Kyushu Basho Drunk Driving Scandal

On 11/11, Otake Oyakata pulled himself out of his basho duties to tend to the suspected drunk driving of one of his deshi after he was involved in a car accident on 11/9 in Fukuoka. The deshi is not named in some articles but is listed as a Makushita wrestler. The only Makushita wrestler in Otake-beya is Shingaku, since Naya was demoted back to Sandanme 11 W after suffering his first makekoshi at the Aki tournament. Also, Shingaku is listed as having a fusen loss on Day 2 and is not listed on the torikumi for Day 4.

Rikishi are banned from driving cars so one must assume severe punishment, possibly forced retirement, will be forthcoming. Osunaarashi was recently forced into retirement after his own car crash scandal, though that case did not involve alcohol. His retirement was likely due to his changing story after first claiming his wife had been driving.

9 thoughts on “Kyushu Basho Drunk Driving Scandal


  1. And stunts like that are WHY rikshi are banned from driving… (I do understand the ban for foreign rikshi, but if I was born in Japan and driving, having to give that up would drive me nuts.)


    • They give up much of their freedom when they join a heya. They are not allowed to wear what they want or do their hair the way they want. They can’t live where they want and can’t marry unless they are sekitori (and that, usually, only with the approval of the stablemaster and support club).

      By the way, Otake oyakata said that Shingaku didn’t tell him he had a driver’s license when he joined the heya. “If he had, I would have confiscated it”. Which is why he didn’t, of course…


      • So if a rikshi already has a license, he has to give it up and just get an ID card. (I presume the adults have to have at least that?) But what if a rikshi is already married when he joins a stable? Some of these guys join during/after college, IIRC. Does getting married beforehand bar one from professional sumo?


        • Not sure about ID card laws in Japan (Here in Israel you get an ID card a year before being allowed to drive, so you usually have both). As for being married – I’m pretty sure the wife would object to the husband going into a profession where he is not paid, and doesn’t live at home.


  2. I tweeted about it the day before the basho – at that time they explicitly named Shingaku. Also, the fact that he lied to the police and the NSK both at first.

    It is this which will probably get him thrown out, I think.


    • I think the reason are accidents, both injuring themselves and others. The first one is bad as the rikishi will not be able to follow their duties and the second one is prone to bad publicity. They are just eliminating a risk (since many rikishi seem prone to drinking, it doesn’t sound like a stupid idea that much).
      And well … cars in Japan are rather small and rikishi are rather big … 😉

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