<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.

Kyushu Basho Summary

by Lon Howard

After that, the one-loss rikishi also slipped from view…first Kotomitsuki on day 9, and then the next day Chiyotaikai, Kaio and fellow ozeki Tochiazuma, along with the resurgent M6 Baruto.  At that point, only the upstart M11 Homasho remained at one loss, and he was overwhelmed by Tochiazuma on day 12.  In terms of yusho intrigue, the party was over after 12 days, and that’s stretching it.    

Kainowaka ushers in Kaio

Just as he had done in September, Asashoryu claimed the yusho on the basho’s 14th day.  There was a modest scare on senshuraku against Chiyotaikai, as the ozeki bolted from the blocks and shoved him back to the edge…but like the first two days, the yokozuna was too strong, too nimble, and just too much on top of his game to be pushed out.  He twisted to the side and lifted Chiyo up and around almost in one motion, at which point the ozeki gave it up and gingerly backed out of the circle.    

Watching the four competing ozeki vainly trying to keep pace


When fans look back at what was most important about the Kyushu 2006 basho, they probably won’t settle on yokozuna Asashoryu’s 19th yusho or his 5th zensho yusho, or even his 1st ketaguri (see Eric Blair’s piece this issue).  They’ll probably say, “Wasn’t that when Shoes-on went intai?”  And then they’ll recall their vision of Kyokushuzan rising to his feet during that intai announcement and giving a deep bow to his shisho, Oshima Oyakata – reportedly something that had never happened.  If that choked a few folks up, what will the dampatsu-shiki be like?  Unknown to almost everyone, the one called the patriarch of the Mongolian rikishi had been weathering a weak heart that made him lethargic.  I cited this low energy level in the Aki summary, and now we know the truth.  He made just one appearance on the dohyo in Kyushu before making the announcement that his health was in danger, and there was no choice but to retire.  It was shocking news to everyone, but the show had to go on.

As for the basho itself – to be blunt about it, there wasn’t a lot of anticipation on opening day.  Ozeki Hakuho had apparently recovered from his bruised right knee suffered on shonichi of Aki basho and was expected to begin another tsunatori run, challenging yokozuna Asashoryu for the yusho in the process.  But
in a weird training accident several days before the basho’s start, he fractured his left big toe while stair-climbing, resulting in what was described as light surgery.  With his toe in a cast, he was forced to withdraw, which seemed to offer the Emperor’s Cup on a silver platter to Asashoryu right from the start. 

As has been customary since the yokozuna began ruling the sumo roost, during the first few days of the basho, fans looked for signs that he might be vulnerable this time out. Those who wanted to see such signs probably felt encouraged after the first two days, as he allowed Roho to spin him around on day 1, and then went for a near-fatal maki-kai against Futeno on day 2, which got him backed against the tawara.  But, as is usually the case, his extraordinary balance, strength and timing brought him back from the brink both times and, after that iffy beginning, for the rest of the basho, he dispatched his daily opposition with the ease of someone checking items off a shopping list.

Although several other rikishi remained unbeaten during the first week, there simply was never any suspense about the yusho.  One by one, the other undefeated challengers peeled away like dancers from a chorus line…ozeki Chiyotaikai on day 7, sekiwake Kotomitsuki on day 8, ozeki Kaio on day 9.


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