• Kyodo News


A one-time sumo wrestler-turned-con artist pleaded guilty Monday at the Tokyo District Court to posing as an architect and bilking women he had made marriage proposals to out of millions of yen.

Hisao Akimoto, 43, a former sumo wrestler who briefly belonged to the Kasugano sumo stable in the 1980s with the ring name Akimoto, allegedly swindled a combined ¥33 million from a woman and her mother in 2006 and from another woman last September.

Akimoto was arrested in February. The victims’ identities are being withheld at their request.

Prosecutors told the court that Akimoto’s scam was to pose as a first-class architect, a profession widely regarded as one of the country’s highest-paying jobs.

“The accused dated the women on the pretense of being a first-class architect, drove a foreign car and lived in a posh apartment,” the prosecutors said in the indictment.

Akimoto drove to dating spots in a rented limousine on several occasions and resided in an expensive apartment in the Shirogane district in Tokyo’s Minato Ward with a monthly rent of ¥400,000, according to an earlier police investigation.

Akimoto made marriage proposals to make it easier to get money from his marks, the prosecutors said.

“My architect’s office is short of funds to win a contract for refurbishing a hotel. So, would you lend me some money? Just a small amount?” Akimoto was quoted as saying in the indictment, as an example of one ploy he used. Akimoto entered sumo in 1984 after graduating from high school but dropped out the following year.

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