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Wrestlers at Scandal-Hit Miyagino Stable Transferring to Isegahama Stable

The move is further punishment of former yokozuna Hakuho, whose protege Hokuseiho committed physical violence at Miyagino stable, leading to sanctions.



Miyagino Stable
Sumo wrestlers return to Miyagino stable in Tokyo's Sumida Ward on March 28, five days after finishing the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament. They are relocating to Isegahama stable to train. (KYODO)

The Japan Sumo Association handed out further punishment to former grand champion Hakuho on Thursday, March 28 when it announced the closure of his Miyagino stable for the foreseeable future.

In February, the JSA decided to demote Hakuho after it was revealed that his 22-year-old protege Hokuseiho had repeatedly subjected two junior wrestlers at the stable to physical abuse.

On Thursday, sumo officials announced that all wrestlers of the Miyagino stable will be transferred to the Isegahama stable.

Former yokozuna Hakuho, now known as Miyagino stablemaster, was in charge of the stable when Hokuseiho committed the physical abuse.

Hakuho claimed to be unaware of the violence going on at his stable, reported to have taken place for more than a year, starting in 2022. But the JSA wasn't buying that. Some of the violent acts included slapping the faces of the young wrestlers and hitting their buttocks with a broom handle.

Hakuho won a record 45 championships in his illustrious career but his reputation has taken a hit due to the scandal involving the Mongolian-born, Hokkaido-raised Hokuseiho, who was wrestling in the elite division but was forced to retire.

Negotiations for the transfer had been underway since the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament began earlier this month. The initial plan was for the Miyagino wrestlers to go to several different stables But the JSA decided to transfer all of them to the Isegahama stable.

Miyagino Stable
Hakuho will begin working at the Isegahama stable. (©SANKEI)

Miyagino Stable Could Reopen in the Future

This isn't necessarily the end of Hakuho's career as Miyagino stablemaster. He is going to the Isegahama stable to be re-educated as a stablemaster and sumo elder.

"It doesn't mean the [Miyagino] stable will disappear. It is going to be under control temporarily," JSA public relations manager Sadogatake said, according to Kyodo News. "We're hopeful of sumo elder Miyagino nurturing good wrestlers again."

Mongolian-born Hakuho retired in September 2021 before taking over the stable in July 2022. 

Isegahama stablemaster, former yokozuna Asahifuji, will report on Hakuho to the JSA after each grand tournament held every two months.

The Isegahama stable is home to approximately 20 wrestlers, including lone yokozuna Terunofuji and rising star Takerufuji, who won the Spring Basho on Sunday, March 24 as a top-division rookie.

The addition of the 20 Miyagino wrestlers will create sumo's biggest stable.


Author: Jim Armstrong

The author is a longtime journalist who has covered sports in Japan for over 25 years. You can find his articles on SportsLook.


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