Harumafuji Scandal Development


There has been another development in the Harumafuji scandal today. While speaking to the press, key witness Yokozuna Hakuho stated that there was a bottle involved in the incident, but it was not used in the assault on Takanoiwa.


Hakuho noted that Harumafuji had been holding a beer bottle before the altercation, but it slipped from his hand before Hakuho separated him from Takanoiwa. The Dai-Yokozuna also expressed his sorrow for not stepping in and breaking up the fight sooner, and apologized to sumo fans for the entire incident.

Former Yokozuna Asashoryu has also remarked on the incident and stated via his Twitter account that there was no bottle involved in the conflict.


Despite this claim, there has yet to be any proof that Asashoryu was present at the scene of the event on October 26th, and could be basing his opinion on second-hand knowledge.

This development raises the question of how Takanoiwa could have been seriously injured without the use of a weapon. Hakuho’s word is highly respected in the sumo world, but should evidence come forward that the night’s events were drastically different than how he described them he could find himself in hot water as well. Tachiai will continue to cover this story as it develops.

Link to the NHK article:

10 thoughts on “Harumafuji Scandal Development

  1. I don’t believe Asashoryu was anywhere near Tottori at the time. Even that tweet uses the keyword らしい – rashii – which means “apparently”. That is, this is hearsay.

    I wouldn’t give much weight to anything Asashoryu says at this point. He is on a storm of victim-blaming on Twitter right now. Perhaps some sort of verifiable fact can be fished from that storm occasionally, but any such fact will have to be verified elsewhere.

    Also, what Hakuho says is not that Harumafuji dropped the bottle before he hit Takanoiwa. He simply said that he had a bottle and dropped it before Hakuho went in to separate them. I’ll fish other newspapers to see if there is another version of Hakuho’s words floating around, as the current version paints a possible scene in which Haruma starts on Takanoiwa with his bare hands, then picks a bottle, it slips from his hand, and then Hakuho decides to intervene.

    • Nikkan Sports version is pretty much the same: “He did hold a beer bottle. It slipped from his hand. After that I intervened”. But there is another interesting detail: “There was no horse-riding” – 馬乗り – uma nori – meaning that Harumafuji was not on top of Takanoiwa. At least not straddling him.

      This is interesting because I was wondering how in a straddling position he managed to have hit Terunofuji, who was supposedly sitting or standing.

    • Thank you for the improved translation, as always you are the authority on the Japanese news. I’ve made some edits to reflect your translations.

  2. Takanoiwa would have saved police a lot of trouble if he had used his phone like a typical millennial and filmed the party and resulting fight, even from the ground. Video evidence is always helpful in clearing up hearsay.

    Though having seen some rikishi Instagram livestreams before, it probably would have been mostly closeups of half his face and wild camera panning.

    • According to Hiro Morita, the Kyokai has been giving seminars to rikishi on good behavior… So they probably all know not to leave around evidence of themselves getting barrelhouse drunk.

      • True, that’s what mouthy ex-yokozuna are for. :P

        Though hiding bad conduct is what got them into this pickle in the first place. No one likes a hypocrite.

  3. If a bottle wasn’t involved that will definitely change things for Haramafuji. Hakuho wouldn’t put his reputation on the line like this if he didn’t believe he was right. He has too much to lose otherwise. Now I’m wondering if the skull fracture occurred by Takanoiwa falling to the ground. That’s the only thing I can think of that can cause that type of injury. Also, if a bottle wasn’t involved, then his apperance in the Jungyo the next day makes more sense. What doesn’t is the doctor’s note about “lacerations” based on the video from the Jungyo.

    • My own suspicion is that there was a secondary incident we don’t know about. Go look at the original report we posted. I added a recent image of Takanoiwa there, and there are definitely lacerations. So what caused those? Maybe he lost his balance and hit his forehead on something? It could be as a result of the lingering issues from the attack, or it could have nothing to do with it, and the whole skull fracture was something that happened later, and merely caused investigation to start and the party incident to surface.

      • Ah, thank you! That does show them well. Takanoiwa losing his balance is possible. I’m assuming Haramafuji wasn’t the only one that was drunk at that party.

  4. https://polldaddy.com/js/rating/rating.jsFYI. Kinamayama has an update about the incident in the comments on his day 6 video. This is the title:
    Sumo -Kyushu Basho 2017 Day 6, November 17th -大相撲九州場所2017年 6日目
    This is the link:

    Here is the teaser:
    “The hospital where Takanoiwa was hospitalized was surprised to hear the seriousness of the understanding of their certificate. Additionally, the Kyokai is saying that the “2 weeks to heal” thing should be applied from October 26th till November 9th, so, for all intents and purposes, Takanoiwa should not have had any problems entering Kyushu. “We feel that there is no problem with Takanoiwa’s condition at the present.. The hospital has no idea why anyone thought this was serious..”said a committee member. A CT scan was done and a fracture line was found, but the hospital says it could have been there before and was not necessarily new and said they pointed it out on the certificate just to be on the safe side. As for the cerebrospinal fluid, the hospital says it could come from an outer ear inflammation but they have no way of being certain that it wasn’t caused by the blow so they wrote it as well. So in fact, there is no real proof that cerebrospinal fluid leaked at all from the blow.”
    And more. Worth a read.


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