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Sumo scandal gets iPad relief

'Too fat to text' no longer excuse

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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