[sumo] Yaku Mitsuru

Mike Charlton mikekchar at gmail.com
Sun Aug 31 05:14:48 EDT 2008

On Fri, Aug 29, 2008 at 11:53 PM, Scott M. Kahn <smk1 at columbia.edu> wrote:
> Word is that Mr. Yaku Mitsuru, a member of the Prevention council, and anime
> artist, has called for a strict probation period for foreign rikishi only

Though I don't agree with this idea, I do understand to a certain degree
why he's asking for it.  Japanese culture isn't always obvious to foreigners
(I know from first hand experience ;-) ) and rikishi are expected to
be exemplars of this culture.  To hold up a foreign rikishi's progress
if they are not able (or willing) to perform this role seems prudent.

However, it could be argued that even a Japanese person could
fall victim to problems.  Also, as I suggested quite a while ago, I
feel that many of the young rikishi are moving up the ranks too
fast, without proper sumo technique.  This is resulting in injury.
Actually, it's generally the foreign rikishi who have this problem, because
they are often very big and very strong.  This means they can defeat people
at lower skill levels easily, but run into problems at the higher level
(resulting in injury).

I personally think it would quite a good idea to have a break
just before going into juuryou.  Perhaps *all* rikishi can be evaluated
for their knowledge of Japanse customs and culture, their Japanese
language skill and their ability to win using correct and safe
sumo techniques.  In fact, I'm sure this evaluation is already done.
But perhaps they can be less tolerant of promoting young rikishi
who are winning their matches, but have other issues that they
need to address.

The result would be similar to a probation period, and would
almost certainly affect foreign rikishi more than Japanese ones,
but without the overt discrimination.  It would also, hopefully,
address some of the problems that have been occuring.


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