Sumo New Year tournament finale
Sumo fans will remember 2007 as something of a low point. Record low numbers of recruits, diminishing media coverage of actually wrestling, and instead of scandal after scandal – first the death of a young rikishi (wrestler) attributed to a brutal training regime, and then the rather strangely larger row that blew up when top wrestler Asashoryu (朝青龍) was spotted running around a Mongolian football pitch when he was supposed to be injured.
The story ran and ran to an almost tedious length in the Japanese media, but as 2008 started, it seemed that the old adage – “There’s no such thing as bad publicity” – was to some extent true. Asashoryu had served his two-tournament ban and was back. Meanwhile, (Mongolian) compatriot Hakuho (白鵬) was waiting for him.
And the two yokozuna met yesterday in an all-Mongolian finale to the New Year tournament.