Sumo's Foreign Invasion

Mark Buckton
Sumo - still Japanese or truly International?

Rikishi of Old
Joe Kuroda
A look at a rikishi of yesteryear with Umegatani II our man for June

Heya Peek
John Gunning
John attends asageiko at Takasago-beya to give us the first of his bimonthly looks at sumo's stables

Photo Bonanza
Kurt Easterwood & Quinlan Faris
Kurt & Quin treat us to some of the best sumo pics around - and seen nowhere else

May Basho Review
Lon Howard & John Gunning
Lon gives us his Natsu Basho summary and his take on upset of the tournament while John chips in with his 'gem' of the basho

Division Rikishi
Mikko Mattila

Mikko provides his round up of the boys in Makushita and below at the Natsu Basho

July Basho Forecast
Pierre Wohlleben & Mark Buckton

Pierre predicts the Nagoya Basho banzuke while Mark previews the ones to watch next time out

Sumo 101
Barbara Ann Klein

Rhyme and reason behind the pre-tachiai rituals that mystified us all as beginners

Kimarite Focus
Mikko Mattila
Mikko walks us through A, B & C

John McTague

John's unique view of news from outside the dohyo

Las Vegas Jungyo Teaser
Ngozi Robinson
Months away but like kids at Christmas we are still too excited not to mention it

Online Gaming
Moti Dichne
Hear from the founder of Guess the Banzuke (GTB) on exactly what makes it tick

Le Monde Du Sumo
The original team at MDS tells us how it all started

Sumo Mouse
Todd Lambert
Heya Links Galore and a focus on 3

Fan Debate
JR & EB square off: Right or Left - which should Asashoryu use when receiving kensho?

Let's Hear from You
What was it that made you a sumo fan?

Ngozi Asks
Question of the month - What is Sumo?

Sumo Quiz
The Quizmaster

Answer the Qs and win yourself next basho's banzuke

Nagoya Banzuke Prediction

by Pierre Wohlleben

fared particularly badly and will be at his lowest rank in about two years.

Moving on to the bottom of the division, the question of who drops down and who gets promoted from juryo appears to be settled, unless the Kyokai throws in a surprise or two. Toki and Shimotori went make-koshi at the lowest, M17 rank and are guaranteed to find themselves in juryo for Nagoya. They will be joined by Hayateumi who had to leave the May tournament with an injury, and veteran maegashira elevator rikishi Tokitsuumi who will be ranked in juryo for the first time in seven years.

Yusho winner Tochisakae recovered quickly from his latest injury spell that forced him to sit out the January tournament. and returns to makuuchi after just two basho in juryo with a combined 23-7 record. Young rikishi Tamaasuka and Hakurozan both scored 10-5 in May and will make their makuuchi debuts. The last open slot should go to Ishide who earned himself a return to makuuchi by rallying from 3-7 to 8-7 at the end of Natsu basho. Additional spots in makuuchi could conceivably go to Senshuyama and Otsukasa, who both went 9-6 at J4, but their bid for promotion likely isn't strong enough with those results, compared to the records of the two rikishi next in line for possible demotion, Takanowaka and Toyozakura. All four of them will probably just barely
Next Home
The Nagoya basho is fast approaching. This column will attempt to give a bit of a preview on the next banzuke and a few notable facts about it. See here for a complete banzuke guess for both Makuuchi and Juryo. As always, such a prediction naturally involves plenty of guesswork, so keep in mind that not all of the below may turn out to be exactly correct when the Kyokai releases the actual banzuke on June 27th.

Asashoryu continued his unquestioned dominance of sumo in March, scoring the fourth zensho yusho of his career by winning all 15 bouts. He remains the sole yokozuna on the banzuke, a situation that has become a familiar sight by now. Ozeki Tochiazuma will occupy the top ozeki position for the first time since January 2004, when he was fresh off his second tournament victory. Chiyotaikai and Kaio will take spots on the West side.

Hakuho's 9-6 record in March may not have been good enough to keep his rank, as Kotomitsuki's outstanding 13-2 at komusubi east may very well push him up to sekiwake east and displace Hakuho to the sekiwake west rank. Bulgarian

rikishi Kotooshu is a shoe-in for komusubi east, while the West slot is up for grabs between Miyabiyama and Mongolian veteran Kyokushuzan, whose career-best 12-3 record may see him just barely miss out on a return to sanyaku more than eight years after his last appearance there.

The maegashira half of the top 16 rikishi, affectionately known as the meatgrinder, consists mostly of familiar faces riding the elevator, but does include a couple of rikishi to watch for this time. Hokutoriki will likely achieve his highest rank since he nearly won Natsu basho 2004 (and subsequently flamed out at Sekiwake) and will meet Asashoryu again in a tournament exactly one year after their last bout. Futeno had an excellent outing last basho and will find himself facing sanyaku opposition for the first time in his career. The Musashigawa duo of Dejima and Kakizoe also return to the meatgrinder after brief absences. Several perennial sanyaku contenders such as Kokkai, Tochinonada and Iwakiyama had worse than expected results last time around and will get easier opponents in July. Iwakiyama

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