El Sumo y la Yakuza

OSAKA – Quizás ningún otro deporte se lleve a cabo tan religiosamente como la lucha de sumo. Antes de un combate, los árbitros (que además son sacerdotes Shinto) purifican las algas marinas, la sal y el sake. Los luchadores lavan sus rostros, bocas y axilas antes de ingresar al dohyo (cuadrilátero), en cuyas arenas sagradas no pueden ingresar hombres con zapatos ni mujeres. Antes del comienzo de un combate, los dos contrincantes levantan las manos para mostrar que no ocultan armas en los pliegues de su cinturón con aspecto de taparrabos.

Los dirigentes de la Asociación Japonesa de Sumo (JSA), luchadores retirados que rigen el deporte, se ven a sí mismos menos como administradores que como guardianes de una tradición sacra. Promueven a luchadores a los niveles más altos no sólo por su mérito bruto, sino según cuánta hinkaku (dignidad) piensan que poseen.

Esa dignidad se está desvaneciendo. Las acusaciones de combates arreglados, consumo de drogas, orgías y vínculos con mafiosos entre las principales estrellas de sumo han enfurecido al público japonés. De hecho, los círculos de sumo se enfrentan a una creciente pérdida de reputación pública que hace que muchos japoneses se pregunten si el país, tras 20 años de estancamiento, es realmente capaz de purificarse.

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