COVID-19 at Michinoku Beya

On April 10th, the NSK announced that Wakamonogashira Fukunosato has tested positive for COVID-19.

A wakamonogashira is a position that mostly involves guiding young rikishi. For example, the people who explain to the new recruits what to do when they mount the dohyo during their presentation are wakamonogashira. They use their shikona for the job. Fukunosato’s real name is Fukuda Kunio.

Fukunosato had fever and felt fatigue, so he took an antigen test at a nearby clinic and was found positive.

The NSK announced that he was isolating at home and awaiting further instructions from the local health authority. They added that he was not in direct contact with the rikishi from the heya and that contact tracing is ongoing.

However, today, after the rikishi and staff at the heya were given PCR tests as a safety measure, another case turned up. This time it’s a rikishi, who is not a sekitori, and therefore his name is not published.

Shibatayama oyakata, the NSK’s spokesperson, says that there is a possibility there will be further cases, and that they are in the process of deciding how to proceed. For the moment, the rikishi is isolating at the heya.

With nearly a month until the start of Natsu basho, an outbreak at this stage will probably have no effect on basho participation. At Tachiai we hope, of course, that all involved recover fully and experience no long-term issues.

8 thoughts on “COVID-19 at Michinoku Beya

  1. I’d hoped the wakamonogashira would be a one-off. I guess the stable will be masking up, cleaning extra carefully and holding their breaths for the next few days with the second case confirmed. Thank you, Herouth!

  2. Oi… And given what I’m reading on NHK World about where Japan is in their vaccinations, they and us will be holding our breaths like this for quite some time yet 😕

    • The rikishi are scheduled to get their vaccinations in June, just before traveling to Nagoya. I have to say it sounds a bit optimistic to me, though.

      • And as you of course know, it takes weeks to get protection, with details dependent on the shot.

        • I am hoping the fact that the shots are tied to the NSK’s collaboration with Sumida city means they schedule both shots in June, which gives some immunity by the time they hit Nagoya. I’m also glad it’s Nagoya rather than Osaka.

          Japan is apparently doing Pfizer.

            • after a couple of weeks of the 1st dose of pfizer you already have a lot of protection (~70%)

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