Japan's Big Bad Boys
Yokota, Takashi, Newsweek
Byline: Takashi Yokota
In Japan, sumo wrestlers are supposed to be the (ample) embodiment of classical virtues such as discipline and honor. But these days the sport is governed by a dysfunctional, hidebound organization and constantly mired in disgrace. The latest blow to hit the fighters is a fixing scandal, uncovered earlier this month when police found text messages from more than a dozen wrestlers colluding with their oversize opponents to throw bouts for money. (One typical text, from a rikishi named Kiyoseumi: "Could you give me a win in the next tournament? If not, I want my 200,000 [yen] back." Rival wrestler: "Sure thing! Could you wait a little? I need to make a payment of 700,000 [yen] after this tournament, so let me get back to you after that.")
The wrestlers' unscrupulous behavior couldn't come at a worse time for sumo, which has been sullied by a string of controversies in the past few years. Since 2007, participants have been busted for smoking pot, engaging in illegal gambling, …
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Publication information: Article title: Japan's Big Bad Boys. Contributors: Yokota, Takashi - Author. Magazine title: Newsweek. Volume: 157. Issue: 08 Publication date: February 21, 2011. Page number: 5. © 2009 Newsweek, Inc. All rights reserved. Any reuse, distribution or alteration without express written permission of Newsweek is prohibited. For permission: www.newsweek.com. COPYRIGHT 2011 Gale Group.
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