More Odd News from the World of Sumo Wrestling

One of the few international topics covered in the original Freakonomics was the chapter describing how sumo wrestlers collude to throw matches. Over the years, the sport has provided plenty of odd fodder for the blog. By that measure, the latest bizarre scandal that's shaking the sumo world does not disappoint.

On Oct. 29, news broke that a top "sumo elder" was under investigation for abusing former apprentices. Details from The Japan Times:

Japan Sumo Association chief Hanaregoma has launched an investigation into allegations by a weekly magazine that sumo elder Naruto once beat a former apprentice with a block of wood and injected Czech-born wrestler Takanoyama with insulin in an attempt to increase his appetite so he could bulk up.

The article claims Naruto beat the apprentice wrestler with a block of wood if the taste of the protein-loaded "chankonabe" hot pot was not to his satisfaction. It also said he hit former sekiwake Wakanosato over the head with a shovel and injected Takanoyama with insulin to increase his appetite during the year before last, when he was in the third-tier makushita division.

Sumo: More of the Same

I can't say that I am surprised by the latest sumo headline from the Associated Press.

Can iPads Help Stop Sumo Corruption?

The Japan Sumo Association is handing out free iPads to training stables to encourage the use of email. The hope is that the devices will speed up communication between wrestlers, coaches and the association and create a "paper trail" for future scandal investigations.

The Bloom Is So Off the Sumo Rose

Sumo wrestling controversy continues. NPR reports that 15 wrestlers and 14 stable masters are accused of gambling on baseball games, which is seen as "not in keeping with stringent ethical standards sumo wrestlers are expected to observe."

Mobsters at a Sumo Match

Signaling at sumo.

Apparently I've Ruined Economics (Again)

A few years back, the New Republic accused me of ruining economics.

Now The Economist magazine, in a much more subtle way, makes the same implication. Here's the second sentence of an article entitled “What Went Wrong With Economics”:

More Trouble for Sumo Wrestling

If you thought the cheating in sumo was bad enough, now they are talking about murder charges.

Will Tennis Players Make Sumo Wrestlers Look Like Schoolgirls?

Back in August, we blogged about allegations of match rigging at Wimbledon. According to a new report by SI.com, that may have been only the tip of the iceberg; now, 150 matches are being investigated by tennis officials. My hunch, having seen no data and only read this article, is that the number of rigged […]

The FREAK-est Links

Smirnoff owner contemplates buying Absolut. (Earlier) Average U.S. household now spends $1,200 a year on consumer electronics. (Earlier) BMA lobbies for “presumed consent” rule on organ donation. (Earlier) Woman leaps into Japanese sumo ring, causes panic. (Earlier)

Those Damn Mongolians Are at It Again

When Mark Duggan and I wrote our statistical analysis of match rigging in sumo wrestling (which also was featured in Freakonomics), I spent a lot of time digging through translations of Japanese media reports of suspected past match rigging incidents. Almost every prior accusation of match rigging had a common theme: it was always a […]