Nine out of the 19 rikishi living at Shikihide-beya packed up and left their sumo home in Ibaraki Prefecture on Tuesday. The group contacted sumo officials from a karaoke booth in Chiba Prefecture. Their main complaint was “moral harassment” from their stablemaster’s wife who has taken a more authoritative role recently. The wrestlers then headed to Tokyo where they are meeting with association elders to work out a solution.
Well liked by the wrestlers, Shikihide-oyakata (former Kitazakura) had to step back from stable management duties this year due to illness, leaving his wife to take over most of the responsibility. Unfortunately her level of strictness was more than the tenants had bargained for.
Personal mail deliveries were to be opened and the contents shown to everyone. Lockers were sometimes raided without warning. Everything was reportedly under overbearing control down to the use of electrical outlets in larger rooms. Any defiance expressed at this invasion of privacy was apparently met with threats of expulsion or “telling the JSA.” Two days after the July tournament had ended, written apologies were demanded of the wrestlers who rebelled.
A meeting with the Japan Sumo Association’s compliance committee was scheduled for Wednesday. The results of their discussion has not yet been made public.
Source: Nikkan Sports