Asashoryu leaves home to receive treatment for depression

Kyodo News

Mongolian grand champion Asashoryu left his home Wednesday night for the first time since he was suspended from the next two grand sumo tournaments on Aug. 1.

The yokozuna, recently diagnosed with dissociative disorder, went to receive treatment from doctor Shuichiro Takagi in accommodation facilities, according to his stable elder Takasago.

“I think Asashoryu has finally made up his mind to go for treatment,” Takasago said. “Breaking out of the current situation will be a step forward for him.

“To receive treatment is the first thing he needs to do. Only if he doesn’t get better and going to Mongolia is the best option for his recovery, then we may have to consider it, but I’m not the one to make a decision on whether he will return to Mongolia.”

Asashoryu’s illness surfaced shortly after the JSA took punitive measures against him, which included barring him from the tournaments in September and November as well as a salary cut, for playing in a charity soccer match in Mongolia despite his injuries.

The punishment, unprecedented for a yokozuna, came after it emerged that Asashoryu had played in the soccer match after submitting a medical certificate to the JSA and obtaining permission to skip the regional training tour.

Asashoryu has since been diagnosed by doctors as suffering from a mild form of depression and a form of acute stress.

The 26-year-old came back from Mongolia on July 30.

JSA chief doctor Hiroyuki Yoshida said Takagi strongly recommends that Asashoryu be allowed to return to Mongolia to receive the best possible treatment since reporters would be all over him if he tried to seek treatment in Japan through hospital visits.