Atsuko Fujimoto
Retired Japanese teacher, 77

It has been said that match-fixing in sumo has been around since the Edo Period, so this is nothing new. What is new is that they got busted due to the high-tech means of mobile-phone text messages — in the old days there was no proof, so I find that ironic!

Tony Silva, 50, and Allison Kitzman, 45
English lecturers (American)
Tony: I’m not sure if sumo is relevant these days. Other than the hardcore fans, most people don’t seem to care. Allison: Well, I care, and I think it’s an overreaction by the sumo bigwigs. It just hurts the people who love sumo. I’ve never been yet myself but this was my year to go, so I’m very disappointed!

Patrice Pellet
Language school director, 39 (French)
I want to ask the JSA (Japan Sumo Association) why they decided to cancel the Osaka basho. What benefit is there in doing that? They should just ban the offending wrestlers instead of punishing the fans and Osaka’s economy. Imagine how English football fans would react if their matches were canceled!

Aya Kawabe
Student, 22 (Japanese)
Sumo is the traditional national sport, so wrestlers should have more pride and be clean, but the sumo world just cares about making money. Besides the loss to Osaka’s economy, both the wrestlers’ incomes and JSA revenues will decrease, so the sumo world is killing its own business with such shady dealings.

Jeff Smith
English lecturer, 39 (American)
Sumo has reached a turning point. If it has fixed matches like pro wrestling, they should call it what it is: entertainment drama. But sumo has Shinto aspects to it, so if they keep this sanctimonious attitude, then it should be kept pure. Otherwise it should become just another sport, devoid of religion like other sports.

Masaru Masuda
Ship’s captain, 68 (Japanese)
Japanese sumo wrestlers are not as good as foreign wrestlers these days because they lack the “hunger spirit,” so I’ve lost interest in sumo lately. The canceling of the Osaka basho is a big blow to our local economy, and I wonder if they would have canceled a Tokyo tournament in the same way.

Living outside Tokyo and interested in gathering views in your neighborhood? E-mail community@japantimes.co.jp

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