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Sumo scandal gets iPad relief

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The gloriously corpulent cadre of Japanese ring warriors known in the West as sumo wrestlers and in their home country as rikishi have a new tool to help them communicate among themselves: the iPad.

The Telegraph reports that the Japan Sumo Association has distributed 60 iPads to members of its stables — yes, that's what sumo-wrestling groups are called — because their righteously rotund rishiki found their beefy digits too plump to poke a smartphone's tiny keys.

"It seems rather easy to use," said Hanaregoma, who was recently elected as chairman of the scandal-plagued JAS. "Sending emails was very easy."

Hanaregoma, as you've noticed, shares the one-name honorific traditional in the sport — as fans of top-flight rishiki such as Taiho, Akebono, Konishiki, and Takanohana are aware. Think of them as the Nipponese equivalents of Pelé, A-Rod, Renaldo — or, for that matter, Madonna and Iman.

According to the Telegraph, there's a political motivation behind the provision of iPads to the pachydermally portly pashas of push-and-pull pugilism. The JAS is recovering from a series of scandals involving underworld connections and match-fixing, exacerbated by the fact that an internal investigation into rishikigate was hampered by poor communication among the sport's leaders, many of whom — like Hanaregoma — are retired wrestlers themselves.

Now that the plus-sized warriors no longer have to send emails by pecking away on itty-bitty smartphone keyboards with overly upholstered fingers, that excuse is gone. ®

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