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Kintamayama

Kotomitsuki accused of gambling- dismissed from Sumo

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Some rikishi have come forward and admitted to gambling on baseball, the Kyokai admitted today. No concrete names or ranks were revealed. A special committee within the Education office will be investigating this from now on. Those that came forward and admitted to this will not be punished, provided they prove they have no deep ties with the underworld. All details will be relayed to the Ministry of ECSST (Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology) immediately. "During jungyo, some rikishi have been playing cards for money which is not that far from gambling ... We intend to put a stop to that,", said Hakkaku deputy Educational Guidance boss. "From here on, if we catch anyone doing that, we will deal with it seriously!", added Michinoku Oyakata. OTOH, those that were implicated in the weekly's article are not among the rikishi that came forward, they say.

This reminds me of a story from the time I spent in the army.

The commander of the division heard somehow a rumor that the newcomer soldiers were gathering money for playing bingo. Of course, like every determined army officer, he decided to take serious measures and deal harsh with any gambling activities among the conscript army.

So he assigned the task to several young lieutenants, who, together with the sergeants started to summon the privates for one-to-one conversations, trying to understand the details behind the suspected gambling activities.

All of us, the young soldiers, were extremely surprised by the nature of the questions... Noone could understand why the commandment thinks that, if someone wants to gamble, wouldn't play some card games, but will organize such sophisticated gambling activity like bingo.

Anyway, the information of the commander seemed to be solid: Money has been collected among soldiers for bingo. So after 2 days of fruitless investigations, the whole division was going to face severe punishments - not only for gambling, but also for impeding the investigation, concealing the guilty ones and, generally, disobeying.

Fortunately, in the end the truth was found: Indeed three soldiers-roommates collected money which they needed for Bingo. A washing powder "Bingo".

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Ozeki Kotomitsuki has admitted in a written statement to gambling on baseball, it has been reported today. Until now, he had vehemently denied gambling, but as the Kyokai deadline of June 14th is today (the Kyokai issued a gambling questionnaire to all people connected that was to have been returned by today, saying that anyone admitting to gambling till the 14th will receive a stern warning and not be severely punished) he apparently has decided to come clean. He is slated to visit the Kyokai office today to explain in further detail, but the paper speculates that a severe punishment is forthcoming, even though he made the deadline.

Asahiyama Oyakata has also admitted that some of his deshi were gambling. "Not on baseball. They played cards and were betting in the neighborhood of 1000 yen. It was between the guys. I will do my utmost that this will never happen again.", he explained. He is the first Oyakata to come forth with this. Other rikishi have been sending in their admissions by fax, orally or by documents these last few days. The feeling is that it is pretty widespread, this gambling thing. The Kyokai has decided to start a full-fledged investigation into the gambling, in cooperation with the police, who will interrogate anyone they deem fit.

Asahiyama arriving with the questionnaire:

spf1006141207002-p1.jpg

Edited by Kintamayama

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Asahiyama Oyakata: "They played cards and were betting in the neighborhood of 1000 yen. It was between the guys."

...The feeling is that it is pretty widespread, this gambling thing.

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.

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Gotta ask - is it a peculiarly Japanese thing to conflate gambling among private parties with organized gambling, or is it because the wholesale ban on it means there really is basically no difference and everyone who might be gambling among friends is invariably also going to be sucked into the yakuza-organized parts?

Possibly silly add-on question: Is 'gambling' not part of the typical growing-up experience in Japan? By which I mean the whole gamut from children's card games to board games, etc. (Sure children won't be playing for money, but I wonder if that type of thing is frowned upon altogether.)

Edit: Ah, another thing - no private betting pools at the office, I take it?

Edited by Asashosakari

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Gotta ask - is it a peculiarly Japanese thing to conflate gambling among private parties with organized gambling, or is it because the wholesale ban on it means there really is basically no difference and everyone who might be gambling among friends is invariably also going to be sucked into the yakuza-organized parts?

Possibly silly add-on question: Is 'gambling' not part of the typical growing-up experience in Japan? By which I mean the whole gamut from children's card games to board games, etc. (Sure children won't be playing for money, but I wonder if that type of thing is frowned upon altogether.)

Edit: Ah, another thing - no private betting pools at the office, I take it?

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.

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Might be an urban legend, but someone told me the Pachinko parlours aren't officially allowed to pay out the customers. However, there's said to be a hidden counter in a dark alley (figuratively) where you can cash in your marbles.

Edit: one minute too late :-)

Edited by Jakusotsu

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OK, this is turning serious and it looks like Mickey may have fought his last match. "I am entrusting myself to the Kyokai. I cannot answer any questions about the gambling problem," said Kotomitsuki, after asked what will happen to him. "We are entrusting this matter to the police. We will not be punishing Kotomitsuki tomorrow (The Kyokai will be holding an emergency meeting tomorrow and have summoned Kotomitsuki). We have no choice but to wait and see how the police will deal with this," said Musashigawa rijicho. "I guess he had a change of heart..", answered the Rij when asked why Kotomitsuki suddenly decided to admit to everything in writing.

Sadogatake, in a tearful apology: "I am deeply sorry that we have caused all this trouble. I cannot comment on the details at this time. I am still having difficulties coming to grips with this myself. I'm at a loss for words."

Edited by Kintamayama

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Why the 180 degree turnaround? Sources close to the story are saying that till late last night Kotomitsuki was troubled by this. After hearing that 29 others admitted to the same thing he was denying, and possibly wanting to get away with a light punishment as promised, he changed his tactic and went with the admission. Even Sadogatake knew nothing about this. Some types of "light' gambling have been rampant behind the scenes in sumo for ages, especially during jungyos, and rikishi playing hanafuda cards in the shitakubeya were part of the scenery and nobody seemed to mind. The people who let that pass are partly responsible for the gambling to get out of hand. "It's better we 'empty the sea' now..," said Michinoku Oyakata, and it is apparent that a decision was made to tackle this issue. "If this story leads to arrests, we should cancel the remaining three bashos this year and clean up our act!", said a young Oyakata.

Edited by Kintamayama

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And the consequences- Kotomitsuki's yusho portrait which was hanging in his hometown Okazaki's gymnasium was taken down a few weeks ago "to thwart anyone trying to tamper with it", the reason given.. His Okazaki koenkai members are at a loss. "He is such a nice guy and honest, and we really trusted him.. It's really disappointing and regrettable. I hope he can start anew and gambarize from now on," said the head of the koenkai.

Edited by Kintamayama

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I can't believe it , this is a nightmare...

Don't know if he has a chance to enter in his hometown basho.

Maybe this was the last time he would have had the possibilty to be competitive in front of his fans.

Anyway , even if he is allowed to participate , he will be disturbed by all this stuff.

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I'm guessing he's not the first celebrity to run afoul of the anti-gambling laws. Anybody know of prior examples as to how they were treated in the course of the police investigation, i.e. do they usually make an example of them or do they try to go for the bigger fish (the crime syndicates)?

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I just do not get it. Kotomitsuki is a gambler. This is news? That was obvious in Las Vegas. Then, there was the story NHK did on the whole world of pochinko(sp?) (the Japanese game with all the ball bearings.). Supposedly gambling on the game is illegal, but there was a guy at a booth the size of a New York Broadway ticket office exchanging coupons for cash.

At the time I saw that, I THOUGHT I understood how Japan viewed their gambling laws. Basically the same way we do here. They are ignored unless someone really raises a stink. Nobody ever got upset with Pete Rose until he was gambling on baseball at a time when he was a manager. So, when are Kotomitsuki's Sumo betting slips going to come public?

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Kotomitsuki will be kyujo in Nagoya, announced Sadogatake Oyakata. He is voluntarily disciplining himself, say the papers.

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Is he also placing himself under house arrest? (not sure the best translation for 謹慎)

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Horrible news to hear...this is really a TOUGH time for sumo. Hopefully (though this is biasis talking) Kotomitsuki doesnt have to retire due to this.

As for the pachinko query, I can shed some light on that. In Japan Gambling (as playing any kinda game or sport to win money) is illegal. The only exception is on horses and bicycling or Keirin (which is SUPER popular...due to the limitation of gambling in Japan). In Pachinko u dont win money (because that is illegal) instead you win carnival prizes ranging from keychains to rice cookers to even flat screen tvs. The thing is though Pachinko parlors are either owned by the Yakuza (Japanese mafia) OR have partnership with them. Everyone knows this even the goverment. In order to laundry money or provide the gambling wares to their customers, those in the know take their prizes to a secret booth usually a few blocks from the pachinko parlour and exchange it for money. That booth is run by the yakuza as well. Then what happens is the yakuza will sell those prizes BACK to the pachinko parlor (usually for a profit). Again EVERYONE knows about this but like with most stuff yakuza related, they just kinda ignore it.

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I'd add Mahjong to the list of games that is played by many Japanese in Mahjong parlours - or just privately. Every time I played Mahjong, with Japanese and/or foreigners, it was always for cash (usually just token amounts), because like with Poker, the game is basically meaningless without something riding on it.

It is, however, illegal to gamble when playing Mahjong, but I'd be willing to bet (a token amount) that over half the members of parliament, the senior police, judges etc in Japan have played Mahjong at some stage of their lives, and have played for money.

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So much for my chance at back-to-back yusho in "Guess the Kotomitsuki"..

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Is he also placing himself under house arrest? (not sure the best translation for 謹慎)

Yes, he is-was just about to mention that. He was questioned by the police today and admitted gambling on baseball. Kotomitsuki and the other 64 involved have all been severely reprimanded, but may receive an upgrade of more serious punishment, depending on the results of the police inquiry.

Edited by Kintamayama

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So much for my chance at back-to-back yusho in "Guess the Kotomitsuki"..

0-0-15

1) yasumi

2) nobody

3) Day 8

4) nobody

5) no

6) zero

7) O2w

:-)

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As for the pachinko query, I can shed some light on that. In Japan Gambling (as playing any kinda game or sport to win money) is illegal. The only exception is on horses and bicycling or Keirin (which is SUPER popular...due to the limitation of gambling in Japan). In Pachinko u dont win money (because that is illegal) instead you win carnival prizes ranging from keychains to rice cookers to even flat screen tvs. The thing is though Pachinko parlors are either owned by the Yakuza (Japanese mafia) OR have partnership with them. Everyone knows this even the goverment. In order to laundry money or provide the gambling wares to their customers, those in the know take their prizes to a secret booth usually a few blocks from the pachinko parlour and exchange it for money. That booth is run by the yakuza as well. Then what happens is the yakuza will sell those prizes BACK to the pachinko parlor (usually for a profit). Again EVERYONE knows about this but like with most stuff yakuza related, they just kinda ignore it.

The legal gambling scene in Japan is slightly more complicated, with horse racing (both national and regional via the JRA and NRA, respectively), boat racing, bicycle racing, and motorcycle racing. Soccer pools and lottery round out the forms of government sanctioned gambling. Pachinko parlors are not covered by the Japanese gaming laws, and are not considered as gambling by the government, thus are not subject to regulation.

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Sadogatake: "Under these circumstances, he cannot mount the dohyo":

spf1006152016006-p1.jpg

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Gotta ask - is it a peculiarly Japanese thing to conflate gambling among private parties with organized gambling, or is it because the wholesale ban on it means there really is basically no difference and everyone who might be gambling among friends is invariably also going to be sucked into the yakuza-organized parts?

Possibly silly add-on question: Is 'gambling' not part of the typical growing-up experience in Japan? By which I mean the whole gamut from children's card games to board games, etc. (Sure children won't be playing for money, but I wonder if that type of thing is frowned upon altogether.)

Edit: Ah, another thing - no private betting pools at the office, I take it?

They take dyed hair as a delinquency...

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What a mess!!! I'm sorry for the fans, that is who is punished the most if he isn't in Nagoya. Well... nothing any of us can do about it...

As for Mahjong kids (high school and university and even some JHS) play for money!!!! As I am a teacher in all levels of schools I know that this is going on and so do any teachers who have ever talked to any students about their lives. They play for money, they play for game boys and games if they don't have money.... A big portion are also smoking and drinking beer.. all illegal of course.

One of my best friends grew up playing pachinko from junior high school, cutting classes to do so. Playing mahjong all night in his university days for money... and in the end he graduated from Todai, then a masters and a doctorate degree as well... working as a research engineer for one of the top 3 construction companies (gee who used to be owned by the yakuza back in the day) Anyway my friend turned out fine...

Gambling is going on everywhere and I am sure in sumo world as well. What a shame it comes down to this now. The press are on a sumo witch hunt to find something new every week! (Shaking head...)

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Gambling is going on everywhere and I am sure in sumo world as well. What a shame it comes down to this now. The press are on a sumo witch hunt to find something new every week! (Shaking head...)

It would seem to be having an effect. I have a friend who is a "copywriter" in Japan. I recently asked him, through a translator, what his opinion was on the Sumo scandals. His reply was that he did not follow Sumo, as "It is considered a lower class sport." I was floored by his response. The translator we were using at the time lives here in the U.S> and teaches Japanese at a local private secondary school. She was not aware of this perception of Sumo.

I hope some of the Japanese Citizens here on the board will be kind enough to comment on this. Is, (or perhaps "has") Sumo lost a great deal of it's stature in Japanese society? Are there a large number of Japanese who view Sumo as a lower class activity? Or, perhaps was my friend simply saying that as a way to explain away his lack of knowledge regarding Ozumo?

Any comments from people in a position to know what kind of damage is being done to Sumo's place in Japanese society would be appreciated.

Thank You in advance for your time and considered opinion.

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