I'm mortified. I will not be able to purchase tickets for the 2014 Grand Sumo Tournament in Osaka. It has been cancelled. If you've been following news in Japan then you may have already heard that recent scandals in the sumo world have surfaced. Match fixing, hazing, and drug allegations, just to name a few, have crept in to this sacred sport once revered by the Japanese and their gods has now lost its sacredness and has been defiled by over zealous media outlets.
How could a sport such as sumo, one of the oldest and most venerated sports in Japanese history allow itself to come under attack like this? It's called the media. Without a doubt, in any country, match fixing and hazing has been part and parcel in any sporting event. People gamble and bribe officials. People fake getting knocked out. Performance enhancing drugs have been used. I understand that these actions violate the rules of good sportsmanship, and are outright illegal, but should their dirty laundry be aired and held up for the whole world to see? This is an internal problem.
The media has no boundaries anymore, no dignity. They go everywhere and shit on everybody. They have no regard for common decency and public safety. Ever since the Julian Assange sensation took center stage in how low a person could go in order to discredit a business, or a person, other media outlets have been following suit. It's a real pity to see Japanese news media outlets become just as trashy.
Japanese do not handle dishonesty very well, but I suspect that most Japanese know that there are some shady practices that take place in the sumo world. There is a shared sense of disgust from some Japanese I have talked with. Some are angry at both the media and the sumo association, others are angry at the sumo association only. It's because many had believed that matches were won in honesty, and that there were no back door deals taking place.
One young lady told me she thought it was foreigners that ruined the sport, but then again, you had Rikidozan and others who helped shape the sport....And there is no doubt of Rikidozans involvement with seedy groups and organization. It's a real pity though, because the way I truly see it is that all of Japan's sacred institutions are under some form of duress. Some temples and other sacred sites have been vandalized. Yasukuni Shrine hasn't been visited by Showa Tenno in over forty years, Duty and martial spirit have all been relegated and re-interpreted by non-Japanese, even nihonshu is going through a reshaping by non-Japanese elements. The kimigayo isn't being sung. The youth have lost interest in old traditions because they think that they can spread or recreate another type of Japanese idealism in another country when they know nothing about it at home.
But, there is some flicker of hope from that candle stick near that foggy window. From that quivering light a voice reached out to me and whispered , the Japanese are a forgiving people, and they will forget those transgressions which besieged their sacred sport. Sumo shall be forgiven and the people will love sumo once again.