Miyagino Practice Fist-Fight

Photo Credit Nicola

Ishiura was involved in a fist fight with Makushita-ranked Hokaho. No, not Hakuho, though the big man himself stepped in to separate the two. Practice then ended abruptly and the incident was reported to the Crisis Committee. So, the scandal meter is reset to 1/4/2020, one week from the start of Hatsubasho.

Herouth’s got a thorough run-down of the events but in a nutshell, Ishiura took exception to Hokaho beating him. When he would lose to Hokaho, he’d lash out, with a kick or a punch. Since the incident has been reported, there will be an investigation into exactly how “hot-headed” Ishiura was and whether there is any need for punishment. That punishment could range from apologies and reprimand to potential suspension, likely hinging on how hard the blows were. Calls for retirement would be…a bit bizarre unless more back-story unfolds.

Keep in mind, this was practice where blows are supposed to be thrown…but not between bouts and fists and kicks are obviously a no-no. The location and reason would distinguish it from punches thrown as rebuke for chores done poorly but it will be interesting to see what standard is applied. Some, like Mitakeumi, are disparaged for low-intensity practice. The opposite end of the spectrum here, we have a practice that got out-of-hand.

For some insight about the practice intensity I’m talking about, there’s an interview of Steve Kerr a former teammate of Michael Jordan, where he reflects on a fist fight he had with Mike. Jordan is famous for a lot of things but one is the intensity that he brought to practice. Similarly, keiko is supposed to ready you for the real thing. So if you slack off there, how will you be ready when the harite is for a yusho?

Abi Instagram Scandal

Early this week, a video was posted to Abi’s Instagram feed showing Wakamotoharu bound by his wrists and legs, and gagged. The video was less than a minute long and showed Wakamotoharu escaping from the bonds to the sounds of off-camera laughter. Your humble editor saw the video half-asleep, thought, “Kids these days”, rolled over and went back to bed.

Followers of the Tachiai Twitter account and Herouth’s account likely saw a brief exchange about how the drama was playing out on Social Media. Some were even calling for intai as this would be a bullying scandal. I would presume bullying would require a victim…in which case it seems Wakamotoharu was a willing Houdini-like participant.

There has now been reprimands and apologies, so it went past embarrassing prank-dom and into micro-scandal. Let’s hope there are no more, but, alas, the calendar has been changed to reflect the date of the latest “scandal.”

Yobidashi Takuro Out

List of Yobidashi 10-26-2019

As Herouth reported yesterday, despite the Compliance Committee’s recommendation of a two tournament ban, Takuro insisted on resigning. He was the Tate-Yobidashi, or the highest ranking of the dohyo support crew. Thus ends the career of likely the most recognizable face among the sport’s yobidashi. The Sumo Kyokai website has removed his name and now Jiro (次郎) stands as the top one, rather than the next one. Click the link for the full list.

Takuro was accused and admitted to striking two subordinates. He struck the first for eating breakfast in the section of seating reserved for patrons, and then snapped at the other for not reprimanding the first. Herouth has a full write-up here.

Tate-Yobidashi Takuro Involved in Violent Incident

(From the “I-really-didn’t-want-to-write-one-of-these-posts-again-so-soon” department)

Takuro in his ultimate Jungyo visit to Hokkaido, where he was born.

The highest ranking yobidashi, Tate-yobidashi Takuro, has acted in violence towards two lower-ranking yobidashi during the Jungyo event which took place at Itoigawa, Niigata, on October 8th.

Early in the morning before the event started, he spotted a Jonidan yobidashi who was having his breakfast sitting in the customer seating area. He reprimanded him for that, and accompanied the reprimant with a punch to the head. He then turned to a Makushita yobidashi who was sitting nearby and reprimanded him, too: “You see your ototo-deshi doing this and you’re not disciplining him?”. This was accompanied by a slap to the Makushita yobidashi’s back.

Neither of the victims is injured. The Makushita yobidashi decided to discuss this with another employee, who then passed on the report, until it reached Kasugano oyakata, the Jungyo master (and Takuro’s heya master, as it happens). He called the men involved and verified the basic facts, and then reported to the Compliance Committee. At the same time (October 10th), he sent Takro back back to Tokyo, for a temporary home confinement.

Takuro has already apologized to the victims. On October 15th, he decided to hand in his resignation. The NSK at the moment is not accepting it, and awaits the investigation and conclusions of the Compliance Committee, before it decides whether to accept it or take some other disciplinary measures.

Tate-yobidashi Takuro is 63 years old, and was due to retire in February 2021 when he reached the mandatory retirement age.