Brothers in Sumo –
part two

Brian Lewin
Brothers still active on the dohyo get their turn

Yokozuna Comparisons
Joe Kuroda
SFM’s most eminent historian, JK, has a crack at the impossible and tries to see who was the greatest of the tsuna wearers

Rikishi of Old
John Gunning
Takanobori – former sekiwake, former NHK man and all ’round gent

Heya Peek
Barbara Ann Klein
Kitanoumi-beya, Kitazakura, mirrors & photo bonanza

SFM Interview
John Gunning
Kazuyoshi Yoshikawa (son of the late sekiwake Takanobori) on life in sumo way back when

Sumo 101
Barbara Ann Klein
Behind every good man there stands a good woman – read and ye shall see. A departure from our regular 101 feature

Photo Bonanza
See the Hatsu Basho
plus much more through the lens of our photographers

Hatsu Basho Review
Lon Howard
Lon gives us his Hatsu Basho summary, along with the henka sightings results

Lower Division Rikishi
Mikko Mattila
Mikko Mattila covers lower division goings on in detail

Haru Basho Forecast
Pierre Wohlleben & Mark Buckton
Pierre predicts the Haru Basho banzuke while Mark highlights the ones to look out for in Osaka

Kimarite Focus
Mikko Mattila
Mikko takes us on a tour of his chosen kimarite

John McTague
John’s unique bimonthly view of sumo news from outside the dohyo and in the restaurants!

Online Gaming
Alexander Nitschke
SFM’s own Alexander Nitschke covers the long running Hoshitori Game

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

Fan Debate
Feb's debate sees
a pair of Kiwis exchanging opinions on the honbasho going on the road

SFM Cartoons
Benny Loh & Stephen Thompson
In the third of our cartoon bonanzas, sit back and enjoy BL’s offerings and put a caption to ST’s pic to win yourselves a banzuke

Let’s Hear From You
What was it that
made you a sumo fan? A unique perspective from a sightless reader.

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

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

Hatsu Basho Wrap-Up

Text by Lon Howard
Photos by Barbara Ann Klein
higher than M5 on the final three days. When senshuraku rolled around, ’Zuma led Hakuho, 1 loss to 2, and sealed his yusho with a quick right hand uwatenage over yokozuna Asashoryu, whose right arm was powerless because Hakuho – in the second of the two pivotal bouts – had nearly torn it off with a kotenage win over the yokozuna on day 12; quite ironic for Hakuho and a stirring end to an engrossing and entertaining – if somewhat peculiar – basho.

TV viewers must have been impressed because ratings averaged over 20 per cent for the final two days for the first time in five years. I don’t know of any polling regarding the spike in interest, so we’ll just have to guess if more fans tuned in because of the possibility of a Japanese rikishi taking the yusho; because six rikishi were still in the yusho hunt after 13 days; or, just because someone other than Asashoryu was probably going to win for the first time in eight basho. I’m guessing yes, yes, and yes.

Hakuho had to settle for the jun-yusho with a 13-2 mark, with Hokutoriki and Tokitsuumi both posting 12-3, Asashoryu 11-4 and new ozeki Kotooshu at 10-5. Hakuho, Hokutoriki and Tokitsuumi took

If one listened closely to the pre-Hatsu buzz surrounding Ozeki Tochiazuma, the word ‘yusho’ was not audible. Instead, words like “survival” and “sekiwake” fluttered about because he was staring down his third demotion from ozeki. Being healthy this time out, he hastily put that to rest and though his sumo was nimble and aggressive, he was hardly dominating – standing precariously close to the razor in some bouts – but when it was all done, through a series of great escapes, winking shinpan, shuffling banzuke, two kyujo ozeki and a one-armed yokozuna – voila!! A 14-1 yusho no one expected – the third of his career.

Looking back, it almost seems that the yusho was pre-ordained, with two defining – or divining – bouts, the first occurring on day 8. While Tochiazuma was pushing sekiwake Hakuho over the edge, Hakuho pivoted and both flew out side by side, landing together below the level of the dohyo. After the gunbai went in
Tochiazuma’s direction, most observers were astounded when all five shinpan remained inert; so with no mono-ii and following explanation, we still discuss how his victory was determined.

Then there were the two hiramaku rikishi still in the yusho hunt after day 12 – those being M11 Hokutoriki and M14 Tokitsuumi. Since they were inserted into the fray with the sanyaku men starting on day 13, a shuffle in the torikumi-making ensued. The result of all that was that Tochiazuma faced only one ozeki and one sekiwake – avoiding sekiwake Kotomitsuki even though ’Mitsuki fought no one
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