The Japan Sumo Association is shaken by the problem of fixed fights. The president Hanaregoma declared that the Japan Sumo Association would not hold a grand sumo tournament before it makes the suspicion of fixed fights clear. It is said that the tournaments in spring and summer will not be held.
The press has been reported that there were fixed fights in the grand sumo tournaments. These reports are persuasive for me, so I have thought that some of fights are fixed. I am not surprised by this problem and I don't think that fixed fights are not a serious problem, because I am not a big fun of sumo, maybe.
I think that the problem is that the Japan Sumo Association is too dirty to be a public corporation, which is given special privileges. In addition to fixed fights, relationships with the Mobs, illegal gambles and drugs abuse in the sumo society are appeared. Because a lot of underground money must circulate in the sumo community (it has not been public until now), if tax investigation for the Japan Sumo Association is done, a big scandal, which would ruin the Japan Sumo Association, would break. If a private company holds a grand sumo tournament, fixed fights will not be a problem same as professional wrestling. But the Japan Sumo Association as a public corporation declared that there was no fixed fight, but in fact many fights were fixed.
I wrote that fixed fights are not a problem in professional wrestling, but WWE, which is the biggest professional wrestling promotion, declared that professional wrestling was not a sport but an entertainment. Because WWE is a company which offers stocks to public, they have a responsibility to explain their business to stockholders. Even a private company has such accountability, so a public corporation like the Japan Sumo Association has a more serious accountability.
Quite old characteristics of the Japan Sumo Association have caused many problems. In these ten years the awareness of compliance is rising in Japanese society. The problems of illegal collusion in the construction industry and relationships with the Mobs in the business world and political world had been appeared, and reforms were carried out. But the Japan Sumo Association could not reform itself. The problems would not be solved without a complete reform of the Japan Sumo Association, including a sumo gym system. But it might be difficult for the board of the Japan Sumo Association, whose members are retired sumo wrestlers, to carry out a reform. In the worst case the Japan Sumo Association would breakup.
The problem of fixed fights will give the grand sumo tournaments bad effects. Most of funs of sumo had been vaguely aware of fixed fights in sumo, but it is quite different between vague awareness and clear awareness.
I'm a fun of professional wrestling and had a same experience. Rickson Gracie, who was a Jujutsu fighter, beat perfectly twice Nobuhiko Takada, who was a top professional wrestler in real fights. I had not believed that professional wrestling was a real fight, but I had an illusion that professional wrestlers exercised a real fight in their gyms and they were strong. These fights denied this illusion completely.
These fights made professional wrestling in Japan decline. I should enjoy professional wrestling as just an entertainment, but I can't watch professional wrestling with feelings for it before.
The audience of sumo would decline extremely, if the Japan Sumo Association can not eradicate the problem of fixed fight, (I think that it's impossible). The press will not treat sumo as a sport and broadcast on TV. The promotion of sumo will reduce itself and the audience will be limited just to enthusiast.
Sumo had been ambiguous between sport, traditional performance and entertainment until now. In the future I will be just a traditional performance like Kabuki. I think that the identity of sumo will be conserved better.