This morning I got to the training session of the Minezaki Stable, just one day before the controversial Summer Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament is to begin. The same old faces were there, practising hard, but looking far more ready and experienced. However, there was one new addition, a young Caucasian who looked like he was just giving it a go, and today was perhaps his first day.
The sumo association has been rocked by a series of controversies, and the latest includes cavorting with the criminal underground. This has caused the association to be censured for the first time. The national broadcaster, NHK, will not air this tournament live on TV, but show pre-recorded highlights after 7pm (one hour after the last bout). A lot of community support had been withdrawn from the association and individual stables. Usually, there must be absolute silence from on-lookers (like me) during the practice sessions, and absolutely, now flash photography. So, it’s little wonder that the Minezaki Stable appeared to allow an outsider to tryout today, and a group of children to watch, and not be told off for the racket they were making.
I’ve photographed this stable before, mainly because I really like the location, accessibility, and that there is the potential that I might be photographing a future top wrestler already. You never know.