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Kintamayama

New measures announced to combat violence

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A year after the Harumafuji affair, Hakkaku has announced measures to be taken against violence in Sumo, after receiving a report from an outside committee that had looked into this.

Hakkaku rijicho, "We are working towards the eradication of violence."  Preparations for implementation will begin at the end of this year and will run till February next year.

<1> No violence in sumo will be tolerated even if it is part of the guidance process.

<2> The Oyakatas will take the initiative to eradicate all violence in the heya.

<3> The Kyokai will continue to conduct intensive training for all association members to heighten their awareness.

<4> The Kyokai clarifies the definition of violence and the obligation to report whenever violence occurs, what the punishments in the event of negligence are, and the procedure of dealing with a suspect.

<5> When violence occurs, public relations is to be notified  promptly.

<6> Top-level relationships and guidance between seniors and juniors belonging to different heyas will not be allowed. (Hakuhou can't tell Takanoiwa how to behave..)

<7> All measures  to prevent recurrence of violence will be taken in full cooperation and in an open manner with external experts.

 

Edited by Kintamayama
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7 minutes ago, Kintamayama said:

 

<5> When violence occurs, public relations is to be notified  promptly.

 

 

That's pretty glib...notice they don't say the police or disciplinary board or anything like that. The point seems to be that they'll try to stem the tide of bad press if something goes down. 

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3 hours ago, Michishige said:

That's pretty glib...notice they don't say the police or disciplinary board or anything like that. The point seems to be that they'll try to stem the tide of bad press if something goes down. 

It’s all about damage control.

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Same old, same old... and a little disconcerting that these measures strengthen the walls of heyas -- where most of the abuse occurs -- and make it more difficult for word to get out if the Oyakata does not cooperate. Point <5> needs to be tackled first! Definitions are sorely needed. The NSK must also define its stance and commit to enforce punishments.

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44 minutes ago, orandashoho said:

Same old, same old... and a little disconcerting that these measures strengthen the walls of heyas -- where most of the abuse occurs -- and make it more difficult for word to get out if the Oyakata does not cooperate. Point <5> needs to be tackled first! Definitions are sorely needed. The NSK must also define its stance and commit to enforce punishments.

I couldn't agree more about the possibility that #6 will forbid cross-heya relationships.  Maybe the point is lost in the translation, but it comes across like a parent telling their children not to get friendly with other families -- often this is a red flag for abusive parenting.  I hope the reading of #6 is very, very narrowly applied.

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This is too general. Specifics are needed to be outlined so that the criteria is clear and punishments for infractions can be dealt with fairly to all. This is just some vague guidelines that is nothing more than lip service to the media and sumo enthusiasts so the Sumo Association can say they did something about the issue. They need to follow this up with more concrete steps.

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#6 is ridiculous. It actually helps covering violence. 

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I don't see the problem with Number 6 . This is what started the whole thing.  You're not the other guy's Oyakata, even though you're a Yokozuna.  Don't punish or try to take the law into your own hands, it's not under your jurisdiction, even if it feels like it is.. That's  what  the Oyakata is there for.  The fact that some of the Oyakata are not doing their jobs- well,  that's another  story.

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1 hour ago, Kintamayama said:

I don't see the problem with Number 6 . This is what started the whole thing.  You're not the other guy's Oyakata, even though you're a Yokozuna.  Don't punish or try to take the law into your own hands, it's not under your jurisdiction, even if it feels like it is.. That's  what  the Oyakata is there for.  The fact that some of the Oyakata are not doing their jobs- well,  that's another  story.

I imagine that kind of rule would also help avoid yaocho accusations and the like as well, either way, I think it makes a lot of sense even if its a bit sad that they can't all hang out together after the basho

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Association outside of the heya can have many reasons  --
1. Relationshps of the family kind. Rikishi or rikishi/urakata entering differnt heyas, etc.
2. Friendships. Would you forbid them?
3. Sharing experiences, making hardship easier to bear.
4. Gaining perspective of your chosen ife in a larger context than your own house.
5. Reaching out when you feel wronged and have no one who would listen to you.

Picture a youngster, 15-18 years old, fresh out of school and far away from home and family. He is at an age when young people start to pursue greater independence, but instead of becoming more independent he enters a heya. He makes a genuine attempt to dedicate himself to the heya's regime but it is hard. He doesn't want to be labeled weak. All the other wrestlers in the heya are stronger and he is the lowest in the pecking order with everyone yelling at you and putting you down, including the Oyakata. You get a good dose of what is called "hard love". You don't get any sympathy from anyone. You get no choice but to accept it and say thanks. Shut up and put up with it or leave, countless others have been there and done it, the only way out of this is to get honbasho kachikoshis, unless your name is Hattorizakura.

At what point does "hard love" become abuse? I see the difficulty the Kyokai will have in drawing a line. Accidents do happen, it cannot be measured in absolute numbers of cuts, scrapes, bruises or even broken limbs. Perceptions, talent, potential and ability differ for each individual. So does circumstance, the environment, the number of others in the group. It's the whole of the physical and mental health that makes what is a good workout for one into abuse for another. The Oyakata is responsible for heaping just the right amount of challenge on each individual to make them stronger than they themselves believe possible, but he can't know everything that goes on in their minds. He is not a trained psychologist, he relies on ancient methods to forge a successful rikishi out of the recruited raw material. He is also relying on the seniors showing the juniors the ropes and helping them to fit in. The hierarchy gives a good motivation and the methods have worked for centuries, why would they stop working now? The recruit can always go away if he can't bear it. Countless others have been there and done it, the only way out of being at the bottom of the ladder is to climb it.

Different heyas have different interpretation of what amounts to "hard love". How would a recruit know if a heya suits him? He is still a child not in full control of his emotions and he is not in a position to judge whether a particular heya's lifestyle will help or harm him. He is taking a huge gamble putting his whole life in the hands of his Oyakata. Does he have anyone to help him with his choice of heya or is it all pot luck? Where can he go for advice? If rikishi from different heyas are not allowed to compare experiences, the downtrodden in the heya have nowhere to go unless the Kyokai takes more responsibility for a rikishi's day to day wellbeing.

The heya is no different from a family or a prison or a old people's home when it comes to the vulnerability of its inmates to abuse. Whereas in theory the young rikishi can leave at any time, his choices in life are not so simple. He may not have a home to get back to if it doesn't work out (Kyokutaisei comes to mind). He has chosen Ozumo rather than further education, so what job opportunities does he have? A young rikishi may well feel trapped into an unbearable position. Who protects them if the Oyakata doesn't? There is the weak point in all this. What does the Kyokai do to ensure that those vulnerable youngsters get the help they need? The Kyokai takes away what little opportunity they have to widen their perspective beyond the walls of their own heya and the honbasho dohyo.

Is it really necessary for a young rikishi to lose his voice so completely in order to be allowed into Ozumo? Takanohana had seen it differently, but the traditionalists have closed ranks and stopped what might have been a movement to make the sport more open and healthier, and now Takanohana is history. But if the Kyokai wants to keep its absolute power, there will have to be oversight in the goings-on at a heya and where needed, professional help for its members, the Oyakata included. 

 

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10 minutes ago, orandashoho said:

If rikishi from different heyas are not allowed to compare experiences, the downtrodden in the heya have nowhere to go unless the Kyokai takes more responsibility for a rikishi's day to day wellbeing.

And if they ARE allowed, then what? It's not like they can change heyas. If they are suffering, the only solution for them is to retire, the way things are structured at present. In any case, I think they are talking about sekitori, not about the lower rankers. 

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14 minutes ago, Kintamayama said:
29 minutes ago, orandashoho said:

If rikishi from different heyas are not allowed to compare experiences, the downtrodden in the heya have nowhere to go unless the Kyokai takes more responsibility for a rikishi's day to day wellbeing.

And if they ARE allowed, then what? It's not like they can change heyas. If they are suffering, the only solution for them is to retire, the way things are structured at present. In any case, I think they are talking about sekitori, not about the lower rankers. 

Seniors advising juniors is normal within the heya. I see no reason why advice on certain topics, such as how to order what little personal life you have, tips and tricks on how to manage, etc. should be restricted to the heya. Since fraternization with rikishi from other heya could lead to the leaking of information that might affect bouts, not to mention collusion to influence the outcome of bouts, it makes sense to forbid it, but that has nothing to do with stamping out violence in Ozumo in my opinion. My worry is that if external contacts are banned and the Kyokai does nothing to provide a platform where low-ranked rikishi can voice their concerns about how they are treated, abuse can continue inside the heya without anyone knowing if the Oyakata condones it and the abusee decides not to leave.

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I would be grateful, Kintamayama(or any other Japanophone.) for an attempt to clarify what rule No. 6 actually means. I don't feel sure that I understand what a "Top level relationship" is,  exactly and it's not clear to me that No. 6 forbids friendships but only instruction. "You're not that guy's teacher so don't try to act like it by bossing him around." is quite different from "No fraternization at all." and It's a pretty important distinction.

Edited by Shio-kago

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29 minutes ago, Shio-kago said:

"You're not that guy's teacher so don't try to act like it by bossing him around." 

I think that is exactly what number 6 means. More like "You're not that guy's teacher so don't try to act like it by bossing him around, not to mention bashing him on the head with a remote as a means of education." Top level relationship I think to mean "between top level rikishi", meaning sekitori. The  wording in these Kyokai manifestos is commonly very muddled.

Edited by Kintamayama
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As far as I understand it, that "top-level" part of #6 simply means "no tolerance of pecking order-style behaviour between rikishi from different heya, only normal senpai-kohai / senior-junior relations." This seems to cut both ways to me: Younger Takanoiwa ought to observe standard rules of courtesy and not be a jerk to older Harumafuji simply because he can, and Harumafuji ought to leave the disciplining to Takanoiwa's oyakata and not beat him up simply because he can.

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1 hour ago, Asashosakari said:

As far as I understand it, that "top-level" part of #6 simply means "no tolerance of pecking order-style behaviour between rikishi from different heya, only normal senpai-kohai / senior-junior relations." This seems to cut both ways to me: Younger Takanoiwa ought to observe standard rules of courtesy and not be a jerk to older Harumafuji simply because he can, and Harumafuji ought to leave the disciplining to Takanoiwa's oyakata and not beat him up simply because he can.

Exactly. 

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11 hours ago, Kintamayama said:

And if they ARE allowed, then what? It's not like they can change heyas. If they are suffering, the only solution for them is to retire, the way things are structured at present. In any case, I think they are talking about sekitori, not about the lower rankers. 

Often someone who is under duress isn’t aware of it until they see how abnormal their situation is. If a young rikishi is being abused, he might not find out unless and until he speaks to a peer in another stable who tells him about a very different, and much happier, heya lifestyle. Abusers often keep the abused isolated for this reason.

Edited by Eikokurai
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5 hours ago, Kintamayama said:

I think that is exactly what number 6 means. More like "You're not that guy's teacher so don't try to act like it by bossing him around, not to mention bashing him on the head with a remote as a means of education." Top level relationship I think to mean "between top level rikishi", meaning sekitori. The  wording in these Kyokai manifestos is commonly very muddled.

Right, outside of a sanctioned NSK event or their own heya, disciplining their juniors is not the role of a more senior rikishi. In the Harumafuji/Takanoiwa situation, the appropriate response would have been a sternly-worded warning, and then for HMF to hold it in the back of his mind. The next day at jungyo, or one of the following days, he could have called Takanoiwa out on the dohyo for a nice brutal keiko session to see what's what.

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