The Japan Sumo Association has reportedly informed the sports ministry of the circumstances under which former yokozuna Takanohana visited the office of a former patron with a “gangster-like man.”

The visit in question was recently reported in weekly magazines.

In responding to a request by the Competitive Sports Division of the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry for a clarification of these reports, the association flatly denied the existence of any relationship between Takanohana and the man.

It admitted, however, that the 30-year-old former grand champion had visited the office, the sources said.

On Wednesday, the association sought an explanation over the incident from both Takanohana and his father, stable master Futagoyama.

The association was told that Takanohana has no connections with the man and that the reports are groundless.

Japan Sumo Association Chairman Kitanoumi said Sunday, “It is a matter of personal concern, and we cannot very well issue a warning since it is groundless. I only want him to be discreet in his judgment at every turn.”

One magazine headline read: “Takanohana storms into ex-patron’s office with gangster — immediately before retirement ceremony.”

On Sunday, Takanohana had his topknot removed at an official retirement ceremony at Ryogoku Kokugikan, with a select group of 50 supporters and patrons in attendance.

An event of this kind is usually attended by 300 to 400 well-wishers.

The ceremony signified the end of Takanohana’s career.

The 22-time Emperor’s Cup winner called it quits in January after an unsuccessful bid to recover from a nagging knee injury.

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