[sumo] More yaocho news

Barbara Ann Klein baklein at attglobal.net
Tue Feb 6 14:31:21 EST 2007

 And while we're on the subject--------------
>From Mainichi Daily News:

Sumo has bigger problems than bribery to worry about

Accusations of bribery are as old as the ancient sport of sumo itself,
though in the past proponents were much more open about bouts being fixed,
according to Shukan Asahi (2/16).

In the Taisho Era (1912-1925), there used to be an inspector who would
accuse grapplers of fixing matches and make them re-fight seriously on the

But the claims by Shukan Gendai that Yokozuna Asashoryu paid 11 of his 15
opponents to lose in the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament last year rocked the
sumo world. Asashoryu and the other wrestlers questioned over the claims
have all denied any wrongdoing. Nonetheless, the struggling sport copped
another blow it didn't really need.

"Before the Japan Sumo Association made a decision that there has not been
any bout-fixing, it should be posting inspectors at the shitakubeya
preparation room and getting them to keep an eye out on any wrestler acting
suspiciously. They already knew what the result of the probe would be before
they even started carrying it out this time," a veteran JSA member tells
Shukan Asahi. "Unless they solve this, sumo runs the risk of losing even
more of its popularity."

Sumo journalist Shigeru Nakazawa says there are problems other than the
fixing allegations.

"Regardless of whether there was any fixing going on or not, what can't be
denied is that a yokozuna who barely practices still manages to win
tournaments while barely raising a sweat. The four ozeki who are supposed to
beat the yokozuna never looked like doing so," Nakazawa says. "Sumo is
trying to give across this message that everybody is always practicing
really hard, but when you look at the results that are coming up, it shows
you that nothing much is going on at all."

People in Tokyo may not have given up on sumo yet, but the next tournament
is in March in Osaka, a city known for its citizens' parsimoniousness.

"There are some stalls complaining that customers are already demanding
their money back. But there won't be any payments coming out of a place
that's worth nothing," Nakazawa tells Shukan Asahi. "Osakans are a lot more
outspoken than people from Tokyo, who'll put up with stuff it is makes them
look good. Osakans won't put up with wrestlers not giving it their all." (By
Ryann Connell)

February 6, 2007

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