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Re: [oyakata video] Tatsunami lost to former Tatsunami at court


Court puts 175 mil. yen price on sumo stable license

Yomiuri Shimbun

The Tokyo District Court on Monday ordered the oyakata (master) of the Tatsunami sumo stable, former komusubi Asahiyutaka, to pay his predecessor, former sekiwake Haguroyama, 175 million yen for the right to inherit his license as a stablemaster and senior member of the Japan Sumo Association.

The ruling, which awarded the plaintiff the exact amount requested, is expected to influence the sumo world as it puts an exact price on the license, which the sumo association does not officially sanction selling.

Presiding Judge Tsuyoshi Ono said, "The court recognizes that there was an oral agreement made between the two for the current oyakata to pay his predecessor a suitable amount for taking over possession of the license, in accordance with what is practiced in the sumo world."

According to the ruling, such licenses are in actuality bought and sold among members of the sumo world as they are deemed to have monetary value.

It added that as the Tatsunami stable is a major name in the sumo world, the current oyakata would have to pay at least 175 million yen to inherit his predecessor's license.

The former oyakata had taken in Asahiyutaka, who was then in the Oshima stable, as an adopted son and a husband for his daughter in April 1995. After he retired from his post in February 1999, he passed on the license to his son-in-law.

However, the two began to quarrel over the operation of the Tatsunami stable, and their relationship soured. The former oyakata began seeking an anullment of his adoption, as well as payment of the "market price" of 175 million yen for inheriting the license.

Lawyers for the plaintiff had argued that it was common practice in the sumo world for the inheritor of the license to compensate his predecessor. Lawyers for the defendant, however, countered that Asahiyutaka had never promised to pay the favor back in cash.

The JSA has issued only 105 licenses, but has separately issued exclusive, lifetime licenses to former yokozuna Taiho, Kitanoumi and Takanohana for their outstanding contributions to the sport.

Traditionally, a disciple who has inherited his master's license was supposed to repay the honor by looking after his predecessor's family. However, in recent years, it has become common for the new oyakata to simply repay the favor in cash.

Meanwhile, Kitanoumi, chairman of the JSA, said, "It's customary for the certificate to be handed down from generation to generation. However, I can't currently comment on this case as I have not been informed of the situation by the parties concerned and I don't completely understand the situation."

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