Update: Takagenji’s Role in Bullying Scandal

(photo courtesy Nicola @NicolaAnn08)

When the Aki Jungyo hits the road this weekend in Ishikawa, Takagenji will be a welcome part of it but his brother, Takanofuji (formerly Takayoshitoshi) will be left behind in Tokyo. Takagenji’s involvement in the scandal has so far been limited to allegations of instituting collective punishments, name-calling, and forcing one tsukebito to call himself stupid while recording it on cellphone video.

As he has yet to be accused directly of assault or more serious bullying, and expressed regret for his past misdeeds, he has escaped suspension. He stated that moving forward, he is not starting back from zero but “from minus.” He also distanced himself from his brother, stating that while they came from the same upbringing, they have different ways of thinking. When Takanofuji had his press conference, Takagenji stated that he tried to convince him to cancel, to no avail.

Takagenji will be demoted into Juryo after this latest tournament but should consider himself lucky as he sees his brother drummed out of the heya life, entirely. Since the scandal broke just before the tournament started, it surely impacted his performance so one hopes that he has learned his lesson, can redeem himself in the eyes of his stablemates, and can recover.

To summarize coverage on his twin brother, Takanofuji:

12 thoughts on “Update: Takagenji’s Role in Bullying Scandal

  1. This situation really leaves me baffled. How can a wrestler thwart the will of the oya-kata? I don’t understand this aspect of it at all.

    • When a lawyer got involved, I through all expectation out the window. Takanofuji has thrown it all away and doesn’t want to accept it.

    • The relationship between a rikishi and his stablemaster is mostly based on custom. It is customary to do whatever the oyakata tells you to do, in the same way that it’s customary that while you’re living under your parents’ roof, you’ll abide by their house rules.

      However, since the wrestler is not actually an employee of the heya, but rather the NSK, formally the wrestler does not have any sort of binding contract with the oyakata. The oyakata has some tools that he can use (like banning you from practice, or putting you under disciplinary kyujo), but that’s about the extent of it.

      • I see. I guess. But the oyakata must have the say in who they recruit, who will be under their roof. If it’s all up to the NSK (who pays the salaries?) then they’re not distributing/allocating rikishi equally (some heya have a few, others have large numbers). So I remain confused! But, thank you.

        • The oyakata recruits. Whoever he recruits, becomes the NSK’s employee, once he passes the medical exams which are given by the NSK. Also, in this case, the deshi were not recruited by Chiganoura but rather absorbed when Takanohana beya was closed down.

          • Thanks. My logic would then say that the recruiter would have the authority to dis-recruit (if that’s a word!). But I understand that this is a radical move by Takanofuji. (But I don’t believe he stands a chance of remaining in his current heya). Thank you, again.

            • Well, logic is not part of the equation. Anyway, think of it like this: your boss is the guy who interviewed and decided to recruit you. This is approved by the company. But when he wants to fire you, he can’t do that without going through a procedure, which in my country would involve a formal hearing together with HR. Your contract is with the company, not with said boss. If he doesn’t follow procedure, he is liable for litigation.

              In any case, there has been at least one case of a rikishi who sued the kyokai because his oyakata dismissed him against his will, Daitensho, and he won, if I understand the story as described in Sumoforum correctly.

              • Ah! Okay, that’s clearer to me. Thanks again (though moving from logic to intuition (or a roll of the dice), I wouldn’t worry about airing out his futon.

              • I wonder if our “at will” employment is different. If you’re “at will” here, pretty sure the boss can can you at any time.

  2. While I do think he should retire I also understand why he wants to go down fighting. He is a young wrestler at the top of juryo, close to reaching the highest devision and fullfilling the dream every rikishi has. I’m not surprised if he uses every tool available to somehow avoid “being retired”.

    • Yes. Key distinctions here are that Sokokurai had his oyakata’s support, his infraction was non-violent and he didn’t have “a record”. It could be a very drawn out affair…or it could be that he’s looking for a settlement.


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