Michinoku-Beya Violence Scandal Update

Tachiai needs to close the loop on the most recent scandal to hit the sumo world which forced me to resurrect the scandal counter. Regular readers will remember that just before the Natsu basho Yasunishi, a junior wrestler at Michinoku-Beya, went to the press in order to call out a stablemate (revealed as Kirinofuji) for bullying. The allegations included verbal and physical abuse. Yasunishi’s protestations were apparently met with a tepid response from Michinoku-oyakata thus the need to go to the press and force his hand, with apparent support of another stablemate.

Kirinofuji retired but that is not the end of the story. We found out today that the Kyokai investigated the way that Michinoku handled the situation and found fault with the way that he minimized or dismissed the allegations. Michinoku will be docked 20% of his salary for 3 months and lost his position as head of operations, though he retains a position on the board.

After repeated rules violations by deshi, Tokiwayama-oyakata and more recently Isegahama-oyakata, suffered harsh demotions. The lesson should be clear. Michinoku will need to watch his junior deshi a bit closer now and act proactively to tackle bullying and harassment in his stable.

12 thoughts on “Michinoku-Beya Violence Scandal Update

  1. It’s unfortunate that it’s taken this long and that it appears that it was the threat of lawyers to finally speed it up. I do find it ironic though that Shibatayama oyakata is taking over some of Michinoku oyakata’s duties

  2. Sure is strange to me that Isegahama oyakata was punished very severely and Michinoku walked away with a slap on the wrist in comparison.

  3. The NSK didn’t actually find fault in his handling of this case. They found fault with him being unable to prevent it despite having already being disciplined for a similar case in Natsu 2008.

    Also, the NSK punishment was only the docked salary. He resigned from the position of COO of his own volition.

    • I see “finding fault in his handling” and “being unable to prevent it” as two ways of saying the same thing. And whether they forced him out or he resigned, I see that as the outcome and part of the punishment… even if “self-inflicted”. That does make me wonder, did Isegahama resign his position? I’m fairly certain Tokiwayama’s demotion was done by the NSK, not a resignation.

      • Isegahama resigned, but he resigned as riji, not just as head of the shimpan department.

        As for the first part, there is a nuance there. They find he handled it properly – that he didn’t hide the complaint and got the perpetrator to retire. I think that’s just adjacent to the truth and not really true. But they approve of how he handled it. Prevention is a different thing. Prevention means Kirinoryu should never have acted in violence. One way to achieve that is, for example, offer alternative ways for senior deshi to discipline the less senior ones, and teaching them what they should react to with nonviolent punishment, and what with a helping hand. And I don’t think anybody in Michinoku knows a way to discipline anybody without beating them up, let alone trying to find why they are not doing well and trying to offer help.

    • I guess my point is that it being reported as resignation may not be of his own volition. There are probably accrued benefits which he gets to save if he “resigns”. If I get canned, I can lose my benefits. If I resign, I keep them. If my boss doesn’t like my work and says, GTFOOH, she can say, “you will resign” and I “resign”. To me, it means he’s not fighting the outcome, not that it was actually a voluntary decision.

      • I’m not aware of any such benefits in the Kyokai structure, at least monetarily. Everything is either tied to the specific hierarchy position or to length of service as oyakata (in any role). By staying riji Michinoku isn’t giving up anything except for the ordered pay cut.


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