Yokozuna Comparisons
Joe Kuroda
SFM’s historian, JK, wraps his two-part article on the greatest of the tsuna wearers

Amateur Sumo's Global Aspirations
Courtesy: International Sumo Federation
What exactly is it and furthermore, what does it do? The ISF explain themselves and their purpose in existing

Rikishi of Old
Joe Kuroda
Man or myth? Sumo's first yokozuna comes under the spotlight

Heya Peek
Barbara Ann Klein
Tokitsukaze-beya and its famous find themselves the target of Barbara's peek into life inside the heya

SFM Interview
Mark Buckton
Featuring interviews with amateur sumo's European Sumo Union General Secretary and the President of the newly founded Irish Sumo Federation

Sumo 101
Barbara Ann Klein
Would chanko exist without sumo? What is chanko anyway? Find out in Sumo 101

Photo Bonanza
See the Haru
Basho through the eyes of the fans in the seats as SFM gives the mantle of photographer(s) for this basho to Barbara & Gerald Patten. And don't miss our all-Mongolian Bonanza supplied by our Editor, Barbara Ann Klein

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

Lower Division Rikishi
Mikko Mattila
Mikko Mattila covers the lower division goings on like nobody else around

Natsu Basho Forecast
Mark Buckton
Mark Buckton glances back to look forward in his ones to look out for come May

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

Sumo in Print
Mark Buckton
Our gaming thread takes a break for April so we can look at the Spanish language book on the sport not long since released

Kokugi Connections
Todd Lambert
Todd’s bimonthly focus on 3 of the WWW's best sumo sites today

Fan Debate
Facilitator – Lon Howard
April's man VS monkey debate covers the issue of reducing the number of honbasho

SFM Cartoons
Benny Loh & Stephen Thompson
Sit back and enjoy the offerings

Let’s Hear From You
What was it that
made you a sumo fan? Thierry Perran lets us in on his reasons for loving this sport

Readers’ Letters
See what some
See what our featured letter is for this issue

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

  Fan Debate:
Reduce the Number of
Basho – Yea or Nay

Facilitated by Lon Howard

If one objective of sumo is to increase its international popularity, then expanding the time between basho in Japan ranks high among the options for action. As things stand now, the rikishi are slaves to their profession.

Maybe it's a vestige of the original desire of a nation emerging from feudalism – to harness and channel the energies of its itinerant ronin – but today, the schedule and the setup almost ensure exhaustion, injury and early retirement. If you leave the heya just for a few days after the basho, whether it's because your father's passed away in Europe or just to pay a quick visit to your childhood home in Mongolia, then you've fallen behind in training, which is a sure way to get yourself hurt.

After a basho, typically, only six weeks remain before the next one starts. Of course, your intensive preparation must begin well before then, but during the hiatus you face a never-ending series of obligations imposed by the Kyokai – public events, sing-alongs and demonstration bouts. There's no time to enjoy life. Join the sumo world as a teenager and your life will not

Our Fan Debates continue to focus on a number of ideas that have been floated as fixes for the alleged decline of sumo. This time, two of our readers will exchange opposing views on whether six basho per year are just too many for rikishi and/or fans to handle. For many fans, the recent growth of the twins known as kyujo and kadoban are palpable evidence that the rikishi are over-extended, and the fact that sports fans in general have so many more options to hold their attention suggests for them that the demand for sumo would go up if the supply were diminished.
Let's introduce our warriors:

Arguing for reducing the number of hon-basho is Kaiopectate – Killer Sock Monkey, an imaginary creature who loves sumo so much that he has joined an imaginary heya and fought many imaginary bouts. He is not really a killer, but only adopted that shikona in order to frighten opponents. Unfortunately, he loses most of his bouts but he still loves sumo and cares about the success and health of real sumo wrestlers.

Paul Sharp lives in the north east coastal town of Grimsby, England and feels that the current six basho per year is just right. Paul is a window cleaner, a gamer and a rocker; citing Playstation, chess, Kiss, AC/DC and the Ramones as
objects of his affection. Now, he is better known to fans on Sumo Forum as Fujisan ‘The Wolf’, in honor of former yokozuna Chiyonofuji. When not engrossed in internet sumo games and his other pursuits, Paul plays cards with friends, is active in his local church and spends time with Grace, his girlfriend of 10 years. He also represents the newly founded U.K. Sumo Association in an effort to promote sumo awareness in the U.K.

LH: Kaiopectate, In your opinion, what is so wrong with sumo today that calls for such an extreme measure as reducing the number of hon-basho?

KKSM: Should the number of basho per year be reduced from six? Yes! Give the guys a break!
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