Photo/IllutrationJapan Sumo Association Chairman Hakkaku, far left, convenes a directors' meeting on Dec. 28 in Tokyo. Stablemaster Takanohana is seated in the light suit at the right. (Satoru Semba)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

The Japan Sumo Association on Dec. 28 decided to dismiss stablemaster Takanohana as a director over his refusal to cooperate in an investigation into the beating of a wrestler under his wing.

The recommendation for dismissal was agreed upon at an emergency directors’ meeting and will be submitted to a meeting scheduled for Jan. 4 of JSA councilors, including external members, who have the authority to dismiss directors.

Takanohana is the stablemaster of Takanoiwa, a Mongolian wrestler who was the victim of a drunken beating at the hands of former yokozuna Harumafuji during a sumo circuit tour in Tottori in late October.

Harumafuji, also from Mongolia, retired from sumo to take responsibility for the beating. However, the Tottori District Public Prosecutors Office on Dec. 28 issued a summary indictment in connection with the attack. The summary indictment means Harumafuji will not be detained, but he will have to pay a fine.

Takanohana was the director in charge of that sumo circuit tour, but he failed to report the beating to the JSA, drawing criticism from the association’s risk management committee.

Takanohana was also taken to task for not cooperating with the committee’s investigation. He refused to allow the committee to question Takanoiwa until after Tottori prefectural police completed their investigation into the incident.

The stablemaster himself also did not promptly agree to a meeting with the committee.

Although Takanohana attended the Dec. 28 emergency meeting, he did not take part in the vote, which unanimously recommended that he be dismissed.

After the meeting, JSA Chairman Hakkaku said at a news conference that Takanohana had egregiously violated the directors’ duty of loyalty toward the association.

Takanohana has refused to talk with reporters since the beating incident came to light. He also did not speak out at the directors’ meeting, according to Hakkaku.