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  • Follow-up: Sumo Stablemaster gets his for Tokitaizan hazing death

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on June 9th, 2009

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    Hi Blog. A bit of follow-up on a case that took up in 2007 due to the politics of Sumo (and our perceived need for the Association to divert attention from its own excesses by bashing the foreign rikishi). The stablemaster whose orders resulted in the death of Sumo wrestler Tokitaizan two years got his: Seven years in the clink. Good. But it’s now on appeal, and who knows if it’ll be lessened to the degree where it does not become a deterrent for future leaders to order and carry out the bullying and hazing of its underlings. Even Ozeki Kaio has rallied as a defender of the practices, see below. Arudou Debito in Sapporo


    The Japan Times, Saturday, May 30, 2009
    Former stable master gets six years for young wrestler’s hazing death
    NAGOYA (Kyodo) The Nagoya District Court sentenced a former sumo stable master Friday to six years in prison for telling wrestlers at his stable to haze and beat a 17-year-old wrestler who died in the 2007 assault.

    News photo
    Junichi Yamamoto KYODO PHOTO

    Presiding Judge Masaharu Ashizawa said that Junichi Yamamoto, 59, with his “immeasurable power” as stable master, ordered the two days of physical abuse that “grossly disrespected the victim’s human dignity.”

    Yamamoto immediately appealed the ruling.

    Rest of the article at



    The Japan Times, Thursday, June 4, 2009
    Ozeki Kaio says harsh treatment is integral
    The Associated Press

    Sumo veteran Kaio said Tuesday that harsh treatment of wrestlers in training is an integral part of Japan’s ancient sport and is partially responsible for his own success.

    Japan’s ancient sport has been rocked by several recent scandals, including one in which a trainer was sentenced to six years in prison for his role in the fatal beating of a young wrestler during training.

    Rest of the article at


    One Response to “Follow-up: Sumo Stablemaster gets his for Tokitaizan hazing death”

    1. Jeffrey Says:

      I think Kaio makes a point about how such hazing has been present in the sumo world (and other areas of Japanese society as well) for centuries. I can remember a news report done on Takanohana during his first year as a stable master and he gladly showed the cameras how he used a shinai (wooden kendo sword) to beat his disciples on the head whenever they made mistakes. Other sumo documentaries in the past have also showed how frequent and violent such beatings are. It’s been accepted for years that stable masters and elder rikishi have the right to “toughen up” younger wrestlers, whether it be to blow off steam or actually teach them a leasson. I wonder how many young wrestlers have died from beatings in the past but had their deaths covered up by the police and Sumo Association.

      Everyone’s only shocked by this event now because a father decided to see this stable master put behind bars. Just remember that when you see all of the present and former wrestlers on TV. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that most of them openly supported and cooperated in this system of hazing until the dead boy became top news in the media.

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