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Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010

Sumo hopes to keep stablemasters in touch with iPads

Staff writers

High school girls may make rapidly tapping out messages on a cell phone look like child's play, but for sumo wrestlers — with fingers too large to hit a single key at a time — grappling with standard handsets is a gargantuan task.

News photo
Let's get digital: A man walks by the Ryogoku Kokugikan sumo arena, the main venue of the national sport, in Sumida Ward, Tokyo, on June 28. AP PHOTO

The giants of the "dohyo" may find Apple's iPad and its large touch screen more to their liking, however, when sending e-mail and browsing the Internet to communicate better with the world outside their small, exclusive circle.

That's what the Japan Sumo Association was hoping, anyway, when it sought out a way to better communicate with stablemasters. The association decided to give iPads to each of the 51 stable heads and other executives, Toshiya Arai, assistant manager of the association, told The Japan Times on Wednesday.

"We decided to deliver an iPad to each stablemaster for business communications," Arai said.

Stablemasters are often away from their home ground for tournaments, promotional tours and to scout out new talent, he said. The association used to send them business documents via regular mail and fax, but stablemasters often can't be reached.

"We are going to use iPads because we can't see documents on mobile phones," Arai said.

"It seems rather easy to use," association chief Hanaregoma was quoted as saying by AFP-JIJI following a brief training session on the popular tablet computer. "Sending e-mails was very easy.

"Time flies if you play with this," he was quoted as saying.

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