<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.
Hatsu Basho Summary
Text by Lon Howard
Photos by Carolyn Todd
which the jun-yusho went to a hiramaku rikishi so the remarks by the Rijicho with respect to the ozeki group – in and of themselves – are well taken.  The hiramaku surprise this time was the stubby M9 Toyonoshima, who didn’t give up the yusho hunt until the 14th day, when he was upended by M4 Ama.  Then, on senshuraku, as if to underline that his feat was no fluke, he embarrassed sekiwake Kotomitsuki by twirling him around and dumping him by katasukashi.  His 12-3 record was all the more astounding when you consider that he has posted nine wins only once before in his makuuchi career.  Since he’ll be at the top of the maegashira ranks in March, I’m afraid just six wins would be impressive enough; although I sense that his sumo has improved due to added weight and stability, and a more aggressive attitude on the dohyo.

Speaking of those maligned ozeki, there were Hakuho and Chiyotaikai with 10-5, Kotooshu 9-6, Kaio winning on the last two days to escape kadoban at 8-7, and Tochiazuma gamely but foolishly struggling to the end at 5-10.  Hakuho looks like sumo’s second best but still looks flummoxed at times when he’s


Asashoryu’s 20th yusho in the 2007 Hatsu basho made a big impression on some important people but it wasn’t the kind you might have expected.  In Ozumo, a yokozuna’s 20th yusho is usually a conversation-ender, removing all doubt that the man is a dai-yokozuna, an honorific reserved for a magnificent few. Not this time.  All four living men with this cachet had something to say about it after the yokozuna clinched the title on day 14 (active names used here).  Takanohana was merely tepid, citing his vigor and flexibility but Taiho said fulfilling a yokozuna’s responsibility was more important than the number of yusho, adding that his training had slackened and that he needed to grow spiritually.  Chiyonofuji implied more dedication was needed, while Kitanoumi Rijicho said that under current circumstances, 20 yusho were meaningless because of the awful state of the ozeki contingent.  The passkey to the Dai Y Club is not yet en route to Takasago Beya, and was probably put  deeper into storage when the yokozuna failed to bow to M1 Dejima after suffering his only loss of the basho on Day 3.

That – on this special occasion –
these icons were more intent on citing Asashoryu’s shortcomings than on praising him is very instructive.  These missives hit the street as soon as yusho #20 was in the bag on Day 14, so you know the reporters who asked the questions and the four men who answered them had flagged this moment beforehand, and had ample time to prepare their questions and answers.  Chiyonofuji added that Asashoryu might eventually claim 50 yusho.  A blow-up of sumo records of that proportion could re-cast the legacies of all prior dai-yokozuna.  It appears those men now believe that outcome is entirely possible. 

This was Asashoryu’s 4th consecutive yusho and the 13th time he’s clinched the Emperor’s Cup prior to senshuraku.  It’s also the 3rd straight basho in


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