A Shinto ritual before the Sumo match.
Sumo wrestling in Japan has been rocked with a scandal. While authorities were investigating illegal baseball betting, they found sumo wrestlers were engaging in match fixing.
Besides the possibility of earning money from organized crime, which wants to fix matches to earn money from gambling, individual wrestlers are said to have fixed matches so they and others can stay in the upper ranks of the sport, where they can earn more money.
One writer has said that Sumo wrestling in Japan has become three things: a sport, a Shinto spiritual ritual with roots stretching back for generations, and an entertainment spectacle. Which does Sumo want to be?
I guess it depends on the audience. If you are one of those betting on sumo wrestling, you definitely don't want to be deceived. You want a fair contest. If sumo is represented as fair, then it should be fair.
If you're setting up the gambling and want to make better odds, then of course you want sumo wrestling to be more "predictable."
But if sumo is more of a ritual and a national spectacle, then does it matter if it's fair? Or is it considered dishonorable for it to be faked?
- Sumo wrestlers knocked down by scandals. Sumo wrestling is a hallmark of Japanese tradition, but it's faltering under allegations of bribery, gambling, and bullying, among others, Christian Science Monitor>>
- SUMO/ Bout-fixing begs question--Sumo sport or culture? Asahi.com>>
- Sumo figures who bet on baseball face prosecutors. Like match-fixers, nine gamblers undone by cell phone text records, The Japan Times>>
- Is sumo truly the Japanese national sport? The Japan Times>>