Shocking! Sumo wrestlers involved in violent brawls ...

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Shocking! Sumo wrestlers involved in violent brawls ...

Abuse scandals place Japan’s sumo wrestlers under the spotlight

Danielle Demetriou

Japan’s ancient world of sumo is investigating claims that two young wrestlers have been physically abused, the latest in a string of scandals to hit the national sport.
A sumo wrestler known as Takayoshitoshi allegedly hit a lower-ranking wrestler during a major spring championship event, according to the Japan Sumo Association.
Takayoshitoshi, 20, was accused of repeatedly striking the junior wrestler who was serving as an attendant when they were in the dressing room of a sumo arena during a tournament in Osaka.In a separate case, the father of a wrestler who has since left the sport claimed that his son was physically abused at least four times at the hands of a fellow sportsman between last September and January.
The reputation of the sport has been hit hard since last November, when the famed grand champion Harumafuji fell dramatically from grace after he was accused of hitting a junior wrestler with a beer bottle in an apparent bar brawl, leading to his resignation.
It was 11 years ago that the sumo world appeared to hit rock bottom when a 17-year-old novice wrestler was beaten to death, an incident that highlighted the sport’s strict hierarchical structure and the harsh conditions inside residential sumo stables.Since then, reforms within the mostly closed world of sumo were said to have improved, until the spotlight was once again cast on the challenges facing young wrestlers as a result of the Harumafuji incident last year.
In January, it was reported widely in Japanese media that Shikimori Inosuke, Japan’s most senior sumo referee, had apologised following allegations that he had sexually assaulted a teenage referee.
It is perhaps little surprise that Japan, home to one of the lowest rankings of gender equality among industrialised nations, has been slow to pick up on the #MeToo movement, in contrast to neighbouring South Korea.
– © The Daily Telegraph

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