In June, Russian-born sumo wrestler Wakanoho Toshinori dropped his wallet in the street. A good Samaritan returned it to a police station, where cops discovered a joint, causing them to ask, “Who the hell keeps a joint in his wallet?” This little event got Toshinori banned from sumo FOR LIFE and created a firestorm in the sport.
Even though he was released without charge, the Wakanoho’s arrest shook the sport to its core. The rikishi escaped charges only because the amount of marijuana in his wallet was smaller than the threshold for legal punishment in Japan… He was told by the Japan Sumo Association (JSA) that reinstating him was impossible. On September 11, Wakanoho filed a lawsuit with the Tokyo District Court against JSA, demanding his dismissal be reversed.
But if the JSA was seeking to make an example of Wakanoho, it may have backfired. Hoping to demonstrate that his was an isolated case of substance abuse, the association conducted surprise urine tests on the 69 wrestlers of the top two divisions. These turned up positive tests in two more Russian rikishi, the brothers Roho, 28 and Hakurozan, 26… With no marijuana found in their possession, it will be difficult to bring any criminal charges against the brothers, but like Wakanoho, they were also thrown out of sumo.
I admit, I like organizations to be run with a slightly fascist iron fist, but even this seems a little draconian. Sounds to me like some sumo officials may have been watching a little too much bondage/torture anime porn. But really, who can blame them? That shit is hot.