More Russian sumo face drug accusations

2 09 2008

Breaking news!  Two more Russian sumo wrestlers have tested positive for marijuana usage.  Roho and Hakurozan, two Russian brothers, have appealed after having urine tests return positive for marijuana use.  If the tests are found to be accurate, the two will face expulsion from professional sumo in Japan… something that Wakanoho found out last month.

As mentioned last month when reporting on Wakanoho, although it may seem to many foreigners as an amazing exaggeration of what’s a decriminalized drug in most western nations, in Japan there’s no delineation between ‘hard’ and ’soft’ drugs.

If found to be accurate tests, besides getting the boot from sumo, Roho (a komusubi) and Hakurozan (a maegashira) could face criminal prosecution, which given their status could possibly mean getting expelled from Japan.

This is yet another hit to sumo, which has to be reeling from the constant trouble the sport’s members attract.


Dope-smokin’ Sumo booted

23 08 2008

In recent years, Sumo’s become quite the multi-cultural sport with many foreign-born rikishi coming to Japan with hopes of making a name for themselves in this most traditional of sports.  Success stories such as the two Mongolian Yokozuna Asashoryu and Hakuho encourage others with dreams of having their names go down in the history books.

20-year-old Russian wrestler, Wakanoho did just that – tho’ no doubt not in a way that he’d wished.  Wakanoho, born Gagloev Soslan Aleksandrovich, has his name go down in the annals of Sumo as the first ever active wrestler to be fired.

Wakanoho, a top-level Makuuchi rikishi (wrestler) who had attained the rank of maegashira, was arrested earlier this week for possession of 0.3 grams of marijuana in a cigarette.  In an interview with police, Wakanoho admitted to being a user, and smoking paraphenalia was found at both his apartment and at the Magaki stable where he trains.

This may seem to many foreigners as an amazing exaggeration of what’s a decriminalized drug in most western nations, but in Japan, there’s no delineation between ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ drugs.

His lack of control was something that has plagued him since he joined the Sumo ranks in Japan, often showing a serious lack of judgment.

Sumo Assoc. director Isenoumi stated,

“Wrestlers need to be educated about returning to the origins of sumo – beginning and ending with respect.”

Stablemaster Magaki has offered to resign to take responsibility for Wakanoho’s lack of respect for the ancient sport.

Under Siege

25 10 2007

Sumo is a world unto itself. I very much doubt that there’s a sporting culture that is more insular, or has less impact from the outside world than that of sumo. And largely because of that self-imposed isolation from society, the sport has had a torrid time over the past year.Asashoryu, troubled Yokozuna

The way the JSA (Japanese Sumo Association) dealt with the Asashoryu situation just highlighted the archaic thought processes that manifest at the top levels of the sport’s administration.

To be sure, Asashoryu has his own issues.
He’s at times childish and petulant, and truth be told, I believe he was promoted to the position of Yokozuna too early. Yes, his dominance of the sport required him to be promoted, but his immaturity should’ve precluded him becoming a Yokozuna when he did. His heart is in the right place, but sometimes he makes decisions more than a little precipitously. Asashoryu’s lack of desire to take part in the Northern tour definitely had a part to play in his ‘injury’, and the decision to play in a charity soccer event in his homeland of Mongolia ranks as perhaps one of the most stupid decisions a Yokozuna’s ever made.
JSA boss Kitounami visits the family of Takashi Saito Still, given the JSA promoted him, they should cope a little better with him than they do.
Now that it’s coming out that Asashoryu may have slight mental health issues, they appear absolutely incapable of dealing with this. Prior to now, if a Yokozuna could not uphold the expectations of the position (either due to injury or reduced performance), they are forced into retirement. With Asashoryu, it’s a little difficult. Performance-wise, in every tournament he’s either the best or second best. But mentally he’s not always on his game.
Post his two-tournament suspension, it will be interesting to watch how the JSA and he relate.

Takashi Saito… regarding the death of the sumo wrestler known as Tokitaizan, Stablemaster Tokitsukaze has been sacked by the Japan Sumo Association, losing the right to run a sumo training house. This is the most serious punishment that the JSA can hand down, and the first time an actual ‘oyakata’ (master) has been axed.
Now it remains to be seen if the besieged ex-stable boss will face prosecution from the police.

Given the wrestling name ‘Tokitaizan’, Takashi Saito was killed not even 2 months into sumo trainingEuphemisms run rife throughout Japanese media. They all seem to be tiptoeing around the actual death of Takashi Saito. The kid was killed. There was no ‘suspicion of physical abuse’. Not ‘allegedly beaten’. It wasn’t a ‘momentary loss in concentration’. Hideous as it may be, let’s be honest and acknowledge what happened. Only from that point can we begin to work towards

The impact that the slaying of Saito has already had on sumo has been massive. Many junior members of training stables have either quit, or been withdrawn by their families.

Now sumo faces a new dilemma: allegations are being made over match-fixing within the sport. Just prior to his promotion to Yokozuna, Hakuho’s stablemaster was caught on tape discussing match-fixing. The magazine, Shukan Gendai has published the names of top wrestlers they claim are involved, and lawsuits fly left, right & center.

The world of sumo faces dire consequences, and it seems like the next mess appears before the last is even resolved.
The overall solution is clear tho’… Clean up, or disappear into the annals of history.

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Death of a boy… what the hell is going on in Sumo?

29 09 2007

A 17 year old’s death raises many question in Japan’s oldest sport…

Takashi Saito joined the Sumo Training House (stable) in early May, a little over a month later… he was dead.

The death of Takashi Saito on June 26th should just not have happened.
There is no way anyone can justify the slaying of a 17 year old boy during a training session, especially within the circumstances that Saito died.

Stable Master Tokitsukaze - a criminal?Takashi Saito, who was at the Tokitsukaze sumo stable in Inuyama, central Japan, was beaten to death by the very people who were charged with his daily care.
Saito was involved in a session of sparring practice, where a junior wrestler will smash himself against a senior, each time getting thrown down by his older, stronger opponent. This training is very taxing, and normally only goes for 2 or 3 minutes. The sparring session that resulted in Takashi Saito’s death went for 30 minutes, perhaps longer… and involved a group of senior wrestlers kicking and beating Saito even after he had fallen to the ground. It’s reported that at one stage they even used a metal baseball bat… And this all occurred with the stable master Tokitsukaze supervising the training. Read the rest of this entry »

Top Sports Stories in Japan… (Sept 21)

21 09 2007

Maria Takagi is bendyFriday, and some big games of rugby to be played this weekend…

Go Wallabies!

Anyway, in today’s sports news in Japan:

Top Sports Stories in Japan… (September 18)

18 09 2007

Hot indeed…

Damn… hot again today!

Anyway… today’s top sports stories in Japan:

Top Sports Stories in Japan… (Sept 17)

17 09 2007

Jarah Mariano & friend…Day off today – National Holiday!


Anyway, in today’s sports headlines in Japan: