Shikihide Stable Scarpering Scandal

Nine wrestlers from Shikihide Stable have left the heya, appealing to the Kyokai for help from moral harassment. The wrestlers left claiming that the stable’s okamisan had imposed and enforced unacceptably strict rules in the absence of Shikihide-oyakata due to an unspecified illness.

There are nineteen total wrestlers at Shikihide stable. The identities of the wrestlers involved have not been disclosed. The nature of Shikihide’s illness has not been disclosed, either, but he has been kyujo from tournaments this year. He usually manages the jungyo tours which have been cancelled due to the pandemic. Tachiai wishes him well and hopefully he will recover soon and hopefully some arrangement and solution can be found for the stable.

I would like to note the close timing with the friction between Nakagawa Oyakata and a group of wrestlers, Abi’s Cabaret Club visit with another unnamed wrestler, and Tagonoura oyakata’s own dinner out where he was caught intoxicated on social media. Apologies for the massive run-on sentence but there has been almost as much drama off the dohyo as on it.

Sadly, we may have lost Abi. If he’s out, surely one must wonder about the lower-ranked wrestler who went with him…and now almost half of Shikihide beya? The heya life has become exceedingly difficult under COVID restrictions. Wrestlers have been virtually cloistered for months. It is understandable and perhaps predictable that tensions are high and tempers have flared. I hope these little fires can be contained, perhaps by loosening of these restrictions on movement and social media before it’s too late.

Abi hands in intai documents

Japanese press reports that Abi has handed in his intai documents, according to Shikoroyama oyakata.

The board convenes on August 6th to discuss his punishment, and will also decide whether or not to accept his resignation. However, the chances of it not being accepted are said to be slim.

Winning In Sumo. “Simple” Sport?

OK. Please bear with me for a few paragraphs. I have been hesitant to write this up because this is strictly opinion and I hate writing strictly opinion because I can be (and often am) wrong about things (not just sumo related). Also, sometimes I have been known to beat a dead horse after the worms already got to it and turned it to dust. So if this discussion bores you, I’m not hurt by you ignoring me. But, as a sumo fan, I have come to understand that the sport is NOT as clear cut as, “Winner touches last.”

One good example of the hidden complexity of the sumo rules is clear after the Hattorizakura/Ishihara bout. Thanks to Jake, Leonid, and John Gunning explaining this…but like Leonid mentioned on Twitter, I like to see rules written down. There’s an NHK Sumopedia video explaining tsuridashi. But what is the rule? Tsuridashi, according to the Sumo Kyokai website, does not mention that a wrestler is allowed to walk out.

A bout is won by forcing the opponent out of the inner circle or throwing him in the dohyo. To lose the match, it is not necessary to fall in the circle or to be pushed completely out. The rikishi who touches the ground with any part of his body, his knee or even the tip of his finger or his top-knot, loses the match. Or he need only put one toe or his heel over the straw bales marking the circle.

“The Sumo” pg 3 by NSK

Unfortunately, Sumo Kyokai documentation is not quite as clear to explain. The text above is from the English-language pamphlet on the website. USAsumo also claims that the rules “in both pro and international sumo” are “very simple”. “Either force your opponent out of the 15-foot diameter “dohyo” (sumo ring) or make your opponent touch the ground with any part of the body other than the soles of the feet.” Takakeisho did this last night to Enho. Enho did NOT do this to Takakeisho.

In a strict interpretation of the English as I’m still trying to find the Japanese, in neither case does it say, “when”. If my opponent forces me out but I land last, perhaps because I fell a farther distance (as in over the side of the dohyo), he still forced me out. In the case of Enho, the decisive move was the force applied by Takakeisho which resulted in Enho falling back and out. Enho’s mawashi touch (which connected) and the attempted trip (which missed completely) had nothing to do with Takakeisho’s trajectory out of the ring.

Anyway, we also see instances of wrestlers leaping beyond the plane of the dohyo or cases like last night’s Enho bout. Whether it be the “dead body rule” or another rule for these certain special occasions, it is clear that what should be simple, isn’t. But it can still be logical and does not have to be at the whim of whomever is enforcing the rule at the moment. I find this a favorable interpretation because (to me) it is just. But I could be wrong and when I am, I like to be skewered with indisputable evidence. Thank you for sticking with my train of thought and making it this far. :) Feel free to skewer me in the comments.

Let’s Meet Chiganoura Beya


Over on Twitter, Chiganoura-oyakata, pictured here in his traveling salesman days, had the brilliant idea to introduce all of his deshi and the staff of his stable. OK, let’s get going, we don’t want to keep him waiting any longer. Chop, chop!

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