Asashoryu gets in trouble for putting arms in air after victory

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Sumo star Asashoryu got in trouble yesterday for expressing his happiness in winning a match by raising both arms up in victory. His stablemaster had to later apologize to the Sumo Association head for the lewd act. Asashoryu, who is originally from Mongolia and has been the subject of several behavioral controversies in the strict sumo world, later explained that he got too excited and forgot that he wasn’t supposed to do that.

Personally, I feel like this isn’t such a big deal. The art and sport of sumo has had some trouble maintaining its pure image as of late, and perhaps loosening some of its less important rules, like how victors rejoice, will give it some breathing space and help it survive.

Link (Japanese) (Thanks, Yushi!)

10 thoughts on “Asashoryu gets in trouble for putting arms in air after victory

  1. Why is it lewd?
    Sports derived from martial arts such as kendo, karate, sumo, taekwondo etc have stricter regulations largely due to the history and traditions behind them, especially in Japan. It’s considered a form of disrespect to both your opponent and yourself to do something like that, call it chivalry, bushido, warrior’s pride or whatever, but a martial art match used to mean a lot more than just winning or losing. You wouldn’t do something like that when both opponents put their pride/lives on the line.
    The nature of these games changed when they are modernized and turned into sports, it’s unavoidable. But in Japan many are still trying to preserve the traditional aspects, and this is an example of that.

  2. Oh. I thought maybe it could be a misinterpreted gesture, like how the American holding of the fingers to mean “OK” is offensive in other countries. Thanks for the info!

  3. I do see the point to restricting such boisterous behavior, though. By nipping it in the bud early on, they seek to prevent it from degrading to what has happened here in the US, with all the showboating, trash talking and so forth. Would we really want Sumo to be like WWE wrestling? What if Asashoryu ran up to his opponent after the match and yelled “You got served!”?
    Asashoryu had to apologize, but he didn’t get suspended or anything like that, so I think they handled it reasonably.

  4. The problem of surviving is a tricky one because, does something like this survive if it changes? How many changes are allowed to still be what it used to be? It’s sad, but as the world changes we probably must let go some things we loved. Is it modern day “baseball”, as a sport and as a cultural manifestation, the same thing that Babe Ruth played? Or modern day “soccer” the same that was played on the first World Cup? In the end, we just keep using the same words to call, mostly, different things.

  5. I’m delighted that this got posted.
    As a rabid sumo fan for many years (I got hooked back when Musashimaru and Akebono were at the top and Kaio was -=young=-), I was shocked by Asashoryu’s blatant disrespect. It was lewd, and very unbecoming of the yokozuna. He very often approaches the line of vulgarity and poor sportsmanship. He frequently gives his opponents an extra, unnecessary shove to propel them into the crowd, or to throw them off balance even when the match is over. For a -=yokozuna=- to exult in this childish way is very offensive to me. It would not be tolerated in high school sumo, in college sumo, or in any practice session. It’s simply over-the-top, and needs much more strenuous punishment than what he received.
    Hakuho, on the other hand, (also from Mongolia) manages his emotions very well, and could not be a better example of a formidable yokozuna. The very best and most professional rikishi recognize when their opponents have stepped out, or when they are too imbalanced to be able to fight back, and hold them from falling out of the dohyo, or offer them a hand up/back in. That’s just good sportsmanship, and demonstrates that the winner does not see any need to accentuate the humiliation of the loser.
    I could understand (and even sympathize with) some exultation of this type from younger, lower-ranked rikishi, if the match was a real upset… like a megashira 15 beating a yokozuna… I would not begrudge him a little fist-pump and maybe a smile, but for a yokozuna that has won so many tournaments as Asashoryu, it is disgusting.
    Lisa doesn’t think this is so bad, and to some degree, I think she has a point. Sumo’s popularity has been severely challenged by foreign rikishi, drug scandals, match-fixing scandals and the like, and maybe loosening up on some victory celebration might help bring out more tournament excitement and personality in the various rikishi. (Takamisakari’s pre-match chest-slaps and shoulder-pumps are all about personality, after all.) Yet, even the NFL had to enact rules against excessive exultation, and let’s face it, end-zone dancing is just stupid-looking anyway. If Lisa thinks that victory crotch-grabs and pelvic thrusts of the NFL style would make for better sumo, I have to disagree.

  6. First, let’s clear some things up about the rules, instead of going on and on about likes, or dislikes of a particular rikishi as well as being “rabid” and clearly confused that the rules apply to all, not just the experienced.
    – Celebration, while on the dohyo is not allowed. It is considered disrespectful. Remember, the dohyo is considered sacred.
    – Celebration off of the dohyo is allowed. Still, to celebrate after immediately leaving the dohyo, would be disrespectful to your duties, as you must then provide the water of power to the next rikishi. Perhaps after the final bow to the dohyo and your walk back, would be the most earliest time to celebrate, in ones own way.
    Of course, people are people. Emotions can be difficult to subdue. The rules are there for a reason. The rules have also changed for a reason. Sumo is a fantastic sport that is adapting, yet maintaining its core art form. I wish more people could enjoy at least one tournament day at any of the venues. Fortunately, NHK TV is available for subscription via satellite, or cable TV. In fact, there is a simultaneous English broadcast in most feeds.
    As for the apology, is was accepted by the Sumo Association. We must remember the times we are in, when particular, albeit numerous, members of the crowd themselves sometimes throw their zabuton, after a match involving a yokuzuna.

  7. Asashoryu is a total punk. And I totally disagree with Lisa – the rules and traditions of conduct for sumo are just as important as the match itself.

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