Sumo wrestling is a sport that is well known in many countries around the world. Japanese in origin it may be, sumo wrestling has certainly surpassed geographic boundaries. It’s popularity is such that people from other countries actually go to Japan to learn and practice this sport.
Much like other sports, however, it seems that sumo wrestling is not exempt from scandal. Only recently, a report circulated in which Russian sumo wrestlers were arrested due to the use of marijuana. ABC News has this story:
Two Russian sumo wrestlers tested positive for marijuana use in Japan less than a month after a fellow Russian wrestler was arrested for possession of pot, the country’s association of sumo wrestlers said today.
It’s the first drug scandal in the roughly 2,000 year history of sumo wrestling and the latest in a rising number of marijuana incidents in Japan, a country with harsh penalties for drug offenders.
Considering that this is the first drug scandal within the world of sumo wrestling, you can just imagine how grave the offense is in the eyes of the authorities. After all, sumo wrestling is not merely a sport in Japan, it is considered a cultural activity. I suppose that this is the beginning of a new era in the sport, wherein they would have to consider things that they didn’t before. Even the authorities think so:
“Drugs are in the country. That is a fact. We cannot turn back the clock. Treating users as outcasts will not stop the spread of drugs. We need a systematic and comprehensive approach to work with users and to help them get rid of their habit,” Kondo said. “It is no longer a foreign thing. It really can happen to anyone.”