Photo/IllutrationHakkaku, left, chairman of the Japan Sumo Association, and stablemaster Takanohana, right, attend a directors' meeting on Nov. 30. (Ryo Ikeda)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

Former yokozuna Harumafuji’s beating of a younger sumo wrestler during a drinking session was triggered by a grin and intensified after a glare, according to an interim report of the scandal.

The report, submitted by the crisis management committee of the Japan Sumo Association to a directors’ meeting on Nov. 30, clears up many of the hazy details of the incident that occurred in Tottori city on Oct. 25.

To take responsibility for the scandal, Harumafuji, 33, on Nov. 29 announced that he was retiring from sumo.

However, the committee’s investigation is not yet complete because Takanoiwa, 27, the target of the beating, has not talked to the committee.

Takanoiwa’s stablemaster, Takanohana, had refused to allow his wrestler to meet with the committee. At the directors’ meeting, Takanohana promised that Takanoiwa would respond to questions after Tottori prefectural police wrap up their investigation into the incident.

Police are expected to send papers in early December to prosecutors against Harumafuji on suspicion of assaulting Takanoiwa.

According to the interim report, the Oct. 25 party was held largely to encourage graduates of Tottori Johoku High School, including Takanoiwa and Terunofuji.

A number of individuals connected with the high school attended the party along with the three Mongolian yokozuna, Hakuho, Harumafuji and Kakuryu.

During the first party, Hakuho, 32, lectured Takanoiwa, also from Mongolia, about his rude behavior at a Tokyo restaurant in September. Harumafuji served as intermediary and placated Hakuho at that time, according to the report.

After the group moved to another bar to continue their drinking, Hakuho told Takanoiwa and Terunofuji to never forget all they had received and learned during their high school days.

As Hakuho was talking, Takanoiwa began fiddling with his mobile phone.

Harumafuji told Takanoiwa to pay greater attention to Hakuho’s words, but the younger wrestler said with a grin, “I received an e-mail from my girlfriend.”

That angered Harumafuji, who began slapping Takanoiwa’s face in an attempt to get him to apologize to Hakuho. However, Takanoiwa refused to apologize--and instead glared at Harumafuji.

Further infuriated, the yokozuna slapped Takanoiwa about a dozen times to get him to apologize. He also grabbed a remote control for the karaoke machine and smashed Takanoiwa’s head several times.

The report said Takanoiwa required several stitches to his head.

The report did not say that a beer bottle was used in the attack, which some media reports have stated. The report did say Harumafuji grabbed a champagne bottle, but it slipped out of his hand before he could use it to hit Takanoiwa.

The beating finally ended when Hakuho stepped in to stop Harumafuji.

The directors’ meeting also reprimanded Hakuho for his comments during an interview on Nov. 26 after he won the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament.

“I feel that I want to once again bring Harumafuji and Takanoiwa back into this dohyo,” Hakuho said.

He then led the crowd in a banzai cheer.

The comments were considered beneath the dignity of a yokozuna.