Mobsters at a Sumo Match

More signs of corruption in sumo wrestling: two sumo coaches, Higonoumi and Dairyugawa,?are accused (and have been punished by the Japan Sumo Association) of providing ringside seats to mobsters. “Japanese media reported that gangsters sought the ringside tickets so that imprisoned members watching sumo on TV could see them,” reports the Associated Press. So what’s the signaling intention here? (HT: Alex)[%comments]


While sumo wrestling might be big enough to draw mobsters, you can be sure that Mixed Martial Arts and every other sport or contest also "plays games" to varying degrees.

I remember back in my Tae Kwon Do days, it often was the case that the hosting do jang seemed to carry away an abundance of the trophies.

I once saw a bow in a wheelchair "win" the forms competition. Now this is not to say that this brave young man should not be honored, but I don't imagine the Olympics would give a 400 pounder a medal "just for trying" to beat Usain Bolt.

Speaking of the Olympics, we already know that in those areas where there is subjectivity, we have problems. Boxing matches that are won on decision, ice skating, gymnastics--judges have a way of conveniently overlooking problems and magnifying what was successful.

And in those contests that have clear winners (foot races, horse races, etc.), we have no idea who has been paid or "talked to" about throwing a fight, or holding back, etc. Or, more often than ever, who has been doping.

Give me Little League...wait, even it's got parents who push coaches.

Naw, give me checkers.



Maybe its a way to introduce the New Man in charge.

Eric M. Jones

They sit up front so their friends can see them...?


I don't see where the inherent illegality is, it shouldn't be a crime to want front row seats and be able to pay a premium for that, or purchase them as early as possible. If people involved can buy early tickets for their friends, why is this all of a sudden a crime just because one of the parties is a mobster? If they can reserve a table at a restaurant before hand why can't they reserve choice seats at a game? Unless the guy saving seats knew they were doing it to communicate with inmates illegally and didn't tell anyone it shouldn't really be illegal, even if they were trying to curry favors it shouldn't be, unless the favors are illegal. I see seats reserved for important guests at all sorts of events.


So, all of those martial arts movie have a ring of truth to them, after all, eh?


It's actually for the Yakuza members to show the loyalty to the boss in prison. I found it kind of sweet.

Lynn Matsuoka

I am an American reportage artist focusing on the world of Sumo, a T.V. Sumo color commentator & writer who has been working with Sumo in Japan for 37 years. Neither Japanese nor foreigners really understand this insular, cloistered world living by feudalistic codes and until now pretty much by their own closed societal mores. AND have been allowed to do so for hundreds of years. The Japan Sumo Association is not equipped to handle such personal invasion from the outside. I am afraid that hasty and unwise decisions will be made that undermine a sensitive structure that we all should cherish and support, with a minimum of destructive, personal judgment.The public does not have the intel to judge this world.

This is regarded as Japan's National Sport and as such lives by TRADITION. Not 100% of any tradition makes sense in this modern world, but if we want our traditions to last against all odds, we have to protect them.YES I draw the line at physical abuse (unfortunately prevalent & widely accepted in Japan) and further, murder. Some outside,intelligent and trusted entity is needed as personal mentor, what Japan's Ministry of Education is supposed to have been doing. But assigning "outside" panels to adjudicate these problems is a terrible idea as I truly doubt that there are more than a few "outside" people who really understand how this situation has existed and why. AND, what would be the fairest way to handle change. Knowing what I do about the inner sanctum of Sumo I believe that the Sumo rikishi ( wrestlers) are collateral damage to a very different problem. Habits have been learned at the elders' knee. If they want change, then new policies should be implemented, and all given amnesty and education in the new policies, without discarding the men who are Sumo.