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Sumo Drug Scandal

Bradford

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Heard this on NPR tonight. Apparently professional sumo wrestling is facing its first drug scandal. I listened to the report under the assumption that it would be something along the lines of steroids, HGH or other performance-enhancing substances like baseball has dealt with. But, no. It was a couple of Russian sumo wrestlers who were smoking some pot - oh my! The wrestlers have apparently been banned from sumo for life. What, were the authorities concerned that they would get the munchies and end up weighing more than other sumo wrestlers? The difference between the US and Japanese cultures here could not be more stark. If players were banned for life for smoking pot, the US probably wouldn't even have pro sports
 

Dragon

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Originally Posted by Bradford
What, were the authorities concerned that they would get the munchies and end up weighing more than other sumo wrestlers?

no, they were concerned that they dishonored the code of conduct. You can`t apply American sports to these kind of things, because the culture is completely different.
 

Septavius

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Very true. Also, sumo lifestyle and training is very heavily regimented.
 

overdog

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Originally Posted by Bradford
What, were the authorities concerned that they would get the munchies and end up weighing more than other sumo wrestlers?
Weight is not necessarily an advantage. Most of top sumo wrestlers right now are built taller and less fat. Most still weigh north of 300 pounds, but they don't have the globs of fat and huge man boobs that come to mind when you think of sumo wrestlers. I've gotten into sumo wrestling lately since my visit to Japan. Here is a really awesome bout. The winner, Ama, is listed at *only* 129 kg. On the whole marijuana issue, I think it was less the fact that they were smoking, and more fact that they were the unwanted foreigners that got them kicked out. If Japan doesn't like their league being infested by foreigners, they'll find ways to kick them out. It's kind of like the whole controversy surrounding the Korean golfers in the LPGA.
 

Dragon

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Originally Posted by overdog
On the whole marijuana issue, I think it was less the fact that they were smoking, and more fact that they were the unwanted foreigners that got them kicked out. If Japan doesn't like their league being infested by foreigners, they'll find ways to kick them out. It's kind of like the whole controversy surrounding the Korean golfers in the LPGA.

Possession of marijuana and of course the use it is a serious offense in Japan (unlike the U.S.). They would of been banned regardless of the fact they were foreigners or not.
 

rach2jlc

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I agree with both Dragon and Overdog. Drugs of ANY kind are taken VERY seriously in Japan... much more so than we in the States. I've heard of other educators/professors/teachers getting caught with just a little teeny bit of pot (something that in the US would probably not even get noticed) and it basically ruined their lives. They lost their jobs, got deported, etc etc etc. Altogether, I think it ended up costing them $10K or more, even beyond the professional/personal humiliation, IIRC...

Further, though, I think there is also some truth with a latent xenophobia, as overdog mentions. Not saying that Japanese sumo players wouldn't be given a harsh sentence for infringements, but also saying that probably there won't be many going out of their way to help the Gaijin in this case.

Overall, though, Japan has an odd relationship with its Sports/Public figures and this kind of stuff. While on the one hand, they seem SO relaxed about some things (pornos in basically every corner store, alcohol being drunk like it's going out of style, relatively lax views on prostitution/infidelity, etc etc ), on the other hand, they can be almost draconian in their harshness at times.

Some of you may remember Kazuhito Tadano, an apparently very talented baseball player who basically was blacklisted because when he was in college he had been in a porn video (one of those ones where a guy is given cash to jack-off... and the reason he did it was because apparently he needed the money for his college baseball team!!). I think he's in the USA now because basically he was shunned there... but still that past has followed him here, too.
 

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