<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.

Ketaguri my #$&” –
‘twas a henka sir!
A henka I tell you

by Eric Blair

Benedict the umpteenth, George Orwell or Bill Clinton – take your pick!

To be honest, the shock of what I saw that day is still reverberating around this little head of mine - a full 10 days after the crime / kimarite in question.

Yes, I know the move of ketaguri is legitimate. Yes, I know there is no rule against using any official kimarite regardless of rank and oh yes, I do know that the yokozuna has previously stated his desire to use each and every one of the official kimarite before he packs his mawashi away for the last time.

So, why do I feel cheated? Simple – the move pulled by Mongolian Yokozuna Asashoryu on Day 8 of the 2006, Kyushu Basho amounts to ‘henka’   – nothing more, nothing less – hatakikomi mixed in with a limited dose of hikiotoshi plain and simple. Seen at tachiai these two kimarite are deemed henka.

Think about it – hatakikomi and / or hikiotoshi more often than not involve one rikishi dodging out of the way as his head down, sometimes eyes closed, foe charges forward to be met by nothing other than a hand on the back of his head, neck or shoulder and, a split second later, the dohyo / tawara / pensioner in row one (this last possibility depending on initial speed at the tachiai)

Ask yourself:

1.    Did the yokozuna move to the side as Kisenosato leapt into the fray?

2.    Did the yokozuna use the pressure of his hand / hands on


Last month’s basho had much worthy of storing in the memory banks: Kaio’s first-week string of eight wins since black and white television gave way to colour, the rest of the participating ozeki finishing with decent kachikoshi, and of course Homasho’s so near yet still so far run that saw him in title contention up until the final weekend. A few rikishi had basho they’d rather forget but good on at least two of them – Messrs. Kokkai (3-12) and Iwakiyama (2-13) – for sticking it out until the final whistle when weaker men would have feigned injury to save face.

The points above notwithstanding, the reason Kyushu 2006 will long prove memorable and will forever be something of a millstone around the yokozuna’s neck can be whittled down to just three words – four if you are grammatically picky: It wasn’t ketaguri.

“November 19th, 2006 - a day that will live in infamy” might be something of an exaggeration given the fact that sumo is a sport and everyone goofs sometimes but we are talking yokozuna here. Not your normal man in the street who calls in sick every now and then when he has a hangover from hell – yokozuna. Let me repeat – yokozuna! Give me a Y, give me an O – you get the pic. Are not the Ys supposed to be above the daily trivialities, the deceit-riddled lives of the majority?
Aren’t they?

Am I grasping at straws looking for idols that don’t really exist?

Let’s look at the facts of day 8’s musubi-no-ichiban at Kyushu, 2006.

1.    Asashoryu – lone yokozuna and a man head and shoulders above all others in the modern game went against 20-year-old Kisenosato in the last bout of the day.

2.    He did so having lost against the young komusubi from Ibaraki Prefecture in the previous tournament

3.    When the gyoji pointed his gumbai it was towards the east – indicating a win for the yokozuna.

4.    The kimarite called by the stadium announcer was “ketaguri’

Nothing controversial thus far – all as the record books state if I am not mistaken.

So, why did I and millions around Japan, many around the world even, feel as if the yokozuna had pulled a dirty? Why was my head shaking in disgust as I sat beneath a huge invisible question mark as the yokozuna made his way back to the shitakubeya?

Because – and not to put too fine point on it, if that was a bona fide ‘ketaguri’ then my name is


L10 Web Stats Reporter 3.15