Naruto Beya Rikishi Abused by Stablemate

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Somebody, please set the “Days without a Sumo Scandal” sign back to zero.

According to several news sources, a case of abuse involving Naruto Beya has been filed with the NSK. The case, dating back to September 2018, involves several instances of an older Sandanme level rikishi using a judo chokehold on an underaged junior stablemate, to the point of losing consciousness. The reported cause for this abuse was the failure of the younger rikishi to perform his stable duties. there are also reports that this same young rikishi was struck with the corner of a smartphone.

For those of you familiar with the Naruto Beya, you will know that its Oyakata is the former Ozeki Kotooshu. Was informed of the situation by the victim on January 13th, and prevented the Sandanme rikishi from participating in the Hatsu Basho before informing the NSK of what had happened.

The NSK’s board of directors will be convening in a special meeting on February 8th to determine what punishment Naruto Oyakata and others involved will face. For more information please see the following link.

17 thoughts on “Naruto Beya Rikishi Abused by Stablemate

  1. Minor correction:

    The aggressor is 20 years old. The victim is a minor.

    The only Naruto beya Sandanme rikishi kyujo in Hatsu basho is Sumidagawa. This adds him to my bully list. I hope the fact that he ordered another junior rikishi to do the same thing to the victim will tilt the judgement in the direction of intai (as the “standard” set by the NSK is mere suspension for one basho).

    • I caught that one right as your comment went through. I hit publish then my brain went: “wait, 20 year old minor, that doesn’t add up.”

      Abuse is always terrible, but I think the fact that the victim experienced this so early into his career makes it that much worse. I hope this event doesn’t make him question his career choice, or deter anyone from entering the sport.

      • NHK says the victim expressed his wish to stay at Naruto beya and continue his sumo career. I hope he gets the environment to do so in peace.

  2. Ok, let’s get this right: The abuser is Sumidagawa. Apparently these incidents started in September and lasted until early January. The victim temporarily lost consciousness once, but no major injuries were incurred and no hospital visits were needed.

    The victim told the heya’s manager of the abuse right before the January basho. The manager told Naruto oyakata, who immediately confronted Sumidagawa. Sumidagawa confirmed his misdeeds, so Naruto made him go kyujo and prohibited him from leaving the heya. Naruto also immediately reported the incident to the relevant parties in the kyokai. The kyokai is investigating and will deliberate on possible further punishments at the next meeting.

    So, at this point it looks like yet another instance of intra-rikishi violence, but it appears there was no cover up, and the oyakata acted properly upon finding out about the abuse.

    • Thank you for your input, I have made alterations to the story above. My intent was not to besmirch Naruto Oyakata, just report on the information I had at the time.

      • It’s encouraging that Naruto-oyakata took all the right steps. I hope a swift action is taken to reinforce the point that this it’s not acceptable behavior by any rikishi, from established sekitori to young members in the lower division. God I hope this stops happening soon.

    • My wife says the abuse also included 恐喝, which, when she describes it, sounds like strong arm robbery. Taking stuff by force or threat of violence.

    • Thanks! What are your sources?

      I don’t like that all articles about this case use a picture of Kotooshu, which could be understood as the perpetuator picture…

  3. As Bakanofuji said, it seems as through the reporting procedures at Naruto-beya worked as intended (as least for the Oyakata). The report was passed up the chain as soon as it was found out. Of course, this had been going on since September and underscores that incidents of intra-rikishi violence are hard to detect without the rikishi involved coming forward.

  4. Glad to see Naruto-oyakata decided to be the anti-Takanohana here. I disagree with not going to the police, (I think it needs to be a both-and with the JSA and the police; if I commit a crime at work, the company and the cops need to know,) but that’s ultimately the victim’s call and as long as he made that decision freely…but I do wonder…

  5. Wow. Awful news. The Naruto Beya may take a hit in recruiting any new blood if the matter isn’t satisfactory dealt with. It is real sad that this happen. I would think that Naruto-oyakata (Kotooshu) would have had a good talk with his young charges before about following the rules that are set in stone about ANY KIND of bullying. The sport CAN’T keep taking this kind of bad publicity, especially from a relatively new heya that is trying to gain respect. What Sumidagawa did is inexcusable and he should be rightly punished…and maybe he should go intai and learn from this as a very important life experience. Every oyakata should be telling their sumotori: Think before you do!

    • The problem with Sumidagawa is that he did think before he did.

      The Takayoshitoshi/Takanofuji case was lack of self-control and egocentrism. So he beats a guy about and is done with it. This Sumidagawa thought up a method that would leave no mark. He also commanded a fellow rikishi to do the same thing. He enjoys seeing an inferior suffer, and he involves others in his own guilty acts to share the blame. This is no lack of self control, this is the bloody gestapo.

      I hope to hell they make him go intai. While I would prefer every bully to be dismissed, this case seems very toxic.

      • That is an excellent point, and I completely agree. This is not impulsive, this is someone who likes to watch people get hurt and gets off on exerting power and control over others. May I suggest it’s time for a haircut followed closely by a vasectomy?

  6. I find it difficult to judge that incident based on the linked article. Holding someone in a choke is not the nicest thing to do, but It’s something we frequently used to do when I was a child to end a fight. Obviously never to the degree that someone got unconsious.
    The article speaks about 10 times over a span of 3 to 4 months, so 2 or 3 occurences a month. Maybe he is really such a bad guy as some write here or maybe it is vastly blown out of proportion.

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