With a reputation for producing surprise champions and upset victories, the Osaka sumo tournament has long been known as the "areru haru basho" or "stormy spring meet."

This year, however, rather than experiencing turbulence, the March tournament instead finds itself mired in the doldrums, with the real storm having taken place last month in Miyagino stable.

In the wake of a bullying scandal, the Japan Sumo Association took control of Miyagino stable away from former yokozuna Hakuho and forced the man responsible for the violence —top-division wrestler Hokuseiho — to retire.