With a luxury brand bag in his hand… Former yokozuna Hakuho, whose stable is closed indefinitely, says “Returning to the master’s position is a rocky road” and questions his centripetal force. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

With a luxury brand bag in his hand… Former yokozuna Hakuho, whose stable is closed indefinitely, says “Returning to the master’s position is a rocky road” and questions his centripetal force.

What is the future of this charismatic wrestler who set a record with 45 championships and 1,187 victories?

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March 10, the first night of the Spring Tournament. Hakuho leaves the venue with a bag that appears to belong to the luxury brand Goyard.

Former yokozuna Hakuho’s stablemaster Miyagino Miyakono, 39, emerged from the Edion Arena Osaka, the venue for the spring tournament, on March 10, the first day of the tournament, after most of the rikishi and their stablemates had left. It was well after 7:00 p.m. on the first day of the tournament on March 10.

He looked listless. A large number of fans rushed to him, but Hakuho did not respond to them and got into a car to pick him up. He was also silent to the press about the commotion. He is probably being warned by the bosses of the Isekehama clan, to which the Miyagino stable belongs, not to be interviewed. Until the formal disciplinary action is taken against the stable, Hakuho is a ‘carp on the chopping block.

The disturbance that occurred in the Miyagino stable The Japan Sumo Association accepted the retirement report of Hokuseiho (22) on February 23, and the incident of assault by Hokuseiho was reported to the press. The document distributed to the press by the JSA describes the severe violence.

Slaps to the face, back, and testicles.

(The victims were beaten on the buttocks with a log-like stick made from a mawashi (a Japanese ceremonial belt), and the flames of an insecticide spray ignited into a burner shape were brought close to the bodies of A and B (editor’s note: victims). ……

The incident was uncovered in a complaint to the Sumo Association’s official X.

‘The two victims who were violently assaulted by Hokushōho were his younger apprentices, A and B.’ The assault lasted more than a year, from July ’22 to November last year. During the Kyushu tournament last November, he applied instant glue to A’s wallet and damaged it; he also applied instant glue to the fingers of B’s right hand and assaulted him. Violence was a daily occurrence, repeated two to three times a week.

The attitude of his master Hakuho was also viewed as problematic.

He was aware of Hokushoho’s assaults, but failed to give him strict guidance. He did not properly report the incident to the Sumo Association. When Hokushoho, who was the eighth highest ranked wrestler in the east maegashira, was absent from the first tournament in January of this year, he did not mention the incident but said, ‘The condition of my right knee worsened. It is no wonder that he was suspected of making false reports and covering up the incident,” said a sumo association official.

Hakuho is punished severely when he is questioned about his leadership responsibility as a stablemaster. He will be demoted two ranks to a layman, and his remuneration will be cut by 20% for three months. Furthermore, the Miyagino-ya is expected to be closed indefinitely after the spring tournament.

Hakuho, who has been removed as master, is likely to be assigned to the “Social Contribution Department,” which is under the direct control of the Chancellor. This is literally a department that aims to contribute to society. The department picks up trash at the venue where the main tournament is held and around the nearest train station, visits kindergartens and elementary schools, and so on. During the tournament, the department also provides security for the venue and sometimes stands in front of concession stands to sell goods.

For Hakuho, who has won 45 makunouchi championships, the most in his career, and 1,187 victories in total, this must be unfamiliar work. He will likely have a rocky road ahead of him if he is to return to his position as master.

There have been cases in the past where a rikishi has been reinstated as a shihan after being placed in the custody of his clan due to misconduct.” In May 2010, Kise Oyakata (former maegashira Higonoumi) was found to have given tickets to antisocial individuals. The Kise stable was placed in the custody of the Dewakai clan to which it belonged, but two years later, in April ’12, the stable reopened and Kise Oyakata returned to his master. However, Hakuho, who was a great yokozuna, must have had pride. I wonder if he will be able to endure a few years of ‘life as a low-ranking yokozuna. ……

Yaku Mitsuru, a former member of the Sumo Association’s external committee and a cartoonist, spoke up.

He may have been trying to protect his apprentice who had caused the incident, but the result was a disaster. He should think deeply about what he did wrong without defending himself. If you don’t do that, your fans will not understand you.

Will Hakuho be able to revive his stable after a period of abeyance? It all depends on Hakuho’s attitude.

Former yokozuna Hakuho’s Miyagino stable is closed indefinitely, and his return as a master is a rocky road.

From the March 29, 2024 issue of FRIDAY

  • PHOTO Kei Kato

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