Photo/IllutrationStablemaster Takanohana, left, and one of his juryo wrestlers, Takayoshitoshi, leave Ryogoku Kokugikan on March 29 after a Japan Sumo Association directors meeting. (Wataru Sekita)

  • Photo/Illustraion

Popular stablemaster Takanohana was demoted to sumo elder with no responsibilities by the Japan Sumo Association on March 29 in connection with a beating incident involving one of his juryo wrestlers.

A meeting of JSA directors decided to strip Takanohana of his council member status and drop him two notches to rank-and-file "toshiyori."

The disciplinary action stemmed mainly from his failure to properly oversee juryo wrestler Takayoshitoshi, who assaulted an attendant after losing a bout in the recently completed Spring Grand Sumo Tournament. His habit of not showing up for work without warning was also an issue.

It is not the first time for the popular former yokozuna to be raked over the coals by the JSA.

In January, the organization decided to remove Takanohana as a JSA director over his failure to adequately deal with a high-profile assault incident during a drinking session involving former yokozuna Harumafuji and a lower-ranked Mongolian wrestler.

Takanohana ran in the JSA directors election in February, but failed to win a post.

In a meeting held March 28 to designate job responsibilities among JSA stablemasters, it was decided to demote Takanohana from special executive to council member.

On March 29, Takanohana and Takayoshitoshi were summoned before the JSA directors to hear what further disciplinary measures awaited them.

A special meeting of all toshiyori was held March 28 to discuss Takanohana's recent behavior.

Some participants pushed for Takanohana to be effectively dismissed from the sumo world altogether.

At a news conference following that meeting, Takanohana said he would accept whatever decision was made by the directors meeting and apologized for the trouble his comments and actions had caused.