sumo wrestler

Takashi Saito (sumo wrestler)

was a seventeen-year old junior sumo wrestler from the Tokitsukaze stable who fought under the shikona of Tokitaizan. A novice who had only been in sumo for three months, he collapsed and died after a training session in June 2007. It subsequently emereged that he was beaten with a beer bottle and a metal baseball bat at the direction of his trainer. Saito's cause of death was originally reported as heart failure, but his father insisted on an autopsy, which revealed the abuse.

Saito's stable master, Junichi Yamamoto, admitted to beating the teen and ordering other sumo wrestlers to beat him, due to Saito's "vague attitude" towards the sport. It was also reported that Saito had run away from the stable on a number of occasions. Yamamoto was expelled by the Japan Sumo Association. Yamamoto and three wrestlers from the stable were arrested in February 2008 and have been charged with manslaughter. The incident brought substantial political pressure to the governance of the sport in Japan.

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