This chapter addresses sports through an analysis of sumo wrestling and the relation between law and norms in this culturally “Japanese” institution. Its focus is the myriad of formal legal rules and informal social norms that sumo has developed outside the usual confines of the law to structure and define its internal relationships. “Social norms” are informal societal constraints that generally are not enforceable under law. Rules and norms in the Sumo Association interact in mutually reinforcing ways that help maintain control within the association. The law-based elder share regime forms the basis of the control structure, norms help determine its application, and norms, in some situations, are codified into new rules.
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