Sumo wrestler pulls out of Spring Grand Sumo Tournament after admitting to beating junior grappler


A jūryō division wrestler pulled out of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament on Monday, a day after it was learned that he assaulted a lower-ranked wrestler in the traditional sport’s latest scandal.

Takayoshitoshi, a 20-year-old wrestler in the second-tier division and member of the Takanohana stable, admitted to beating the junior wrestler, who was serving as his attendant, on several occassions, according to the Japan Sumo Association.

The incident follows a high-profile assault scandal last year that led to the retirement of yokozuna Harumafuji.

Sumo elder Kasugano, the JSA’s communications director, said Takayoshitoshi struck the attendant Sunday in a dressing room at Edion Arena. Takayoshitoshi, whose real name is Tsuyoshi Kamiyama, reportedly lost his temper because the attendant was late in notifying him of the timing of his match.

“Whatever the reason, use of violence is unacceptable. I cannot allow him to stand in the sumo ring,” Takanohana told reporters at his stable’s lodging in Kyoto.

The stablemaster reported on Takayoshitoshi’s violence and apologized for his conduct at an extraordinary JSA board meeting at the arena, Kasugano said.

The association will decide on any punitive measures for Takayoshitoshi and Takanohana at a meeting of the board of directors on March 29.

The sumo world has been racked by scandals in recent months, most notably the October assault involving Harumafuji, who was found to have inflicted serious head injuries to wrestler Takanoiwa, another Takanohana stable member, at a drinking session during a regional tour in Tottori Prefecture in October.

Takanohana, who was in charge of regional tours as a member of the JSA’s board of directors, has been at odds with the sumo body over the handling of the incident. The stablemaster lost his board position as punishment, ostensibly for failing to report the assault promptly to the association despite reporting it to the police first.

“I have taught my wrestlers strictly that violence is a definite evil, but this incident happened,” Takanohana, who is also a former yokozuna, told reporters. “I am surprised because (Takayoshitoshi) is a wrestler who makes steady efforts in training.”

Takayoshitoshi, who was fighting in his first grand tournament in the second-tier division, and his brother, Takagenji, have drawn attention for becoming the first twins to enter sumo’s top two divisions.

At its Monday meeting the JSA also approved the withdrawal from the spring tournament of a wrestler from the Minezaki stable following the discovery that he assaulted a lower-ranked wrestler at least four times from September to January.