Isegahama Bullying Incident Leads Oyakata to Resign from Board

It’s Two-Fer-One Tuesday, I mean Monday, here at Tachiai! The holidays have offered up a real backlog of scandals! We’re practically giving them away!

From Jalopnik

Andy, you’d make a terrible pitch man. Just say you don’t have a picture of Isegahama and get on with the news, buddy.

While the Ichinojo thing has actually been stewing for a few months and has found some resolution (for now), another revelation has taken us by surprise today. There’s been a bullying situation at Isegahama-beya involving three wrestlers from the lower-ranks.

We do not know the identities of the wrestlers officially, yet, but two wrestlers were apparently bullying a third. The bullying included the victim being physically punched and stomped, as well as burned with chanko. One of the bullies has been forced to retire while the other is suspended for two tournaments. Isegahama has resigned from his post on the Board of Directors.

This is certainly a sad situation which has cost at least one wrestler his career. Isegahama-beya has had several recent new recruits and a few banzuke-gai, so it’s certainly not clear at this point what impact it will have on the stable. Sadly, there will be more to come on this story.

13 thoughts on “Isegahama Bullying Incident Leads Oyakata to Resign from Board

  1. Ok as someone who isn’t S “in the know” as many of you wise people here. Dumb question.
    Isn’t this a big deal? Isn’t Asahifuji a big deal in sumo? And what does this mean for him? (And everyone)

    • Yes. Most definitely. Even though Shibatayama is the PR guy and Hakkaku is Chairman, it felt to me that Isegahama was COO and kind of “the face” of management. I think it’s huge. It’s terrible for him, personally. I mean he had three years left to retirement and he was an influential member of leadership. Depending on how far he gets demoted, it could be quite the change. Tokiwayama, for example, has been almost invisible since his demotion. I don’t think Isegahama’s will be near as harsh. I just wonder how much impact will be discernible to fans. There will still be six tournaments a year, the banzuke will still get published two weeks before each one, the same rules will apply, and Jungyo will ramp up. The biggest thing we’ll notice will be the tarnished legacy, though.

      I would like to learn more of the quiet impact, though. It would be great to be a fly on the wall to see whether he pushed for having 4 sekiwake, for example.

      • It’s terribly sad. And also rams home how little fans know about what’s going on. I admired Isegahama precisely because he fostered an environment where rikishi could flourish.

        • I mean, Takanohana also ran a stable with a bunch of ostensibly flourishing rikishi…we came to find out the hard way how that looked behind the scenes. Plenty of sportsmen in history have flourished in spite of the circumstances they were competing under, so I’d be wary of extrapolating from dohyo success to heya atmosphere.

          In any case, Isegahama should have known better than to not report the matter to the relevant committee immediately, regardless of his own exalted position in the Association. I’m pretty sure he’d have been handed the customary semi-voluntary “lack of supervision” pay cut for a few months anyway, but now he’s out of his board post and taking the pay cut as the result of his reduced status in the hierarchy.

          • Unless of course he was just ‘unlucky’ in this case that the news came to light. Who knows how often oyakata avoid punishment altogether by simply keeping quiet.

  2. Isegahama Is Teranofuji’s stable and his oyakata is one of the top people in Sumo so I would think this is a big deal. Asahifuji is not involved. However, he was suspended for one year for breaking Covid protocols while Ichinojo was suspended for one tournament. Ichinojo could/should use the time off to come back stronger like he did in 2022. So a relatively minor punishment for him.

    • I was thinking the same thing. Other than his surprise yusho, he’s been kind of “meh” for years. Not really pushing to be sanyaku caliber with the occasional big win. He goes kyujo for a tournament, and then is in the hunt for the yusho. I hope he does use this suspension to get things in order. He’s had a dreadful past few months on, and off, the dohyo.

    • Asahifuji is Isegahama, no Covid around in his active time. I feel sorry for him, he has had his fair share of success (Harumafuji, Terunofuji)) and trouble over time (Harumafuji). Such a shame that there is now bullying and violence in his successful stable. Hope his wrestlers‘ performance remains unaffecxted. Fingers crossed especially for Takarafuji who escaped demotion by the skin of his teeth.
      The one year suspension was Asanoyama, me thinks.

      • Yeah. Asanoyama’s was so harsh because he went to cabaret clubs, where the hostesses are basically there to be close to you, talking to you the whole time, and then he lied about it.

        • Asanoyama’s Ozeki rank also played a part in his year-long suspension, he failed to be a good example for his stable and Sumo in general being so highly ranked. I am hopeful he will have learned his lesson from this and regain his position at the top of the field as soon as possible.

  3. I’m wondering if things got out of hand in part because Aminishiki who was the main coach there has probably been busy setting up his own heya. Probably a good thing if Isegahama spends more time with his crew

  4. Bullying is a festering pox within Japanese society. I hope the bullies fester in the immature morally bankrupt stew they’ve created for themselves.


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