Two big stories today. One is a retirement, and in the other we finally get word from the Tokyo courts on the long-awaited yaocho cases.
First in Retirement news, Miyabiyama (former ozeki, recently demonted to juryo) decided to hang up the mawashi after only managing a 3-12 from J9. Miyabiyama spent 82 of his 88 basho in Makuuchi and 8 basho at ozeki. In his career he racked up 4 jun-yusho, a gino-sho, 2 shukun-sho, 5 kanto-sho, and 2 kinboshi, in addition to 2 juryo yusho and 2 makushita yusho. Yabbers entered sumo in 1998 at MS60 tsukedashi status, after graduating from meiji univeristy. He only spent 2 basho a piece in makushita and juryo, picking up his 4 yusho on each occasion Within 9 basho in makuuchi, he was at ozeki. But he never settled into the rank, failing to score over 9-6. Good bye, and good luck to the once and future booby prize winner.
In more ground breaking news, at about 3 pm today, March 25th, a Tokyo court found today that the JSA’s expulsion of former Sokukurai (Real name Enkhtuvshin, from the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region) was invalid. The court declared that Sokokurai is officially a wrestler in the Japan Sumo Association. Nothing else seems to be decided yet. Both Sokokurai and fellow mongolian Hoshikaze were expelled by the JSA after refusing to submit retirement papers following the accusations as to his part in the yaocho scandal back in 2011. The court declared that Sokokurai was guilty of “Unmotivated Sumo”, but not of yaocho. If the JSA accepts this verdict it will be the first time in history a sumo wrestler is allowed back in after recieving 解雇 or kaikou (expulsion).
The courts ordered the JSA to reinstate Sokokurai as a wrestler unless they can provide concrete proof as to his guilt. The JSA will not be filing an appeal, so they either have proof, or don’t want to fight it anymore. If reinstated Sokokurai would be ranked makuuchi 15, as that was his rank on the unofficial banzuke before the “yaocho” rikishi were forced to retire.
This decision could throw the kyokai’s entire investigation into doubt. If Sokokurai was able to be found innocent in court, how many others were forced to needlessly retire?