Terunofuji not only fell out of the paid divisions, after a series of injuries and illnesses, but plummeted all the way down to sumo’s second lowest tier.
For John Gunning's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Many of those who have transgressed against the JSA’s myriad rules (whether official or unwritten) in the past have found themselves out of the sport in short order.
Less than a third of the way through 15 days of action at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan there are talking points aplenty.
It’s hard to know just what kind of physical or mental condition rikishi will be in when things kick off at Ryogoku Kokugikan on July 19.
Few insiders had expected sumo’s governing body to allow the public back in so soon.
It’s looking increasingly likely that it could be December (or even 2021) before Isegahama will be able to don the red rope.
In a sport where bouts are over in a matter of seconds, any kind of doubt or hesitation inevitably leads to a loss.
The JSA would be wise to start taking advantage of its "back catalog" and making footage of bouts and tournaments of the past available online.
Putting a sport in front of the eyeballs of the younger generation guarantees much higher rates of engagement and participation at all levels.
Things won't be the same when sumo resumes amid the COVID-19 pandemic.