While John Gunning’s Inside Sumo column Jan. 3 was interesting, I truly wish he would address two issues that have seen the sport devolve into what it is today. Keeping the word hinkaku (dignity) in mind, the two things I would like to see the Japan Sumo Association address are henka (sidestep to avoid an attack) and harite (open hand strike).
Henka, while currently allowed, is not sumo, and was rarely a tactic used before Hakuho and Harumafuji. Where is the honor, the respect, the hinkaku? Harite should be limited to two slaps, and then move on to more traditional techniques. Currently, the majority of rikishi do the harite, and few do the yotsu-zumo (grabbing the belt) and similar techniques that most spectators expect and respect. Is this what Ozumo (big-league sumo) has devolved to?
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.