'Freakonomics' documentary looks at sumo match-fixing scandal

TOKYO —

“Freakonomics,” a documentary adapted from a book by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, that has sold over 4 million copies in 35 languages, will be released in Japan on May 28. But it won’t be welcomed by sumo wrestlers or their patrons, nor those who believe that sumo is a clean sport and wrestlers fight solely for the love of the game.

“Freakonomics” explores the recent sumo match-fixing scandal as one of the examples the filmmakers use to prove that, yes, based on economic theories and statistics, people do what they do because they have incentives. The documentary investigates the cheating and shady corporate side of the sumo business as part of the overall investigation of what motivates people to do what they do.

The movie is put together from several different parts by different award-winning documentary filmmakers. Alex Gibney, who won the 2007 Best Documentary Feature Academy Award for his “Taxi to the Dark Side,” contributes to the movie with his sumo segment, titled “Pure Corruption.”

  • 0

    Sarge

    I won't be seeing this movie or reading the book from which it was spawned.

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    GJDailleult

    This just show again that the JSA has only themselves to blame for the current situation. It was common knowledge that there was match fixing going on, and that these guys had demonstrated it statistically. The JSA either needed to put a stop to it, or to say it was no big deal, just an issue of the ranking system for lower ranked wrestlers, and didn't affect the overall integrity of the sport at the top level. They did neither, they denied it, and that is what blew up on them.

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    whyRUasking

    I won't be seeing this movie or reading the book from which it was spawned.

    And the world kept spinning and nobody really cares, Sarge.

    Great book. Real eye opener. Should be interesting. I wonder what other aspects of the book will be explored?

  • 0

    hoserfella

    Sarge - I don't quite get it. Either you don't care for documentaries as stimulating entertainment, or you refuse to believe that sumo is largely fixed. Which is it? If it's the latter, I have more bad news. There is no Santa Claus.

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    Osakadaz

    correct me if I am wrong but didn't he also expose match fixing in the J-League many years back?

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    tokyochris

    Haven't seen it yet, but one of the sections that interests me is where they see if bribing kids will make them study harder in school... looks like a decent enough set of documentaries, or at least entertaining ones anyway haha (trailer is on youtube)

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    gaijinfo

    This article makes it sound like the documentary will explore the current scandal. The book was published nearly ten years ago, so any Sumo content is based on statistics from even before that, long before this current scandal came to light.

    My favorite part of the book was where they showed that crime in America had dropped in the nineties because abortion became legal in the sixties, and all those would be criminals were aborted.

  • 0

    sf2k

    Yes it was a good read. Book was written in 2005 and includes more than just sumo match fixing.

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    sctaber56

    Why wasn't this article filed under the Business or even Sports category, instead of the Entertainment category? Just wondering... I found "Freakonomics" very enlightening when I read it several years ago.

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    goddog

    I have lost all trust in this sport. What a shame.

  • 0

    waltery

    The hardest thing to do is (not) state the obvious

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    lordmanji

    great doc. saw it on netflix. i find what they say on it regarding sumo match fixing and crime to be very believable and with hindsight, full of common sense.

  • 0

    TorafusuTorasan

    Sarge--try Superfreakonomics for its hypothesis about how prostitutes are dependent on holidays just like department store santas, if I remember it correctly. If that doesn't sound like a good read, you need to check yourself for a pulse.

  • 0

    bdiego

    Captain Obvious approves of this book.

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    bdiego

    I won't be seeing this movie or reading the book from which it was spawned.

    So? Do you have something to contribute?

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