Harumafuji escapes wrath of yokozuna council

Kyodo

The Japan Sumo Association’s Yokozuna Deliberation Council was largely sympathetic with the performance of yokozuna Harumafuji, who finished with a subpar 10-5 mark at the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament on Sunday.

It was the second consecutive tournament that Harumafuji posted just 10 wins — normally considered a dubious record for sumo’s top-ranking wrestler.

But chief Hitoshi Uchiyama said Monday that most of the council members are willing to take a wait-and-see approach until next year as Harumafuji has been plagued by injuries.

According to Uchiyama, many of the council members even praised Harumafuji for sticking it out to the end after his two early defeats in Tokyo. After the Nagoya basho in July, Uchiyama had hinted at the possibility that the yokozuna might be encouraged to retire if he didn’t improve in the following tournament.

“The other members of the council were also of the opinion that before encouragement (for retirement), we need to continue to watch over him for a little longer.”

Rival yokozuna Hakuho won his fourth consecutive title and 27th overall with an outstanding 14-1 mark.