NHK & the Ozumo
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
Sumo Exhibit at the
Barbara Ann Klein
SFM’s Editor takes in the exhibit celebrating 80 years of the Japan Sumo Association at this famous Tokyo museum
What a collection – All-Japan Sumo Tournament, Hakkaku-
beya visit and sumo exhibits at the Edo-Tokyo Museum
Kyushu Basho Review
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 covers lower division ups and downs
Eric explains all you need to know and then some about the Kokugikan building – the mecca of sumo
John’s unique bimonthly view of news from outside the dohyo
For the lowdown on Guess the Kotomitsuki – baby of SFM’s John Gunning
Todd’s bimonthly focus on 3 of the most interesting sumo sites today
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
See what SFM readers had to say since our last issue
Answer the Qs and win yourself next basho’s banzuke.
SAME HEYA BOUTS – Yea or Nay
Mark Buckton: On the issue of rikishi from the same heya coming up against each other during hon-basho, I will opt for laying most of my cards on the table from the get-go by saying just one word: Takanohana. A great yokozuna with some awesome sumo skills but one who won, in my opinion, a few Emperor’s Cups more than he would have had he been forced to face the ‘cream’ of the sekitori of his day. His brother, former yokozuna Wakanohana III, former ozeki Takanonami and former sanyaku regular Takatoriki are examples of those he never faced in regular competition; while Akebono and Musashimaru had to face all of them – basho in and basho out – in addition to facing each other. History shows that these two yokozuna held the Emperor’s Cup aloft fewer times, but against more consistently talented opposition than Takanohana ever faced.
Emmett Wayne: Mark, I don’t know how you can really believe what you say about intra-heya bouts. With all of the current rumors and innuendo about yaocho in sumo, do you really believe that intra-heya bouts would not make an already tenuous situation worse? Surely you can’t believe that Takanonami and Takatoriki would not ‘lay one down for the team’ if they faced Takanohana.
Almost all sumo fans know that it is forbidden for rikishi from the same heya to take on each other in a hon-basho, except to settle the yusho in a playoff. Most fans also know that removing this prohibition is perennially offered as one solution to some of sumo’s ills or perceived ills. One of those fans is in fact our own Editor-in-Chief, Mark Buckton, who couldn’t resist the opportunity to state his own case for reform. Emmett Wayne resolutely disagrees with Mark and is here to tell us why.
Emmett resides in Hinesville, Georgia, USA, near Savannah. After retiring from active service as an officer in the United States Army, Emmett now serves as an Army civilian. His travels for the government include two trips to Japan, totaling five years. He became a sumo enthusiast during his first tour in Japan in 1989-1992, learning the sport from watching the great Chiyonofuji and the big Hawaiian, Konishiki. Moving back to Japan in 2003, Emmett broadened his sumo knowledge through the use of the Internet, and took advantage of his location to visit Musashigawa Beya on two occasions, and make two treks to the Kokugikan during hon-basho for a day of sumo. He recently departed for Balad, Iraq for a six-month deployment with the U.S. Armed Forces.
Like Emmett Wayne, Mark Buckton once wore the uniform of his nation’s military (British Royal Air Force) and even spent time in northern Iraq in the wake of the Gulf War. Having departed the rank and file in the mid-90s though, he has spent the majority of the decade since in northeast Tokyo, just around the corner from Tamanoi-beya. Mark is the Editor-in-Chief of Sumo Fan Magazine, but participates here as just another fan – albeit one with a differing view to Emmett. By day, he works in teaching and also contributes to a handful of other Japan-related magazines – some available in Japan, others worldwide but non-linked in any way shape or form to sumo, he is sad to report.
Lon Howard: Mark, I’m sure you’re aware that to some fans, rescinding this rule would be
like coloring green tea. How can you support it?