Sumo plagued by violence in scandal-tainted year
Japan Today -- Dec 26
The violence and scandals that have plagued Japan's sumo world came full circle just after the year's sixth and final tournament, leaving maiden victories by the sport's young up-and-comers in the shadows.

Revelations of violence, harassment and antiquated traditions dogged the country's once-venerable sport in 2018 as it began its slow ascent into a new era of transparency, spearheaded by a generation of wrestlers learning to challenge the status quo and culture of the old regime.

Less than two weeks after 22-year-old komusubi Takakeisho won his first top division championship in November, Mongolian rank-and-file wrestler Takanoiwa submitted his resignation to the Japan Sumo Association for assaulting a younger stablemate.

Takanoiwa, 28, was himself a victim of an assault in October of last year which sparked a feud between his then-stablemaster Takanohana and the JSA, and led to the retirement of his assailant, Harumafuji.

Former grand champion Harumafuji put an end to his 17-year career after it was revealed he had struck his lower-ranked compatriot with a karaoke machine remote control during a drinking party in an attempt to teach his junior manners.

Harumafuji later admitted he "took things a bit too far" in his scolding, which resulted in Takanoiwa being hospitalized for head injuries, forced to sit out two grand tournaments and subsequently demoted to the second-tier juryo division.

Takanoiwa, who had worked his way up to maegashira No. 6 by the Kyushu meet in November, is said to himself have hit an attendant from his Chiganoura stable several times at a hotel for not bringing something during the winter regional tour in December.

The incident occurred just two months after the JSA issued a "declaration to eradicate violence," a clear indication of the deep-seated issues tainting the sport which has roots going back to Japan's Edo Period (1603-1868).

The JSA later in the month held a special 15-minute workshop for juryo wrestlers and above on how to treat attendants with instructions on rooting out violence.

News source: Japan Today
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