“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.”