Stablemaster admits gambling

Kyodo News

A sumo elder has admitted gambling on baseball, the Metropolitan Police Department said Thursday.

Stablemaster Otake made the admission during questioning by Tokyo police ahead of the publication of an article the same day by the weekly Shukan Shincho that mentions both him and top-division sumo wrestler Toyonoshima in connection with the gambling.

Toyonoshima, who had once held the third-highest rank of sekiwake, is referred to in the article by a former wrestler from the makuuchi division. Otake is former sekiwake Takatoriki.

An investigative team from the Japan Sumo Association questioned Otake and Toyonoshima later in the day over their alleged involvement in the illegal gambling, sumo officials said.

In a survey the association conducted on illegal gambling in sumo, 29 JSA members, including sumo elders, said they gambled on baseball games.

Kotomitsuki, an ozeki who confessed to betting on baseball, has been barred from the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament in July. He told police Wednesday that mobsters extorted about ¥3 million in hush money from him to cover up his gambling habit and had demanded another ¥100 million, which he did not pay.