Yokozuna Harumafuji To Announce Retirement


It has been reported in the Japanese press that embattled Yokozuna Harumafuji will hold a press conference Wednesday, and it is assumed that he will be announcing his intention to retire from sumo. While his fans all hoped that he would find a way to weather the controversy around his drunken beating of Takanoiwa, it was clear following yesterdays meeting of the YDC that he was not going to be given any quarter.

Should he retire, as is now expected, it will resolve the Sumo Kyokai’s involvement in the matter. His intai represents a significant loss for the sumo world, as Yokozuna are rare, and Harumafuji has been willing to do whatever it takes to support sumo and uphold his rank on the dohyo.

Check back with Tachiai, as we will bring you further details as they develop.

41 thoughts on “Yokozuna Harumafuji To Announce Retirement

  1. I’m going to miss seeing that nearly go-for-bloke, reckless style of Harumafuji! What an awful, terrible string of short events that led to his ouster. Yes, it was his undoing — but he show utmost respect in leaving the Yokozuna rank before being giving the ol’-heave-ho — and you got to give him his dues on that! He came in as man and left as a man! I truly, truly, truly like this guy — and we won’t see another carbon copy like this, for sometime, my guess.

    I wonder what the Sumo association big-heads are going do next? How is Hakuho going to respond? Has Kisenosato said anything, yet? Kakuryū seems — quiet. And Takanoiwa — well, what will his next move be, me wonder? Bruce mentioned above that, as a possibility, that Takanoiwa may retired because of the pressure he’s going to be subjected to — and yes, he DEFINITELY will!

    You know, this is a REAL mess! Like you lot, I love Sumo, I really do — I’m going to keep my eyes and ears open for the next big headlines that are coming this way. You can bet your favorite keshō-mawashi that this isn’t over folks! More drama is COMING.

    • Rikishi are not likely to make any public statements about it. In fact, only Hakuho dares to make statements, as he seems to have his stablemaster’s consent, and his statements are borderline “bad behavior” as seen by the YDC and the conservatives of the NSK. Why would Kisenosato put his head into the lion’s mouth? He must be really happy that he was way off in his bed the night the three other Yokozuna were rampaging through Tottori. Why should Kakuryu speak? Doesn’t he have enough troubles?

      But yes, the issue is not over here. First, the police investigation is not over, and that remote control, though hardly a dangerous weapon like a beer bottle, makes things more complicated. If Harumafuji faces charges, even if he ends just with a fine, it’s still a permanent criminal record, with implications to his ability to stay in Japan or return to it in the future should he leave.

      Then there’s the whole Takanoiwa issue. And the implications to Isegahama oyakata (who is to be demoted for sure, but I don’t know whether or not he will still be able to lead his Ichimon). And there are going to be a lot of racism against Mongolians being covered in pretty words (or not – if an oyakata can bring himself to say “Mongols are ‘dame'”, then apparently racism is not even something to be ashamed of).

      This scandal is going to have repercussions in all sorts of directions. From little things like Satonofuji probably going intai as soon as a new yumitori performer is appointed, through big things like political upheavals in the NSK and the continued public shaming of Harumafuji.

      • You make some valid points, Herouth, but coming from my very Western perspective, it would be interesting to hear some commentary from high profile sumotori like Hakuho, Kisenosato, Kakuryu, etc. But perhaps stirring-up the drama anymore than it has already, is not in everyone’s best interest. We’ll see.

        If Haramafuji is found guilty of assault then I do hope he’s able find a good lawyer. I don’t mean to sound cruel, but he has take full accountability for this. Hopefully, but I kind of doubt it, that justice will be served in a satisfactory way for all involved.

        In all of my 15 years of watching Sumo — This shocking, surprising circus of a event is kind of surreal in way. Stupid stuff like this hurts the sport and we don’t need anymore off-the-wall shenanigans to cloud it even further.

  2. The immediate shaming of Harumafuji was startling. In the space of a few minutes on NHK he went from “Yokozuna Harumafuji” to “Disgraced Yokozuna Harumafuji”. All of his good works, his charity, his public programs broomed aside, just like that.

    I do hope he has a good lawyer already, and that whatever happens there is a deal to make this whole thing go away without further drama. Cutting the NSK out of the picture through his resignation goes a long way towards turning this down closer to where it should be. But there is talk that this was a political situation to begin with, and the powers that be may not be done riding this “horse” (sorry) yet. I hope he goes on leave somewhere nice for a couple of months until the authorities actually need him. Like maybe some of the resorts in Okinawa or something. The guys deserves some time off with his kids.

  3. Has there been any discussion of CTE and Sumo. It has been widely reported that CTE and violent behavior has been associated in American football players. Shouldn’t head to head contact (at least) be banned. I think much injury could be prevented simply by having the dohyo extend out or padding be placed so that the terrible falls we see could be prevented.

  4. I was thinking if alcohol could take the blame for the Haru “incident”, violence might be minimized as a problem. Reading here, it became very obvious that things were not at all that simple. It still feels like a death in the family.


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