|Topics in Japan #36:
Alleged drug use of sumo wrestlers
Scandals about Japan's sumo world have already appeared in this column. Since then, sumo wrestlers and association officials have been making efforts to regain the trust of sumo fans. However, a big new problem is now shaking the sumo world. This time, it's about the use of drugs.
On August 18, a Russian sumo wrestler, Wakanoho, was arrested for carrying marijuana. It was the first time ever that a sumo wrestler had been arrested in the long history of the sumo, where discipline and order are strictly maintained. The media gave the case a lot of attention, and people were very surprised and upset to hear about it. On August 21, Wakanoho was fired by his stable and kicked out of the sumo world for ever.
However, that was not the end of the story. The Sumo Association carried out a simple surprise examination of the other sumo wrestlers, and as a result, two other wrestlers from Russia, Hakurozan and Roho, tested positive for marijuana. They tested positive again in a more thorough examination, so they were also fired on September 8.
Wakanoho later announced that he really wanted another chance to practice sumo, and so he filed a lawsuit against the Sumo Association seeking the cancellation of his dismissal. Meanwhile, Hakurozan and Roho have been completely denying the use of drugs and they may also sue the association. The truth is still not certain, but one thing is: we never imagined the sumo world would ever have drug problems.