<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.

Let's Hear From You!

What Made You A Fan?

by Ryan Laughton
in love with the sport.  I did enjoy collecting sumo menko after that, however, since I was a baseball card collector in my youth.  At the time it was more about the menko than the sport itself.  After I got back to the States I took a hiatus on collecting sumo menko and watching sumo.  Then I discovered what E-bay could do in bringing sumo menko collecting back into my life.  This was just in time for the 2006 Haru Basho.  I decided if I was really going to be a sumo menko collector I needed to be a sumo fan first.  After that I was an avid Live-Stream Spectator and dove into the finer points of sumo which I had neglected to previously learn such as history, technique, culture, heya life, etc.

Now to why I am here telling you my story.  While on E-bay I started communicating with one of my bidding competitors on sumo menko.  I quickly learned that he is truly the godfather of sumo menko collecting here in the US.  He has been at this far longer than I have and has a much more extensive collection.  Dismayed at the extreme lack of sumo menko information anywhere, we discussed plans about a website dedicated only to 1930-1970’s sumo menko and soon afterwards www.sumomenko.com was born.  The main goal with sumomenko.com is to try and document this fascinating piece of sumo history before too many years pass and it is lost forever.  So there you have it; collecting sumo menko has made me a sumo fan.  I hope you enjoy the upcoming articles on sumo menko that Mark has asked me to write for SFM and who knows, maybe a sumo menko collector or two will emerge out of some of the sumo fans out there. 


Each issue of SFM, We’ll ask one of you
to tell us something about you and sumo.
Think you have something readers would like to know?
Write our letters section!  Enjoy.

Like some sumo fans, I can’t pinpoint a single event that transformed me from “Hmm…two fat guys…” to “Wow!  Two skilled athletes….”  I guess in the end it really doesn’t matter as long as this transition occurred.  I consider my transition born out of necessity rather than intrigue, but I now find sumo extremely fascinating and exciting.  Without further delay, here’s that story….

Before 1994 my biggest impression of Japan was that they built a really good car.  In fact, there weren’t too many foreign impressions for me growing up in small town Wyoming.  Through no fault of anyone or anything, pre-internet/cable TV WY was hard up for foreign culture.  The biggest foreign affair was running down to the video store owned by a Korean family to rent a movie.  That all changed the summer before my first year of college at approximately 7:00 a.m. on one Saturday morning.  Not wanting to do much beyond sleeping, I took a telephone call and vaguely agreed to do something, somewhere, and for someone as a part-time job in college.  When I woke up later that day I deduced I had agreed to be an English Conversation  Teacher to help foreign students studying English.  Rather than renege on the job, I decided I might as well max out my culture shock since I was going to

college in Kansas anyway.  This turned out to be one of the best jobs in my life.  I met people from around the world and learned what I had been missing the first 18 culturally barren years of my life.  During my two years at that job I hung around with quite a few Japanese friends and decided that after I got done squeezing my 4 years of higher education into 5 years I was going to live in Japan and teach English.

Fast forward to the year 2000 and I had been in Japan for almost a year.  While on a prepackaged JTB onsen tour in Kyushu I was wandering “downtown” during one of our stops and came across two unopened boxes of 1958 Dash 7-8 sumo menko cards.  Note: Menko are cards used in a flipping game much like the POGs of today.  The menko were still wrapped in delicate tissue, the gold proof plates were all there and the boxes even had the original twine wrapped around them.  At the time I had no clue what any of this meant, but I knew I had to have them.  Enter biggest regret of collecting sumo menko; only buying one box and not both!  Now I watched sumo on NHK and even considered myself a “big” fan since I followed the tournaments more than 95% of the Japanese population my age did, but I never really fell 


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