Disappointment is definitely a word that comes to mind when I found out that the March Sumo tournament in Osaka was to be canceled amid the match fixing scandal here in Japan. Sumo is the ancient Japanese sport that pits two wrestlers against each other. There have always been suspicions that the sport had been filled with rigged fights and other shady dealings, but it recently came to light that these suspicions were a reality.
Last year there was a baseball betting scandal involving several wrestlers who were betting on games with the help of yakuza members. One top ranked ozeki, Kotomitsuki was even banned from fighting for life because of his involvement. During that investigation police seized several sumo wrestler's mobile phones. On their phones they found text messages where wrestlers were planning to throw their fights.
I am not by any means a die-hard fan of the sport, but I do enjoy watching it when it is on television. Last year I went to the Osaka tournament on a Sunday with one of my friends. I had a great time seeing the massive wrestlers live, having beer and the general atmosphere of the day. This year, I was hoping to go again, but with my family. We were thinking about getting a family box so I could sit with my wife, son and in laws. That is why I am disappointed.
A picture I took at last year's Osaka Sumo Basho (tournament).
I was looking forward to a great first time sumo family outing. Apparently my in laws, who are from Osaka have never been to live sumo. Now there is even talk of the remainder of 2011 sumo tournaments being cancelled. I suppose we’ll just have to see. It would have been a great family event, but it looks like I’ll have to wait until next year!
Here is a video about the Osaka Tournament cancellation by a very knowledgeable sumo fan. JasonInJapan AKA myargonauts is a popular You Tube vlogger who vlogs about Japan and Sumo:
Follow me on TWITTER: @jlandkev