Takanohana wins Kodansha libel suit

Kyodo News

The Tokyo High Court ordered publishing giant Kodansha Ltd. and its president Wednesday to pay ¥8.47 million damages to sumo stablemaster Takanohana and his wife over libelous magazine articles.

Most of the 13 articles published in the weekly Shukan Gendai and monthly Gekkan Gendai in 2004 and 2005 about match-fixing scandals and family troubles related to inheritance from Takanohana’s father, the late sumo elder Futagoyama, “lack evidence and we cannot recognize that the core parts are true,” Presiding Judge Kazuhiro Umetsu said.

In 2005, Takanohana and his wife filed a defamation suit against the publisher, President Sawako Noma, writer Yorimasa Takeda and other authors, seeking ¥70 million in damages.

In the ruling, Umetsu said Noma should be held responsible for the articles because her failure to take countermeasures, despite acknowledging the risks of slandering the couple’s reputation, was “a serious fault” as Kodansha executive.