Slices of Japanese business, politics and life
Bad boy sumo grand champion Asashoryu has been called many things, but it’s unlikely whether being dubbed “porky” will cause the Mongolian star to lose much sleep.
When a former wrestler, now working as a television commentator, accused the “yokozuna” of being flabby, it marked a new low in the hounding of one of the greats of Japan’s ancient sport.
Asashoryu has character flaws, which have polarised opinion within the strict, cloistered sumo world with regular breaches of protocol such as telling Japanese journalists to “Drop dead!”
But there is an undercurrent of xenophobia detectable in the increasingly frequent tabloid attacks on the 28-year-old wrestler, who needed around-the-clock police protection after receiving a death threat earlier this year.
Mongolian sumo grand champion Asashoryu is the self-styled bad boy of Japan’s ancient sport, a man who once yanked a rival’s hair before picking a soapy bathtub fight with the same opponent and later being accused of smashing the same wrestler’s car mirror.
To many seasoned sumo observers, he lacks the dignity required to hold sumo’s elite rank of “yokozuna”. To others, he is simply eccentric.