Sumo Tarnished by Betting Scandal

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Sumo Match

Tokyo -- There are few things closer to the "pure" heart of Japanese culture than sumo wrestling, and that's why a sports betting scandal is rocking Japan.

At the original center of the scandal was Ozeki Kotomitsuki, who turned himself in after yakuza attempted to blackmail him over his baseball betting habit.

Kotomitsuki was quickly suspended from participation in the next sumo tournament.

However, it now emerges that perhaps scores of other sumo wrestlers have also been betting on sports, including other well-known figures, such as the wrestler Miyabiyama.

The latest scandal comes on top of a series of misfortunes to hit the sumo world in recent years, including violence by wrestlers and coaches, as well as links with yakuza.

Sumo's popularity has been falling off in recent years as the younger generation is showing little interest in the sport and most of the top wrestlers are foreigners.

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