Not even sumo wrestling is free from controversy. A few years back, a number of sumo wrestlers and trainers – 25 in all – were fired over accusations of match-fixing and other charges, such as gambling, drugs, assault, and gang crime.
Now that the sport is coming back, Japan Sumo Association chairman Hanaregoma stated that sumo wrestlers will not be able to play golf during the tournament, and they must adhere to strict traffic laws. While the former is most likely due to a serious traffic accident a few years ago, the former is most likely due to sumo wrestler Asashoryu, who was once caught “break(ing) every rule in the book,” such as playing soccer when he was supposed to be injured, “swanning around” in Hawaiian shirts, and….brawling naked in communal bathrooms. He was eventually forced out of sumo wrestling after getting into a fight outside a Tokyo nightclub in 2010.
The new strict rules will be enforced (presumably) up until July 24, when the Nagoya tournament ends. In the meantime, the wrestlers will not be allowed to use their phones between July 10 and July 24, mostly due in part to the aforementioned discovery of match-fixing and more via text messages.
The favorite to win the 19th Emperor’s Cup in Nagoya this year is Hakuho, who is known as the Mongolian “yokozuna,” or grand champion. The sport’s chance of losing its tax breaks, which it has enjoyed for a very long time, might still be at risk if the sport doesn’t “clean up its act.”
So much for nude bathhouse wrestling.