Ozeki Kotomitsuki has withdrawn from the Nagoya Sumo Tournament at the behest of his stable-master Sadogatake. The Japan Sumo Association will wait to decide his fate (as well as the fate of 28 other association members who bet on baseball, and 36 others who played majhong with yakuza, gambling card games, or playing golf for money) until after the police conclude their investigation.
here is a link to the yomiuri shinbun’s article on the matter.
Personally this commentator couldn’t be happier to see this happen. Personally I’m really getting tired of seeing this “ozeki” struggle to pick up his 8 each and every basho, he hasn’t been a realistic yusho contender probably since back in 2007 when he became ozeki, and even then he was only really on for like 2 or 3 basho. He only ever brings his game out in Nagoya anyway. So even if he is allowed to come back for the September Basho, i can imagine we’ll see a routinely lackluster performance consisting of a few decent tachi-ais, but not much else.
Bottom line is that this cat lied straight-up to his stablemaster, then to the JSA hoping they wouldn’t find out, then admitted not only that he gambled, but that he lied about it. I really have trouble seeing him sticking around much longer. I could understand him getting a suspension if he were a younger Japanese rikishi on his way up the ladder, as opposed to an aging Japanese rikishi who has to rely on handouts to KK. My prediction here would be KMSK sits out Nagoya and then mysteriously throws in the towel before the police investigation actually releases its findings.
Kotomitsuki has now also admitted to paying hush money to members of the Yakuza to keep his gambling out of the papers. According to the Yomiuri Shinbun, the ozeki told Musashigawa oyakata the extent of his issues on Sunday, fearing danger to his family.
Also implicated were Otake Oyakata, and Toyonoshima. Although not much about them has been mentioned since last week except that their names have come up. According to the Asashi shinbun’s sindicate crime source, the number of 65 for people in the world of sumo implicated is drastically under-reported.
A number of us here at Sumo & Stogies are straight up stunned that the ozeki has not yet been asked to retire. Would every rikishi in ozumo receive this same treatment? My guess would be no. NSK still insists that they are waiting for the police to finish their investigation, but with KTMSK already admitting both gambling and paying blackmail to members of the yakuza, I don’t see how it can be avoided. It seems to be a damned if they do, damned if they don’t situation for NSK. They get rid of Kotomitsuki, they lose the top ranked Japanese rikishi, but imagine how hypocritical it will look if they don’t give him the boot.