Saturday, January 26, 2008


Sumo: the sad case of Tokitaizan

Warning, the attached newspaper article contains a lot of violence and does not make cheery reading. My comment at the bottom.


NAGOYA--The Aichi prefectural police have decided to arrest the former stablemaster Tokitsukaze and three sumo wrestlers by early next month, after concluding that their beatings and assaults over two days on a 17-year-old junior wrestler led to his death in June, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.

Tokitsukaze stable wrestler Tokitaizan, whose real name was Takashi Saito, died after collapsing following a training session on June 26 in Inuyama, Aichi Prefecture.

The former stablemaster's real name is Junichi Yamamoto.

Initially, the Inuyama Police Station determined his death was caused by disease. However, after Saito's parents requested that an autopsy be conducted, it was learned that his death was caused by traumatic shock as a consequence of multiple external wounds. The prefectural police are investigating the case on suspicion that his death was caused by the beatings.

The ensuing police investigation revealed that the assaults on Saito began early in the afternoon of June 25. Besides the three senior wrestlers, the police will soon consult with prosecutors about sending papers on four or five other wrestlers who joined in the beatings.

During dinner on June 25, Saito was believed to have been struck on his forehead with a beer bottle by the former stablemaster at the stable house in Inuyama. This was believed to have been followed by an apparent group hazing by senior wrestlers who severely beat Saito. Saito died after training the following day.

Saito, who was fed up with his severe training regimen, tried to flee the stable house on the morning of June 25. But he was caught by senior wrestlers at a convenience store about 700 meters away in Inu-yama.

Saito was taken back to the stable house and was apparently assaulted until dinnertime.

On June 26, during a training session incorporating butsukarigeiko, in which a wrestler pushes an inert counterpart across the sumo ring and is then thrown to the ground, some senior wrestlers beat Saito with metal baseball bats.

However, the prefectural police decided to establish their case as one based upon a series of assaults, due to the difficulty of proving precisely which action constituted the fatal blow.

The former stablemaster ordered Saito to sit in a kneeling position during the dinner on June 25 and beat the young wrestler with a beer bottle on the forehead while scolding him, then allegedly instructed the senior wrestlers to perpetrate further violence. Several senior wrestlers have told investigators they acted on the stablemaster's instruction.

Therefore, the prefectural police judged it possible to establish the case as one of inflicting bodily injuries resulting in death.

Meanwhile, Nagoya University, which has been examining tissue from Saito's body, detected a high level of potassium in the junior wrestler's blood--indications that are consistent with a body being severely bruised--to a degree that would lead to cardiac arrest.

Ex-stablemaster to be arrested over death
The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 26, 2008



Compare the date of the article to the date of the wrestler's death.

If the stablemaster hasn't made it over to Korea and had plastic surgery by now, then he certainly should have.

Nice of the police to give him a heads-up about his impending arrest in the nationals. Gives him a chance to clear his schedule and that sort of thing.


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"But he was caught by senior wrestlers at a convenience store about 700 meters away in Inu-yama"

i know its a sterotype but if your gonna look anywhere for a sumo, then a food store is probably the best bet

hope your aok
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