[sumo] Question somewhat related to death of rikishi

Doreen Simmons jz8d-smmn at asahi-net.or.jp
Fri Jun 29 21:29:26 EDT 2007

It's a question I often get asked myself. The first thing is that there 
are never enough rikishi to be statistically significant. Statistics 
only work with millions, not a few hundred at any one time.
Second, it's the individual deaths that attract attention, especially 
when they're relatively young. When a retired rikishi dies in his 80s, 
it's not a big news item. Third, a lot of the old 'statistics' ignore 
the fact that the life expectancy of ALL Japanese men didn't reach 50 
till after WWII. Fourth,  the simplistic method of listing the age at 
death and dividing by the number of men tends not to take other factors 
into account; besides (3) above, there was one 'study' that didn't 
notice that a whole lot of inactive or retired sumo-san died on the 
same day in the 1945 fire bombing -- Ryogoku was particularly badly hit 
and it was natural that many of them should be living here.

In the old days when sugar not salt was used as a seasoning, the 
incidence of diabetes was relatively high; and with heavy men high 
blood pressure is always a danger; but now it seems to be cancer that 
does the most damage and that has nothing to do with the sumo 

There as a recent article (AP?) on this subject; we helped the woman 
who was writing it. My colleague found a recent book by a specialist 
doctor and recommended it -- but the info is on my office computer.

Just some random thoughts.


On 2007/06/30, at 4:17, Magnus Berg wrote:

> Through my web page, I was recently contacted by a reader whose sumo 
> interest is often met by the question "Sumo wrestlers die quite young, 
> don't they?". I get that question a lot myself, and it's quite 
> difficult to answer. Does anyone have recent statistics or even know 
> if it is possible to calculate the average life span of today's 
> rikishi? I mean, tragic incidents like with Tokitaizan, or even 
> ex-Hokutenyu's premature death, are still very rare and many rikishi 
> now live to an old age. But how do they compare to the average 
> life-span of Japanese (and Mongolian, etc) men?
> Thanks for any input!
> Maguroyama
> ________________________________________________________
> Magnus Berg
> http://www.svenskasumosidan.se
> magnus.rie at comhem.se
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Doreen Simmons
  jz8d-smmn at asahi-net.or.jp

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