The court heard that a supermarket employee was treated horrifically when he made mistakes during grocery shopping and couldn’t speak clearly. Former stablemaster Kazuyuki Yamamura admitted to abusing one of his apprentices, including forcing him to eat a whole tub of wasabi sauce, which has been rumored to be highly toxic. According to a report published by Japan’s Kyodo News, the former stablemaster forced the young apprentice to eat eight spoonfuls of matcha (powdered green tea) in broad daylight and made him run off the ring with his hakama ripped.
Kazuyuki Yamamura – who, at one time, headed the stable of record-breaking Mongolian sumo wrestler Hakuho Sho – also admitted to a court that he stuffed a towel into his assistant’s mouth and beat him with a baseball bat.
The former athlete justified the abuse by blaming his personal assistant and driver for inadvertently making mistakes when he went grocery shopping for him – and not speaking clearly.
Other alleged abuse also reportedly took place which saw Yamamura slam the 31-year-old man’s fingers, elbows, knees, and ankles with either the bat or a hammer, and pricking a needle under his fingernails.
Nikkan Sports added that Yamamura allegedly threatened to crush the assistant’s testicles, bore an eyeball, and break his teeth.
Yamamura, 45, was arrested by Tokyo police in September on suspicion of assaulting his assistant. The assistant has never been named.
He said he felt unable to immediately report it out of consideration for Sho, but was forced to give in because the abuse was “intolerable”.
Sho, a yokozuna in sumo – the sport’s highest-ranking grand champion – had 35 wins in a row before his record was overtaken. Taiho, who had held the record for 32 bouts, is now second with 35.