With the cancellation of the Osaka sumo tournament in March, the city’s nightlife quarters will not be receiving patronage from its burly regulars, who, reports weekly tabloid Shukan Jitsuwa (Mar. 3), are not using their mobile phones when canceling entertainment bookings.
Every year, sumo wrestlers (rikishi), their supporters (tanimachi), and coaches (oyakata) frequent one particular lounge in the Kita Shinchi district.
“Since we do not need to prepare a big sofa this year, it is sad,” says an employee. “While it is disturbing to see drunk sekitori grapplers” — those ranked in one of the top two professional divisions — “we are used to hosting them every year. Sumo wrestlers drink a lot given their huge body mass. Considering that nowadays we have been losing customers, this will have a big impact on sales.”
A hostess from a club within the Tobita Shinchi district is shocked by the cancellation. “Since they have massive bodies,” she says, “they do not push themselves over the limit. Plus, they are good tippers. I just have to sit on their laps all night; it’s not much work. They were good customers.”
Shukan Jitsuwa informs its readers that Tobita Shinchi is a Mecca for quickie joints. A person from a lounge says that they’ll usually come in a group that includes three attendants (tsukibito) and a sekitori. “When the sekitori is off enjoying his erotic activities,” the source says, “the attendants will stick around for drinks. It is vital to the local economy.”
Some wrestlers called their regular places to kindly let them know that they would not be able to make it this year, and there was one thing that they all had in common. “Everyone is using a pay phone to say they cannot come,” says the previously quoted hostess. “They were told not to use mobile phones.”
For those living under rocks for the past few weeks, the Japan Sumo Association indicated that text messages discovered on the mobile phones of roughly a dozen senior wrestlers have implicated them in systematic bout-fixing — a revelation that caused the cancellation of the Osaka tournament.
“While I cannot speak for other training stables,” says one coach, “I am prohibiting the use of the mobile phone. Any contact to be made outside the stable must be done in open areas. Of course, there will be no playing around with women either, including visits to Tobita. We have to do this to regain trust.”
Shukan Jitsuwa, however, wonders what steps the grapplers will take to satisfy their sexual needs. (A.T.)
Source: “Osaka basho chushi Tobita Shinchi e no cancel rikishi wa zenin koshu denwa,” Shukan Jitsuwa (Mar. 3, page 31)