[sumo] Another Look At the Rikishi Ban on Driving

Doreen Simmons simmons at fpcjpn.or.jp
Mon Jan 22 19:39:59 EST 2018

When the ban was introduced, Mitoizumi was cut about the face and was in no
condition to appear on the dohyo.


On 23 January 2018 at 05:43, Jeffrey Anderson <jeffand at regent.edu> wrote:

> Interesting review on the history of the ban courtesy of the Times of
> London. Sorry I cannot get a link to you as you have to have an account
> with them, which I got several months ago when they had a sumo story that I
> posted to this listserve. Several months...hmmm...they don't cover sumo too
> often, do they. 😊
> Best regards,
> Gaijingai
> The ancient Japanese sport of sumo is embroiled in its latest scandal
> after one of its stars was accused of violating a rule that bans them from
> driving.
> Osunaarashi, the only Egyptian sumo wrestler, is accused of driving into
> the back of another car. It was a minor collision that caused little damage
> and no injuries, but he does not have a valid driving licence — and he
> faces the wrath of the sport’s professional association for violating its
> decree that no rikishi, as the sumo strongmen are known, is permitted
> behind a wheel or on a motorbike.
> The rule is intended to preserve the noble image of the sport, whose
> participants are traditionally regarded as exemplars of old-fashioned
> virtues of dignity and restraint. But it is also an acknowledgement of the
> accident-prone nature of some of the wrestling giants once they find
> themselves in the confines of a car.
> Osunaarashi, 25, whose fighting name means “great sandstorm”, insisted
> that it was his wife who was at the wheel of the car at the time of the
> collision in Nagano Prefecture on January 3. He told police that he swapped
> places with her after it happened to protect her because she is pregnant.
> But he failed to report the incident to the Japan Sumo Association (JSA)
> or to the head of his “stable”, or training school. After the story came
> out he withdrew from the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament now under way at
> the Ryogoku Sumo Hall in Tokyo. The ban on driving was introduced in 1985
> after a wrestler named Mitoizumi was injured in a traffic accident. The JSA
> appeared at first to be turning a blind eye to its own rule but in 2000 a
> vehicle driven by a senior wrestler named Toki struck and killed a woman at
> a crossing, and the ban was enforced more strictly.
> In 2007 another sumo star, Kyokutenho, was suspended from a tournament and
> fined after crashing his car, and three years later the JSA was embarrassed
> when a video appeared on YouTube showing a party of sumos in a car driven
> by one of their number. The sport was shaken recently by the enforced
> retirement of one of its grand champions, Harumafuji, after he fractured a
> junior wrestler’s skull with a beer bottle during a drunken brawl. Last
> month a senior referee was found to have sexually assaulted a male junior.
> Osunaarashi, who was born Abdelrahman Shalan, fights in the upper levels
> of the sport’s second division, having been demoted from the top division
> last year after an injury.
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