I have loved sumo since I moved to Japan in 1964. I have gone to the stables for practice and to the Kokugikan for the matches. I have admired many wrestlers, but the standout gentleman of the sport — the uncommon man of guts and honor — is Takanohana.

He is the epitome of the sport: an honest athlete with heart, a person of impeccable honor, with a code of respect for the sport and for life. Takanohana is a modern-day samurai.

The Japan Sumo Association (JSA) has besmirched this grand champion. They have mistreated one of its icons, turning a blind eye to justice, fairness and equity which is at the hallmark of Japanese life. The JSA president has yet to personally reach out to Takanohana to discuss their differences. JSA board members should consider resigning and turning over the association to Takanohana, who loves the sport and has the courage to look at changes that will guarantee its healthy future.

Sumo has become an international sport. The world is watching and judging Japan by these recent actions. Takanohana has been victimized. One of his wrestlers was physically assaulted and as a result Takanohana has been mistreated and besmirched.

I spent a lifetime working for and serving on nonprofit boards and my experience has taught me that most nonprofit board members are more concerned about themselves than the organizations and institutions they are charged with governing. I doubt the JSA is any different.

Because of what has happened I will now boycott my participation in watching matches and following wrestlers on the web and to tell anyone who will listen to me in Japan and the world I travel of this debacle.

Let us all boycott sumo to pressure the JSA board until positive changes occur.


The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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