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#363121 - 09/28/07 07:21 AM Sumo Cruelty: Scandal in Japan
Prizewriter Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 10/23/05
Posts: 2577
I read this in the Times today:

Pretty shocking. I knew that Sumo training was tough, but this is beyond the realm of reason. Sumo has been on the decline in popularity in Japan. I can't imagine this will help. Poor kid...
"Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food" Hippocrates.

#363122 - 09/28/07 08:15 AM Re: Sumo Cruelty: Scandal in Japan [Re: Prizewriter]
RazorFoot Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/01/04
Posts: 2064
Loc: Seated at the computer, DUH
I dont know if it is fair to blame an entire sport for the actions of a few. It is a horrifying account to be sure but we have seen similar events take place in Muay Thai and other contact sports. The same has occurred in college fraternity hazing.

I do not say this to belittle the event or the ramifications it should have but I dont want people to think it is isolated to Sumo or even martial arts for that matter. We have a few sick individuals out here who disguise their bullying and masochistic tendencies as training routines to take advantage of inexperienced people who trust in their seniors.

It is a tradgedy and I hope they justly punish the people responsible for this father's pain from the loss of his son.

"The greatest way to live with honor in this world is to be what we pretend to be."

#363123 - 09/28/07 10:45 AM Re: Sumo Cruelty: Scandal in Japan [Re: RazorFoot]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6665
Loc: Amherst, MA
They call the place a 'stable'. That should be a clue.

#363124 - 09/28/07 10:50 AM Re: Sumo Cruelty: Scandal in Japan [Re: Prizewriter]
MattJ Offline
Free Rhinoplasty!

Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 15634
Loc: York PA. USA
From the article -

"In what would be the first arrest of a sumo stable-master, police sources said that they were likely to charge Junichi Yamamoto in the next few days with causing the death of his teenage jonokuchi – the most junior rank of wrestler.

The life of aspiring young sumo wrestlers is notoriously tough, but until yesterday it was always assumed that the stable-masters had the best interests of their wrestlers at heart and knew where to draw the line.

As details of Takashi’s death have trickled out – officially he died from heart failure in June while preparing for a tournament – a grim reality has emerged. Hit repeatedly on the head with a beer bottle by his instructor, kicked by his fellow students and later pummelled with a metal baseball bat, Takashi’s short career in sumo has been exposed as a daily ordeal.

He ran away twice from the stable but was forced back into the fold by older wrestlers. As punishment for his desertion, his mobile phone was smashed to bits to deny him any contact with his family and the outside world. In a move that Mr Saito now regrets bitterly, he told his son to stick it out rather than quit.

On the day before his death Takashi was forced to endure an ordeal that coroners at Niigata University believe may have led to his death.

As part of their training regime, wrestlers are put through regular sessions of butsukari geiko – a bone-crunching process in which young sumo are repeatedly charged into by their peers to prepare them for the violence in a match.

I was already aware that Sumo training in Japan was very brutal, but that is extreme even for what I have seen. I have seen videos of Sumo training where the trainers froced the sumo to do splits. Those that couldn't were beaten or even forced (trainer viciously pushing them over or standing on their thighs) to do them. On the video that I saw, one guy that was pushed into a split tore something (hamstring? groin? back?), and was crying and screaming from the pain. Horrifying.

Related thread here -
"In case you ever wondered what it's like to be knocked out, it's like waking up from a nightmare only to discover it wasn't a dream." -Forrest Griffin

#363125 - 09/28/07 11:51 AM Re: Sumo Cruelty: Scandal in Japan [Re: harlan]
hedkikr Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 02/28/05
Posts: 2827
Loc: Southern California, USA
The Japanese word for the place a sumotori lives & trains is "Heya" (roughly house/room/quarters). Specifically, the place is called "Sumo-beya" (the "h" in "heya" becomes a "b" - don't ask me why, it just sounds better).

"Stable" is an English word possibly used becuause there is no direct translation for "Sumo-beya".

As Razor stated, Sumo has a 1,000-yr. history of honor &, despite it's rich heritage, I'm sure there have been other like occurances. But this, I believe, is an exception to the rule. I'm sure all Sumo are ready to run that guy out of town for tarnishing the reputation of their sport/life.

My mother's cousin (I only met him once when I was a kid) was a Sumotori - never ranked very high & retired due to injures. He opened a restaurant like many retired sumo do.

#363126 - 09/30/07 01:03 PM Re: Sumo Cruelty: Scandal in Japan [Re: hedkikr]
chingei Offline

Registered: 09/10/07
Posts: 61
Well, Asashoryu's foibles have certainly been overshadowed by all this.


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