Fatties In a Fix

Sumo's respectability is dented by new corruption charges

Sumo has always seemed a peculiar sport. Two behemoth-size men in loincloths rinse out their mouths with water, throw salt in a clay ring and ram their massive bodies against each other for a few seconds under the suspended roof of a Shinto shrine. "Mysterious. Religious. Philosophical." That's how retired wrestler Keisuke Itai describes sumo. But if accusations he is making are to be believed, it is a sport that is also full of cheaters.

Itai, 43, left the ring in 1991 but has stepped back into the sumo spotlight with charges that much of the flesh-to-flesh combat is mere show....

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!