<DATE> Contents

SOS - Shinjinrui on Sumo  
Chris Gould
Wrapping up his look at increasing the popularity of sumo, Chris Gould caps a series the NSK would do well to refer to.
Sumo Souvenirs  
Mark Buckton
Souvenirs are a part of every sport and sumo is no different - or is it? A look at collectibles and the downright trashy, the bona fide versus the unproven.
Rikishi of Old  
Joe Kuroda
Joe Kuroda's latest look at times past focuses on former makunouchi man Dewagatake.
Eric Evaluates  
Eric Blair
Eric takes a no-nonsense look at the claims of fixed bouts in the Japanese media.
Rikishi Diary  
Mark Kent
Mark Kent - English pro-wrestler and amateur heavyweight sumotori - takes us through the first month or so of his training and preparation for the various European events lined up in in 2007.
Heya Peek  
Chris Gould
SFM's Chris Gould was in Japan for the Hatsu Basho and popped along to the new Shikoroyama Beya to give SFM an online exclusive peek into sumo's newest heya.
SFM Interview  
Mark Buckton
Mark interviews Mark - Buckton on Kent that is as Mark Kent, the UK's only active heavyweight amateur answers a few questions on his own recent entry into the sport.
Photo Bonanzas  
Sumo Forum stepped in to take the weight off the shoulders of SFM as far as Hatsu went so we could sit back, relax, enjoy the sumo and take a few more select pics you won't see anywhere else.
Hatsu Basho Summary
Lon Howard
Lon wraps the Hatsu Basho and chucks in a few bits on the rush of henka that threatens to sully the good name of at least one foreign ozeki.
Sumo Menko  
Ryan Laughton
Sumo cards of old brought to life by expert collector Ryan Laughton. None of your BBM here.
Haru Ones To Watch
Carolyn Todd
Carolyn ponders and puts fingers to keys on the ones to watch come March and the Haru Basho.
Kimarite Focus  
Mikko Mattila
Mikko's latest look at sumo's kimarite offers unequalled analysis and in depth explanations.
Amateur Angles  
Howard Gilbert
Howard looks at the 'sumo factory' of lore - Nichidai.
Kokugi Konnections
Todd Lambert
Click on Todd's bimonthly focus on three of the best the WWW has to offer.
Fan Debate
Facilitator - Carolyn Todd
Moti Dichne comes back for more and takes on Bradley Sutton on the subject of 'Modernize the heya - yea or nay?'
SFM Cartoons
Benny Loh & Stephen Thompson
In this issue's cartoon bonanza, sit back and sample Benny's artistic offerings.
Sumo Odds & Ends
SFM's interactive elements - as always includes Henka Sightings, Elevator Rikishi and Eternal Banzuke!
Let's Hear From You
What was it that made you a sumo fan? Ryan Laughton - sumo fan and menko expert reveals all.
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 a genuine banzuke.

Amateur Angles #5
Nichidai’s supremacy

by Howard Gilbert
title for the past two years. In 2006, Nichidai had seven of the final 16 individual competitors at the University Championships. Also, the last two amateur yokozuna, the winners of the All Japan Sumo Championships, Yoshida and Ichihara, were Nichidai men.

The mastermind behind much of Nichidai’s success has been the manager of the sumo club since 1983, Hidetoshi Tanaka. Mr Tanaka is well-known in amateur sumo circles not only as the head of Nichidai’s club. He has been involved as a coach and manager at the university for almost 40 years, but before that he was one of their star sumo athletes. He was the student yokozuna in his third year at college, and was a contemporary of Wajima, who later went on to become the 54th yokozuna in ōzumō. After graduating from Nichidai, Mr Tanaka took a position as a teaching assistant and began to coach the sumo club. During this time he was still active as an amateur athlete himself, winning the amateur yokozuna title three times in 1969, 1970 and 1974. He eventually retired as an athlete in 1980 with a total haul of 34 titles during his career.

Obviously the Nichidai sumo programme was already strong enough to groom athletes such as Tanaka and Wajima during


The last Amateur Angles column had a deadline just before the All Japan Sumo Championships in December. I wrote about makushita tsukedashi status, and how a handful of fortunate Japanese amateur athletes each year gain eligibility for this status and an automatic passage into upper makushita (at the equivalent of makushita 15). The December tournament, the most prestigious in Japan’s amateur sumo calendar, saw Takayuki Ichihara (one of the favourites) take the title of amateur yokozuna for 2006.

Ichihara’s victory created a first in amateur sumo since the tightening of regulations for makushita tsukedashi status in 2001. As you may remember, the winner of any of four designated events is granted the exemption into makushita within a year of the tournament victory; however, since 2001, no one had won the All Japan Sumo Championships in addition to one of the other tournaments. Ichihara became the first athlete to do this and gain the extra advantage of starting at makushita 10. This gave him an 
even better chance to become a sekitori after only one basho; however, to reach juryo would still have required a superb 6-1 or 7-0 record, and he finished with two losses from his seven bouts.

This edition’s column is not about Ichihara, his first basho, or even the likelihood of him becoming a sekitori. I will look instead at Ichihara’s alma mater, Nihon University (Nichidai), and how it has become a production line for top class amateur athletes and more than passable ōzumō rikishi. Indeed, so successful is the university’s sumo club at producing quality athletes, so dominant is the university, and so successful are its graduates that perhaps we should consider it akin to an unofficial heya.

Nihon University regularly sweeps all before it in the major annual amateur sumo tournaments, both in the individual and team competition; for example, Nichidai has won the team competition at the All Japan University Championships for the last three years and its team members have won the individual


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