<DATE> Contents

SOS - Shinjinrui on Sumo
Chris Gould
Chris sinks his teeth deeper into how sumo can go about pulling in the younger fans in part two of a three-part series.
Azumazeki up close and personal
Steven Pascal-Joiner / William Titus
A wiz with a pen and a wiz with a lens get together with SFM to share their time with Azumazeki Oyakata - Takamiyama as was - with the wider sumo following world.
Rikishi of Old
Joe Kuroda
Joe Kuroda takes a detailed look at the life and times of a former yokozuna forgotten by many - Maedayama.
Eric Evaluates
Eric Blair
Eric calls the musubi-no-ichiban kimarite call on nakabi in Kyushu as perhaps only he could.
Heya Peek
Jeff Kennel
First time heya visitor Jeff Kennel wrote about, photographed and even made a video of his time spent at Arashio Beya prior to the Kyushu Basho. All to be found within.
SFM Interview
Mark Buckton
Mark interviews Russian up and comer Wakanoho of Magaki Beya.
Photo Bonanzas
See behind the scenes at the Kyushu Basho, morning training in Arashio Beya through the eyes of an artist and exactly what the Azumazeki lads had to eat halfway though the July Nagoya Basho. All originals, all seen here and nowhere else, and all for you.
Kyushu Basho Summary
Lon Howard
Lon wraps the Kyushu Basho in Fukuoka and throws in some henka sighting results for good measure.
Lower Division Rikishi
Mikko Mattila
The lower divisions, their members and results get the once over thanks to Mikko's eyeing of life down below the salaried ranks.
Hatsu Ones To Watch
Carolyn Todd
Carolyn ponders and puts fingers to keys on the ones to watch come January and the Hatsu Basho.
Kimarite Focus
Mikko Mattila
Mikko's latest clarification of a handful of sumo's kimarite offers unequalled analysis and in depth explanations.
Amateur Angles
Howard Gilbert
Howard looks at makushita tsukedashi and what it means in real terms.
Kokugi Konnections
Todd Lambert
Click on Todd's bimonthly focus on three of the best sumo sites online.
Fan Debate
Facilitators - Lon Howard / Carolyn Todd
Two SFMers talk over the yokozuna benefiting from weak opposition - or not as the case may be.
SFM Cartoons
Benny Loh & Stephen Thompson
In this issue's cartoon bonanza, sit back and sample Stephen's artistic offerings.
Sumo Odds ’n’ Ends
SFM's interactive elements including Henka Sightings, Elevator Rikishi and Eternal Banzuke!
Lets Hear From You
What was it that made you a sumo fan? Starting with issue #10, the SFM staff will reveal a little of their own routes into sumo fandom - starting with Benny Loh.
Readers' Letters
See what our readers had to say since we last hit your screens.
Sumo Quiz
The Quizmaster
Answer the Qs and win yourself next basho’s banzuke.

Amateur Angles #4
Amateur yokozuna and
makushita-tsukedashi status

by Howard Gilbert

The winner of each competition is crowned respectively as the Corporate yokozuna, the Kokutai yokozuna, the Gakusei yokozuna and the Amateur yokozuna for the year. The last is the most prestigious of all, as it pits adults, university students and somehigh school students against one another for the supreme title in Japanese amateur sumo circles.

If an amateur athlete wins any of the above tournaments, they are eligible (if young enough) to enter Ōzumō at makushita-tsukedashi within one year of their tournament victory. This is currently the banzuke equivalent of makushita 15, although they are not listed on the banzuke until the next basho. If an athlete wins one of the first three tournaments AND the All Japan Sumo Championships then they are placed at makushita 10 for their debut basho.

This qualification can obviously give a new rikishi a good chance at getting into juryo and thus earn a living from sumo. However, the potential for an amateur athlete to achieve one of these four positions is relatively small, given that each only competes in three of the tournaments each year at best (corporate athletes cannot compete in student competitions and vice versa). Added to this, corporate athletes are often too old to be accepted into Ōzumō, and so the opportunities in each year are often open to only one or two select athletes. This has not always been the case, as prior to September 2001 the qualifications for receiving makushita-tsukedashi status were


In my previous Amateur Angles columns I’ve focused on amateur sumo in an international setting. For this edition I have decided to shift my focus to what has been happening in Japan with amateur sumo. There are a couple of reasons for this: most notably the international ‘season’ is over with the recent Sumo World Championships; and November and December see the two most important amateur sumo competitions on the Japanese calendar, both of which have a potential tie in with Ōzumō.

I often find myself trying to inform people that amateur sumo is quite different from professional sumo. Spreading such a message is partly the aim of my PhD thesis, but I also field a number of questions about sumo from laypeople and have to explain that I investigate a quite different sport with different aims and goals, some different rules, and that the actual form of amateur sumo challenges the male corporeality that is associated with Ōzumō. Nevertheless, amateur sumo and its professional counterpart obviously have connections, particularly when we consider both sports within the sporting landscape of Japan.

Amateur sumo, of course, can provide a setting and training ground for athletes who wish to become rikishi. While the numbers of those who cross into the professional sumo world are 
small when compared to the numbers of competitors in the amateur ranks, obviously the more able athletes are tempted personally, or persuaded by others, to try their hand at Ōzumō.

These recruits usually enter in three broad categories: those who have finished compulsory schooling at the completion of junior high school (15 years old); high school leavers (around 18 years old); and, perhaps the most technically and physically able of all, those who have competed in amateur sumo at university (around 22 years old). Almost all of these shin-deshi, start in maezumō before joining the banzuke at jonokuchi level; however, a privileged few are vaulted straight into makushita at the start of their careers. I will concentrate on this small group in this column, showing how amateur sumo can contribute to a successful career in Ōzumō.

Amateur athletes who are able to start their professional careers in makushita are those who have performed outstandingly in the amateur ranks. This is judged by winning any of the following four designated competitions: the All Japan Corporate Sumo Championships, held in September; the Adult ‘A’ grade sumo competition at the National Athletic Meet in October; the National Student Sumo Championships in November; and, the All Japan Sumo


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