<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.

Sumo Souvenirs

by Mark Buckton

the numerous facilities set up to peddle the latest sumo wares to a visiting and hopefully enthralled public.

Some specialize in the more expensive bits and pieces such as hand-drawn artwork or sekitori statues while others sell everything from your run of the mill tegata prints of the top-ranking sekitori at a reasonable 320 Japanese yen a pop to Kokugikan- or gumbai-shaped chocolates!

Drawing of Kisenosato

Towels, fans, sekitori puppets and even ashtrays – in a range of designs - form but a miniscule sampling of the goodies on offer inside sumo’s premier arena while, in the streets outside, sumo wine, sake and beer cans can be had for prices not far above the norm.

Famed sumo and Edo era trinkets shop Takahashi on the road to Kinshicho plus the relatively new facility based in the main building of the nearby Ryogoku JR


The Oxford English Dictionary lists a souvenir as; a memento of an occasion, place etc.

While this may or may not be a description that stands in-sync with the majority of opinions on the subject, the fact is that souvenirs are part and parcel of any sport / entertainment in the modern era.

If you are into the Japanese form of theatre known as kabuki then there could be nothing better than getting hold of your favorite actor’s oshiguma – the pressed impression of an actor’s make up on cloth made after a performance.

If football is your forte, then signed, preferably used, shirts are the bees’ knees. For fans of Britney – her now detached locks plus the empty can of Red Bull she was apparently drinking at the time!

Sumo-related souvenirs are no different in their ability to connect idol with idolater and, while potentially different in size, shape and form, are valued by some, considered trash by others.

So, in a time of mass production and even Hello Kitty getting in on the sumo act, where does one start, where does one look for the very best – be ‘best’ interpreted as cheapest, most rare or unusual, or simply the most ‘out
there’ – we all have our takes.

Obviously, as with baseball, soccer and the like, sumo has its Mecca – the Ryogoku Kokugikan. Furthermore, as is the case at Wembley for the pig’s bladder-kicking fans, Yankee Stadium for the followers of ‘hit ball then run – dat simple’ and even Lords or the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground) for other ball plus stick = entertainment, types, there is NO better place than the designated focal point of a given sport to start the hunt for souvenirs.

In Japan’s capital of Tokyo, ‘tis towards the eastern ward of Sumida that sumoites flock each day of a given basho and ‘tis in the corridors running around the main arena that the majority will therefore find satisfaction and fulfillment in their quest for the ultimate souvenir to take home.

But this is where things get a tad strange. For an organization so often chided or outright hammered for remaining rooted in the past, the Nihon Sumo Kyokai (NSK) has got its head well and truly screwed on when it comes to selling the ‘image’ or flogging the fables as one might term it when taking a gander at their souvenir stands.

Eatables, drinkables and of course ‘take homeables’ line the display cases and rear walls of


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