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.
NHK – the future of the NSK – but only if in varied English!
That said, and notwithstanding the fact that a 1920s dohyo-iri was the first actual sumo image captured on moving film according to the Sumo Museum, the early TV days of Haguroyama, Yoshibayama and Kagamisato fell victim to limited screens on which to display their wares. Better than nothing it could be argued, but this meant that it wasn’t until the late 50s that sumo really took off on TV with yokozuna number 44 and his younger, northern Japan counterpart pulling in the TV audiences. On the back of an economic boom that lasted for decades and lead to a subsequent increase in television viewing households, the introduction of sekitori and their world of bintsuke and basho to the otherwise remote corners of the island nation was finally taking place. More importantly perhaps, then unrealised it must be assumed, this step to the outlying parts of Japan was but one small step on the journey to sumo eventually leaving these shores in the decades ahead.
Today, some 50 years on, with NHK taking the images of Asashoryu, Kotooshu and the rest of the class of ‘05’ to a global audience with the
The Heisei 4 (1992) Nagoya basho was just that little bit more special than the other five held that year – unless you won one of the other yusho perhaps, but read on and you’ll see what I mean.
Not only was it held with no yokozuna on the banzuke, and ignoring the fact that the two men who did head the rankings were both foreign born, but blind eye for a moment the relatively minor point that it was the only Emperor’s Cup the most famous salt chucker in sumo history (Mitoizumi) would ever claim AND you get to the point that it was the very basho that saw NHK introduce the usage of the English language on its BS Broadcast! The usage of the English language on its BS Broadcast! Cue Beethoven’s 9th – the famous bit!
So, whilst Takamiyama took sumo to the world for a brief moment with his early 70’s yusho victory and Channel Four
in Great Britain attempted to popularise it in Eikoku in the years before NHK went bilingual, this time, sumo truly did find itself wearing shiny new dancing shoes as it poked its head round the curtain to glimpse the world stage for the first time.
Thing is, the English side of things was arriving for the party almost 40 years after the Japanese language broadcast had tidied up and put away the glasses. Still, better late than never – it isn’t Asashoryu’s fault he never faced Taiho.
On the Japanese language side at the time, one result was to be expected, although not intended perhaps when the sport was initially beamed onto the screens of a few still misunderstood ‘picture boxes’ scattered around the archipelago during the Natsu basho of Showa 28, 1953 – the sport quite literally changed its host nation and itself forever.