The list of admitted gamblers has grown to include the following Makuuchi rikishi: Kotomitsuki, Kotoshogiku, Toyohibiki, Goeido, Toyonoshima, Miyabiyama, Kakizoe, Yoshikaze, and Okinoumi. It extends into Juryo to cover Chiyohakuho, Kasuganishiki, Kiyoseumi, and Futeno.
From what I’ve been led to understand it looks probable that the named rikishi will bow out of this basho (the most likely 2 being Kotomitsuki and Miyabiyama) leaving giant gaps in the banzuke and leading to what I have already deemed the Nagoya Fustercluck. NHK has seen the writing on the wall and is going to decide whether or not to air the basho when the NSK’s outside committee releases its findings on July 4th. Read more here.
It Also appears that the person extorting money from Kotomitsuki was a former Makushita rikishi, turned Chanko Restaurant owner, turned Yakuza living in Kyushu. The former wrestler, named Mitsutomo Furuichi, wrestled in the now defunct Oshiogawa stable and retired from sumo in 1997. A warrant has been issued for his arrest, but he has thus far evaded police.
This shit storm has reach international proportions, and was just recently picked up by the wall street journal. According to their sources, on July 4th the NSK will make its final decision about the status of the Nagoya basho. The NSK says it’s still making preparations for Nagoya. Personally, I wouldn’t worry about this basho being cancelled, as a basho hasn’t been canceled since Natsu 1946. Keep in mind that so far only Japanese rikishi have been named. Perhaps this will all blow over before the 11th, perhaps not.
Well, here we are. 7 Days from the release of the Nagoya Banzuke and 5 makuuchi rikishi (plus some lower ranked guys, namely Chiyohakuho, some oyakata, hair dressers, et al) have been named in the recent gambling scandal. Toyohibiki, Kotomitsuki, Goeido, Toyonoshima, and Miyabiyama. Mitsuki is already out for Nagoya, but the fate of the other 4 guys is still in the air.
Lets face it, none of these guys are viable yusho contenders. This we know. However vacating 6 spots in the makuuchi banzuke will certainly make things crazy for the banzuke committee. And with Ozumo’s biggest sponsor reconsidering its usual advertizing dollars, there has been some wild speculation that this basho might be cancelled. While I don’t think things will go that far, one thing is for sure… it will be a lot easier for people to get tickets this go around.
As for the Oyakata, Otake and Tokitsukaze have both admitted to gambling and the stable masters of the involved rikishi have come under fire. Chairman Musashigawa has been criticized for rikishi from his own stable (Miyabiyama) being implicated and calls have been made for him to step down. Read more about that here. Supposedly the desicion on whether or not to release the entire list of 65 names of those involved will be made today. So stay tuned for more info as it becomes available.