Another Embarrassing Sumo Incident


Frankly, I did not want to report this story at all, as it’s a demonstration of stupidity. But now that it has gone global and is busy giving sumo yet another black eye, it’s unavoidable.

During the spring Jungyo tour’s stop in Maizuru, the mayor of the town was on the dohyo speaking and collapsed. Many people rushed to the dohyo to help, including medical professionals that were present to enjoy a day of sumo. They applied CPR and first aid techniques to sustain the mayor until he could be transported to the hospital. The Mayor is going to be ok, it seems. The quick work and skillful application of medicine saved the day. That’s the good part of the story. Now the stupid.

Several of the highly trained medical professionals were women. Did they care that the dohyo is supposed to be a sacred place were women were not allowed? Hell no! These were dedicated healers. A fellow human was in peril, and they were going to go save him. So far, only slightly stupid. Oh, but then one of the younger gyoji took to the PA system and directed the women to leave the dohyo. Not once, but several times. Of course, it was captured on video, of course it was posted to social media.

Sumo loves to be a sport of unchanging and unyielding tradition. As a westerner my perspective is not the Japanese perspective. As I mention at least once per basho, most of us in the west are outsiders to this land, this culture and this sport. But at some point, common sense had to have kicked in. Look here, Sumo Association of Japan, if you want to make sure no women doctors or nurses try to rescue the hurt and injured from your sacred space, you are going to need a set of medical folks who are on call.

Chairman Hakkaku rightfully apologized later, stating “It was an inappropriate response in a life-threatening situation,”. Damn straight Hakkaku. Furthermore, it was an unforced error and loss of face for a great sport that has been greatly degraded over the past year. For the chairman to try and pass this off on the inexperience of the young gyoji is inexcusable.

The only clear winners here are the mayor of Maizuru, who lived to see another sunrise, and Takanohana, who through a majestic stroke of luck is no longer the biggest asshole in sumo for a few days.

Again, I am an outsider, but I am going to guess that my favorite sport is going to suffer a well-deserved set back in the people’s hearts from this pointless insult.

Video at this link

Comments Closed


Comments for this post are now closed. Some great and thoughtful discussion from our highly-valued readers, but we were swerving into things like trans-gender issues that have nothing to do with sumo. Thank you for understanding.

Concerns For The Boss (Hakuho)

Hakuho (白鵬 翔) Back To Practice, Will Try To Make September Tournament

From the tweet cited below, Hakuho resumed practice today. I have mixed feelings and dread about this news. It has been clear from video that the Boss is still injured, and is under pressure from himself, the Sumo Association and his own commitment to Sumo to take a shot at the big tournament in Tokyo, now one week away.

Firstly, I am not a medical professional, but one could guess that Hakuho may have suffered a MCL (medial collateral ligament) injury during the Nagoya tournament; my guess is it happened day 9 when he fell against Ikioi, and compounded day 15 when Harumafuji lost his grip on the Boss just before Hakuho fell off the Dohyo. It’s clear he feels the knee is unstable, and he has trouble straightening it.

Hakuho is the greatest Yokozuna in history, and his commitment to his legions of fans is a testament to how much he loves his role in Sumo. Earlier in the week, a trial balloon of him sitting out the September tournament was blasted by the Summo Association, who urged him to play through the pain. Furthermore, the popularity of Sumo is once again on the rise in Japan, and he feels responsible to help ensure that the tournament is everything the fans are looking forward to, and most of Japan are eager to see Hakuho.

Sadly, with the Boss banged up, there is a real chance that the upcoming tournament may end his career. A further injury to that knee may be something that he cannot recover from.