<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.

Haru Ones to Watch

by Carolyn Todd

to Kotooshu he looks like he’d run away. Maybe it’s fear of re-injury, but whatever it is, it’s a huge change from how he hurtled into sekitorihood.

As for another ozeki, I’m worried about Kaio. He got KK but only just and he even voiced how difficult it was for him each day. When he’s on form, he’s unbelievable, throwing sekitori around like ragdolls. His technique and experience shine through but how long can his stamina hold up to make those moves possible? He keeps saying that he’s not thinking about retirement but if so, he’s the only one.

Tochiozan will surely make his makuuchi debut in Osaka after spending three basho in juryo, debuting at J11 in September 2006. His progress has been steady: 9-6, 9-6, and then a nice 10-5 at J2 in Hatsu, putting him in prime promotion position. He’s shown himself to be a good allrounder and, although he’s pretty light at 138kg, at only 19, he’s got plenty of time to bulk up if he needs. His debut should be a boost for Japanese hopes as well as for Kasugano beya as his entry will not only bring their makuuchi sekitori to four, but also marks the rise of a new generation for the heya. His long-awaited bout with contemporary Goeido will have to be put on hold again as Goeido’s still playing catch-up at J10.

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Who to watch? Maybe everyone… Given the whole yaocho situation, Asashoryu will be under the spotlight like never before. And he’s got a bit of a problem: if he wins every bout, people will say that the yaocho theory is correct. If he loses one or two or whatever, the yaocho theory is still correct because obviously it was put on hold because of all the attention and so he’s losing because really, he’s not that good. How all this upheaval affects his mood on the dohyo remains to be seen. And it’ll be interesting to see how the spectators react to him.
And what of the rest? Either they’ll be riled up and we’ll see some great sumo, or they’ll be down in the mouth and it’ll be lacklustre, or it’s all washing over their heads and it’ll be business as usual.

On non-yaocho topics, what of Baruto? He seems determined to take part, although we all know he shouldn’t. But does he really want to go ahead or is it just expected? Or does he fear further loss of position, loss of salary?  But he’s risking his whole

career… Maybe we should be taking bets on which day he goes kyujo but that would be tragic when we should be watching him developing his skills, learning how to use his strength. Instead, I’ll be cringing and peering through my fingers in fear of further disastrous injury.

With the presumed promotion of Kotoshogiku, how will the Sadogatake Sanyaku Trio fare at their debut gig? Although it must be a source of immense satisfaction to the oyakata, it’s a bitter-sweet achievement. So far, Kotooshu isn’t fulfilling his potential, Kotomitsuki is hanging onto his position fairly unconvincingly and only Shogiku has any oomph, and I’m sure he’ll be extremely happy to shed his heya Cinderella role and get some recognition. As for Kotooshu, I just wish he looked (and acted) a bit more committed – he always looks as if he’d rather be anywhere else. Asashoryu looks so confident that his opponents pretty much assume they’re going to lose, whereas if you said ‘boo’


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