Stablemaster adds fuel to sumo fire

Sumo grand champion Harumafuji’s stablemaster has come under criticism for expressing displeasure at the questions anchorman Yuta Tomikawa asked the yokozuna during a testy news conference on Nov. 29 in which he announced his retirement.

Harumafuji retired from sumo to take responsibility for an assault on wrestler Takanoiwa in the city of Tottori on Oct. 25. During the news conference, the wrestler discussed the incident and also recalled several fond memories of his time in Kyushu.

However, the news conference turned prickly when the “Hodo Station” anchorman began asking a few questions.

“How do you feel about deciding to announce your retirement in a city you associate with great memories?” Tomikawa asked.

“It is not like we decided,” stablemaster Isegahama replied. “It happened.”

“When did you finally decide to retire?” Tomikawa asked.

“We explained this earlier and, yes, we decided when the sumo matches were being held here in Kyushu,” Isegahama replied. “Don’t ask the same questions. Any questions from anyone apart from him?”

“Do you have any desire to work in sumo in future?” Tomikawa asked. “If so, how?”

“It’s alright,” Isegahama then told Harumafuji. “We don’t have to answer his questions anymore.”

The exchange fueled plenty of debate.

“Viking” anchorman Shinobu Sakagami criticized Isegahama during his Fuji TV show on Nov. 30. “It was a news conference to announce Harumafuji’s retirement,” Sakagami said. “He was also apologizing to a junior wrestler, so I’m wondering how Isegahama could act like that.”

Guest Chiaki Horan agreed. “It’s understandable that Isegahama wants to protect his apprentice,” Horan said, “but he shouldn’t have acted in the way that he did.”

Twitter also laid into the stablemaster.

“His attitude was appalling,” @yukia0906 wrote. “Who does he think he is?”

“The thing that annoyed me the most watching the news conference was Isegahama’s attitude,” @higetalow wrote.

It seems Isegahama — not Harumafuji — appears to be bearing the brunt of anger over the incident.


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