Friday, February 9, 2018

sumo world seeks to right itself

The Mongolian sumo grand champion Harumafuji
While daily doses of whisper, allegation and insinuation send American entertainers, politicians, and sports figures to one distant slag heap or another, sumo wrestling in Japan is suffering a different and perhaps more decorous bit of fallout.

A grand master (yokozuna), among other sumo members, "is expected to display exemplary behaviours at all times" and one such grand master, Harumafuji, crossed the line when he beat the crap out of a junior wrestler. A three-month-old Guardian article noted:
The incident comes just as sumo was beginning to rebuild its reputation following a string of scandals and criticism that the sport’s authorities had failed to address a culture of violence outside the ring.
There are a variety of other malfeasance incidents (eg. driving a car without a license) riveting the Japanese public, which seems to attribute to the world of sumo a dignity and purity worthy of ... what? ... Arthurian knights? Clearly this is not the slobolicious and lucrative World Wrestling Entertainment institution.

The latest bit of grist for the sumo mill (which strikes me as more interesting than Donald Trumps' minions):
Every one of Japan’s sumo wrestlers is to face questioning by outside investigators after a series of incidents tipped the sport into crisis.
The Japan Sumo Association has setup an external panel to question 900 members, including wrestlers and elders of the sport. Former members will also be invited to submit details of old incidents that may have gone unreported.
In Washington, we've got the chisel-faced Robert Mueller hovering over Trump's insanities and perhaps lies. I wonder if Japan has a counterpart or would that be too gauche in a world so raffiné.

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