day 14.

Itai went to Tagaryu ( who was one of Itai's friends ) and advised him to

"buy" the win on Day 14, which he followed soon and went up to

Wakashimazu, asking for the Day 14's hoshi. To his biggest surprise,

Wakashimazu just said Okay, but with "double ( means, Tagaryu would have

to give two hoshi back to Wakashimazu plus 400,000 yen )".

By the way, every yaocho rikishi liked Wakashimazu VERY MUCH because he

most likely to accept the yaocho setups and never nickel-and-dime-d

either. As for this crucial bout, Wakashimazu just accepted very "nicely"

which even shocked Tagaryu. Wakashimazu was not intending really much to

be promoted any more by then because he was so much in love with this girl

Takada, Mizue ( his wife now ) that he wanted to marry her to leave his

stable to build up his own heya with her anytime soon.

Tagaryu was over the moon. Winning against this"good-natured" ozeki on Day

14, he was solely leading the yusho race. Tagaryu was facing Asashio, and

he of course asked Asashiofor yaocho, but he firmly refused it, saying, "I

can't do this because my stablemate Konishiki is now in the yusho race

too", which convinced Tagaryu well. Konishiki ( one win behind Tagaryu )

was meeting Kotokaze on Senshuraku.

Both Tagaryu and Konishiki lost, and so Tagaryu won the yusho. Tagaryu

kept the promise to Wakashimazu and gave him two consecutive wins as it

had been contracted.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

And Amanogawa adds to the end:

As I was (struggling) translating, I recalled that Itai would often

say, "I do not like sumo at all. I just do it because it's my job"

Or "To do my job, I have to stay healthy. That's why I don't usually join

the jungyo tours which only give me bad fatigue and possible injuries

edited: edited version of the initial translation as requested by Amanogawa herself.

Edited by Kaikitsune Makoto
  • Like 1

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Wow. (Dancing of joy...)

Anyone believe this story? (Applauding...) (Laughing...)

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Wow.  (Dancing of joy...)

Anyone believe this story? (Applauding...)  (Laughing...)

I do. I said that on ML a long time ago. I believe that was the norm then-today,I believe (want to believe?) it's totally on the level. I knew of these stories independentally when i met an ex-rikishi in Sandanme here a few years back, who told me similar stories. He said EVERYONE knew what was going on-some chose to join, others didn't.

There are many details in Itai's story-you have to have a really vivid imagination and cunning and wily nature, and fantastic memory not to make any mistakes if you're making all this up. Has to be mostly true. Colored and exaggerated for sure, but the core has to be true.

Edited by Kintamayama

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First of all, apology for my sloppy English - and I even have found

some stupid mistakes in my writing for which I'll ask Kai-zeki to

correct sometime soon.

Secondly, please note that this is not anything worth a "translation"

but merely my personal "wrap-up" with shabby English. Just imagine

that you've read a book and told your friend about it, and then s/he said,

"Could you tell me a little about the book?" - and this is that kind

of very casual writing. So there are lots of mess-ups in subjects and

stuff, and naturally, my private views and comments are here and there.

I'd like to ask you to ignore them if they'd bother you in any way. I

don't mean to offend any rikishi or any fan of any rikishi here. True,

I've never been a big fan of Chiyonofuji ( too obvious now ), and I'm

afraid my anti-Chiyo-ism has stained a good portion of my writing,

( however, something like "Chiyonofuji was up to his eyes or foreheads

in the dirty yaocho mud" was actually Itai's original expression (Applauding...) ),

but I really don't think it'd be a matter here to discuss who likes

who and who doesn't.

The book was evidently written by some reporter and Itai.

This book is kind of Itai's autobiography. Some chapters are

of stories of his early life. So again, it's all because of my poor

English skills if Kai-zeki thought like this. There's no reporter

but only Itai who shares those stories.

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I remember watching an amatuer tournament on ESPN (US Sports Channel).

One of the announcers was the recently retired Konishiki.

Prior to the start of the tournament, Konishiki stepped onto the dohyo with two of the amatuer wrestlers. They proceeded to do a "demonstration" of the various winning techniques for the audience. Konishiki would say "This is Yorikiri". The two wrestlers would then act out a bout in which one would win by Yorikiri.

Konishiki would then say "This technique is called Oshidashi." The two wrestlers would then act out a bout in which one of them would win by Oshidashi, etc.

You get the point.

Anyway, what really struck me about these "demonstrations" was how real they looked. They looked like actual competitive bouts. You would never be able to tell that they were faking it unless you already knew.

Until that day, my belief in Yaocho wasn't very strong. It still isn't, but ever since seeing those demonstrations and how real they looked, I no longer have any doubt that Yoacho can, and does, exist in some form.

I don't know how much of Itai's story is true and how much is fabrication, but there's enough there to make you wonder.

Like Moti though, I prefer to believe things are more on the level these days, at least I hope they are. (Just do not get it...)

Edited by Zentoryu

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Was it Itai who claimed he could tell right away which bout was fixed and which isn't? Could it mean that even if a layman can't tell a difference, a rikishi could? Anyway, I think the guy is full of... (Expletives...)

No proof whatsoever. I could believe few (even several) rotten apples but nowhere near the amount needed to run this kind of scheme.

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I share Kotoseiya-rijicho's opinion on this matter. Does some cheating and at least attempted yaocho take place in sumo? Sure, as it does in every sport and competition occasionally. But to this extent? I doubt it. And if every rikishi knows about it, I doubt only one (Itai) of the thousands of rikishi would speak up.

I've never been a big fan of Chiyonofuji ( too obvious now ), and I'm

afraid my anti-Chiyo-ism has stained a good portion of my writing

I respect that, Amanogawa, but I wonder why? Were you anti-Chiyo before these yaocho allegations?

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I've never been a big fan of Chiyonofuji ( too obvious now ), and I'm

afraid my anti-Chiyo-ism has stained a good portion of my writing

I respect that, Amanogawa, but I wonder why? Were you anti-Chiyo before these yaocho allegations?

I can't speak for Amanogawa in particular, but...

Yaocho allegations (buying wins and Yusho, etc.) have been following Chiyonofuji around for a long, long time before Itai's accusations were ever made. That and the way that Chiyo has run his heya (alleged severe abuse of deshi and whatnot) I suspect has a lot to do with the fact that some people dislike him so severely.

Edited by Zentoryu

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Well Chiyonofuji certainly has gotten a lot of questionable reputations in many ways. I don't know much anything about him. I saw one document and he came out as an arrogant fellow who thought he was the king of the world. His attitude towards deshi may be "I am just making them tough" but it can also be (and more likely I bet) "these guys are nothing, inferior crap" and enjoying missusing his authority by beating up deshi and ruling a heya of fear. He is the ultimate old sailor type who consider present day as an era of weaklings and his own era as era of real men who ate lightning and trained 29 hours a day.

I am sure some yaocho exists but unlike Kinta-zeki I think the fact that Itai had this elaborate details in his book suggests more to fabrication (skillful sure), exahheration and imagination than truth due to fact that noone could make up such detailed story if it wasn't true. Or if not that, then at least written records of all yaocho has to exist and if that was the case with Itai, it would strike as highly unusual that it wouldn't be in other many many rikishis' records too and someone would have leaked the news to press with details or so. There are many bitter retired rikishi I bet. After all ozumo may not be the easiest place for weak or weaklish rikishi who get beaten up mentally and physically. Someone would have paid back anonymously. The bottom line is that such a detailed network of yaocho would not stay hidden if such a HUGE number of people knew about it. Also there would have been bound to be conflicts and outbursts, revenge etc. Too large of a conspiracy to stay hidden.

Yet I am sure some yaocho existed and exists now. Much more than in many other sports too as sumo has a good formula to fix bouts and stuff. Maybe in 1980s and 1990s before Futagoyama-beya era yaocho was much more prevalent than nowadays but Itai's story I have major problems believing in. Part of it is most likely true but in my eyes he undermines his credibility by going overboard.

If he is telling the full truth, then Kyokai/ozumo should get an annual conspiracy prize or something and should also be very ashamed of themselves for deception and immoral behaviour. Dame desu yo.

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The bottom line is that such a detailed network of yaocho would not stay hidden if such a HUGE number of people knew about it.

While I'm also having difficulty to believe that every single thing that Itai alleges is true, I'm not so sure that (if it's true) this particular conspiracy would really be bound for self-destruction.

After all, many (perhaps most) of the yaocho participants that Itai names were long-time Makuuchi veterans - almost all of whom are now oyakata, so there'd be a continued interest in keeping the thing under wraps. And even if "everybody" knew what was going on, I doubt any random ex-Makushita rikishi would know enough specific details of it to produce an expos

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I respect that, Amanogawa, but I wonder why? Were you anti-Chiyo before these yaocho allegations?

Thanks Yoavoshimaru. (Laughing...)

I don't know, maybe it's only me to think that sometimes dohyo-attitudes would reveal your personality while you don't know it .. and Chiyonofuji did not appeal to me in that regard, even before the unfavorable rumors which Zentoryu and Kaikitsune have noted above. And that perhaps explains overall reasons for my anti-Chiyoism. Plus I guess I have heard enough of his non-official information including ones semi-straight from a horse's mouth --which I shouldn't write in public space like our forum.

almost all of whom are now oyakata, so there'd be a continued interest in keeping the thing under wraps

This Itai book has a chapter of how those oyakatas once tried to sweep yaocho-zumo away. There even was a big meeting convened where Rijicho ( former yokozuna Wakanohana I ) was fervently sermonizing Oyakatas how crucial to wipe out yaocho to restore the real thrill and excitement, which would eventually recuperate the popularity ( and assure the Kyokai profits ). Itai did not write the after-story of the meeting but just wrote, "I believe that that only proved there DEFINITELY was yaocho going on of which every oyakata WAS aware" . Itai also wrote that he had a tape of this meeting.

I doubt any random ex-Makushita rikishi would know enough specific details of it to produce an expos

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Somehow cease? You mean, like the incident of two ex-rikishi making yaochō allegations who then died suddenly on the same day with the same cause of death?

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I share Kotoseiya-rijicho's opinion on this matter.  Does some cheating and at least attempted yaocho take place in sumo?  Sure, as it does in every sport and competition occasionally.  But to this extent?  I doubt it.  And if every rikishi knows about it, I doubt only one (Itai) of the thousands of rikishi would speak up.

I suppose we will never know, but I think there is some truth to Itai's allegations. Perhaps you have seen this before, but here is an interesting interview with Ohnaruto about yaocho.

From other articles I've read, it seems like Itai was initially threatened with a lawsuit for making his allegations, but then he basically dared them to bring a lawsuit and nothing happened.

I don't know much about yaocho, of course, as I'm just an interested fan, but from what I've read it sounds like there has never been a real investigation. It's always brushed off or squelched in the past. That does not give me confidence!

Given sumo's extraordinarily tightly-knit culture, where respect for superiors is paramount and dissension is rare, it does not really surprise me that most rikishi would keep quiet about this kind of thing. When a large group of people is guilty, they do their best to make sure no one "squeals."

I know this is all speculation, but one good investigation would do alot to restore credibility. That this has not happened in this case is surprising to me, but I'm not in this culture. Still, it makes me sad to think Taiho's record could be only partially "real."

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Still, it makes me sad to think Taiho's record could be only partially "real."

AFAIK, The Taiho-Kashiwado era was thought to be a "gachinko" era. The "big run" was supposedly late 70s -early 90s..

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Somehow cease? You mean, like the incident of two ex-rikishi making yaochō allegations who then died suddenly on the same day with the same cause of death?

I think it was only Onaruto-oyakata who an ex-rikishi of the two.

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Itai also wrote that he had a tape of this meeting.

I have a chupacabra as a pet. I also meet extraterrestial lifeforms every other Friday. Usually we just play Colin McRae Rally 3. They're quite good at that. (I am not worthy...)

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Still, it makes me sad to think Taiho's record could be only partially "real."

AFAIK, The Taiho-Kashiwado era was thought to be a "gachinko" era. The "big run" was supposedly late 70s -early 90s..

I had heard that as well, but then this interview with Ohnaruto stated:

"Taiho won 32 Sumo tournaments and was one of the greatest Sumo wrestlers in the long history of the Sumo. Up to his 20th win in the tournament series, his matches were 'Gachinko' (serious matches), but after that victory, his matches were all rigged," continued Ohnaruto.

Link here.

I believe there were also allegations about Taiho being behind crop circles, but I couldn't track those down. (I am not worthy...)

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it's just that.............well the stories about Akebono....they're not that long ago :-) (I am not worthy...) :-)

Itai's stories about Akebono were from around May 1991, if I remember correctly. That's 13 years ago. Only rikishi around from then is Kotonowaka.. That is a long time ago, for sure..

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it's just that.............well the stories about Akebono....they're not that long ago :-)
Edited by Taka

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But reading it now again. It does seem in a way (even) more speculative than the rest, his earlier stories.

Also it could be seen as him simply "highlighting" the sheer impact of his revelations.

I agree. Does anyone know if this part ( the naming of current rikishi-Itai was far removed from what was going on in Sumo in 2001, no?) was in the book too, or is he saving it for the sequel??

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Somehow cease? You mean, like the incident of two ex-rikishi making yaochō allegations who then died suddenly on the same day with the same cause of death?

Well, I'd still say so. The two men's death was not proven a conspiracy after

all, and it didn't raise any crusades against yaocho either ... it made a big deal for a while but not for real and eventually the movement "somehow ceased" :-(

sumo's extraordinarily tightly-knit culture

I think this is very well put. It's so much so that sometimes everything seems to be run in a kind of "live and let live" cause.

Does anyone know if this part ( the naming of current rikishi-Itai was far removed from what was going on in Sumo in 2001, no?) was in the book too, or is he saving it for the sequel??

Finally I decided to buy this book ( well, I have borrowed this book from a library, to tell you the truth :-) :-) ) and ordered one at Amazon. Please wait a little. :-O

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Personally, I don't doubt the truth of Itai's statements, but I question their accuracy.

I'm currently working on translating the Yaocho chapter of "The Economics of Sumo". I'll put it up once I'm done.

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