Brothers in Sumo –
part one

Brian Lewin
Brothers no longer active on the dohyo come under the SFM microscope

NHK & the Ozumo
English Broadcast

Mark Buckton
A visit to NHK, years of watching the show and the opinions of our Ed-in-Chief

Hanging With the Rikishi
Barbara Ann Klein
Barbara Ann Klein recounts her experiences with the “boys” in a pictorial diary series

Rikishi of Old
Joe Kuroda
A look at a rikishi of yesteryear with Chiyonoyama – our man for December

Sumo Exhibit at the
Edo-Tokyo Museum

Barbara Ann Klein
SFM’s Editor takes in the exhibit celebrating 80 years of the Japan Sumo Association at this famous Tokyo museum

Heya Peek
John Gunning
John’s early morning trip to Hakkaku – a visit that almost didn’t happen

SFM Interview
Dave Wiggins sits down
with SFM’s Mark Buckton to discuss the broadcast scene – and maple syrup

Photo Bonanza
What a collection – All-Japan Sumo Tournament, Hakkaku-
beya visit and sumo exhibits at the Edo-Tokyo Museum

Kyushu Basho Review
Lon Howard
Lon gives us his Kyushu Basho summary, along with the henka sightings results, and his take on the year in brief

Lower Division Rikishi
Mikko Mattila
Mikko Mattila covers lower division ups and downs

Hatsu Basho Forecast
Pierre Wohlleben & Mark
Pierre predicts the Hatsu Basho banzuke while Mark previews the ones to watch for in January

Sumo 101
Eric Blair
Eric explains all you need to know and then some about the Kokugikan building – the mecca of sumo

Kimarite Focus
Mikko Mattila
Mikko walks us through his chosen kimarite in expert fashion

John McTague
John’s unique bimonthly view of news from outside the dohyo

Online Gaming
Eric Blair
For the lowdown on Guess the Kotomitsuki – baby of SFM’s John Gunning

Kokugi Connections
Todd Lambert
Todd’s bimonthly focus on 3 of the most interesting sumo sites today

Fan Debate
Intra heya bouts –
OK or not? See what our debaters had to say

SFM Cartoons
Stephen Thompson
In the second of our cartoon bonanzas, sit back and enjoy ST’s offerings

Let’s Hear From You
What was it that made you a sumo fan? American Todd Defoe tells all

Readers’ Letters
See what SFM readers had to say since our last issue

Sumo Quiz
The Quizmaster
Answer the Qs and win yourself next basho’s banzuke.

Hatsu Banzuke Prediction

by Pierre Wohlleben

senshuraku when Kotooshu was officially promoted to the ozeki rank, making him the first new ozeki since Asashoryu more than three years ago.

Let’s hope the lanky Bulgarian manages to shake things up a bit at the rank since, for their part, the existing ozeki did almost exactly what we have come to be accustomed from them: a kadoban ozeki comfortably saving his rank (Kaio 10-5), and another ozeki falling victim to an injury (Tochiazuma 2-2-11, leaving the basho on day 4). Only this past year’s main candidate for retirement, Chiyotaikai, managed to exceed expectations with a nice 11-4 record that even saw him in the yusho race until he predictably lost his last couple of bouts. He is going to be the lead ozeki in January which, all things considered, probably makes him the prime contender for disappointment of the basho. Here’s hoping that he surprises fans again. Shin-ozeki Kotooshu

Next Home
Two months ago in this spot, I predicted the return of the joi-jin banzuke elevator, with its beneficiary/victim of the basho being Hokutoriki. Little did I know just how right I would be proven in the course of Kyushu Basho. Hokutoriki did indeed end up as maegashira west 1, and did indeed finish with a hefty make-koshi as is customary for those pushing the ‘up’ button on the elevator. But few people would have guessed just how catastrophic it turned out to be, as Hokutoriki managed only 2 wins for the worst record of all makuuchi rikishi who finished the tournament – talk about playing to type. And next basho just might see more the same on a grander scale. With most top maegashira racking up double-digit losses in Kyushu, the elevator will be in full swing for the first time in several years. However, let’s start at the top of the banzuke as always.

The twin top stories to come out of Kyushu Basho were undoubtedly Mongolian yokozuna Asashoryu and sekiwake Kotooshu from Bulgaria. For the third basho in a row, these two were responsible for most of the
basho highlights. Putting a big exclamation mark on one of the most amazing years ever enjoyed by a rikishi, Asashoryu won his record 7th consecutive yusho, pulverizing two more long-standing records in the process. He is the first to win all

Dai-yokozuna Asashoryu
six yusho in a calendar year, and did so by setting a new all-time-high with 84 wins on the year, exceeding current sumo association chairman Kitanoumi’s 1978 record by two wins. Kotooshu, while not matching the previous two performances that saw him in the yusho race until the very end of both Nagoya and Aki basho, still managed an excellent 11-4 record including a win over Asashoryu, the only loss that the yokozuna suffered in the basho. The just reward came on the Wednesday after
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