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Yokozuna Hakuho, Kakuryu docked pay over beating
THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
December 20, 2017 at 18:55 JST
Japan Sumo Association Chairman Hakkaku, front left, and stablemaster Takanohana, far right, attend a directors meeting in Tokyo on Dec. 20. (Naoko Kawamura)
Yokozuna Hakuho and Kakuryu were docked their salaries for 1.5 months and one month, respectively, by the Japan Sumo Association on Dec. 20 over the beating incident of Takanoiwa that led to the recent retirement of yokozuna Harumafuji.
A JSA risk management committee faulted the two yokozuna for not stopping the beating of Takanoiwa, a No. 8 maegashira and fellow Mongolian.
In the meeting held on Dec. 20, the directors also accepted the resignation of Isegahama as a director. Isegahama heads the stable that Harumafuji belonged to and Isegahama informed Hakkaku, the JSA chairman, of his intention to resign on Nov. 29 when the yokozuna announced his retirement.
The risk management committee said in its report that Isegahama bore responsibility for failing to properly instruct and oversee his wrestler.
Meanwhile, JSA officials also said on Dec. 20 that Takanoiwa had been questioned by the risk management committee the day before.
Takanoiwa told committee members that he did nothing discourteous to the yokozuna in attendance at the drinking session in late October that would have caused Harumafuji to beat him. Takanoiwa also said he was embarrassed at being hit in front of officials from the high school he graduated from, but added that he did not want to see Harumafuji retire.
The Yokozuna Deliberation Council held a special meeting earlier on Dec. 20 to discuss the incident in which Harumafuji repeatedly struck Takanoiwa during a drinking session.
The council recommended that the JSA issue stern warnings to Hakuho and Kakuryu, both of whom were also at the drinking session, but did not do enough to stop the violence.
Meanwhile, the council also was critical of the attitude of Takanohana, the stablemaster of Takanoiwa. Takanohana had refused to allow a JSA committee to question Takanoiwa about the beating incident.
Council chairman Masato Kitamura said that while the topic was not one of direct concern of the council, the consensus among members was that Takanohana's words and actions in the wake of the beating incident "were open to criticism."
However, the JSA directors meeting could not agree on what action to take against Takanohana.
An interim report by the JSA’s risk management committee that was investigating the beating incident said that Hakuho tried to intervene and stop Harumafuji from continuing to beat Takanoiwa.
But the council said it was not enough and that Hakuho should have done more.
Although Harumafuji has already retired, the council also concluded that his beating of Takanoiwa would have warranted a recommendation that he retire.
While the council will not be able to take disciplinary action against a wrestler who has already retired, it will judge on the severity of the violence as a means of establishing a standard for future action against active wrestlers.
Some council members also expressed criticism at tactics used during bouts by Hakuho that they felt were beneath the dignity of a yokozuna.
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