Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Few Words About Sumo

Recently, I was speaking with a dear friend of mine and mentioned the topic of Sumo when the conversation turned to sports. My friend laughed at first and was then appalled and amazed to learn that I am, indeed, an avid fan of Sumo Wrestling and try to watch the championships every year. I was saddened this year to see 23 time champion title winner, Asashoryu bested by Hakuho, but Hakuho has won the Emperor's Cup 11 times, so that says something for him. I've learned a great deal about the ancient sport and it always surprises Americans just how intensely serious this sport is in Japan. Of course, I've never been there, nor have I ever attended a live match, but I would if opportunity presented itself.

In Japan the wrestlers are superstars with groupies and fan clubs, limosines and lifestyles of the rich and famous like rock stars or NFL quarterbacks in this country. It has also come under fire in the past few years for the same kinds of scandals afflicting other major league sports such as violence, assaults, drug use, fixed bouts, etc.

One interesting piece I read in a Japanese Newspaper told the story of a tokoyama (topknot hairdresser) who was a former wrestler himself, beating up on one of the younger wrestlers in the stable (that's where the wrestler's live and train together). He said that he didn't think that hitting the man was the right thing to do, but felt he had to do it because the younger man was exhibiting violent behavior. Well, d'oh!!

Anyhoo, I was disappointed to learn, once again, that people, no matter where, when or what they are, are just people with the same problems, same hangups, same trials and tribulations as people everywhere else. But I'm not going to let this bother me today! I'm off work and able to devote my entire day to writing and promoting!

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