<DATE> Contents

Attention to Akeni
Carolyn Todd
SFM's newest addition to the writing staff takes an in-depth look at akeni, their history and production techniques
Rikishi of Old
Joe Kuroda
Joe Kuroda slides former yokozuna Minanogawa under his SFM microscope
Eric Evaluates
Eric Blair
Eric's wit scythes through the SML and makes clear his opinion of where the future lies for online sumo forums.
Eternal Banzuke Phase II
Lon Howard
Stats, equations and mathematics all lead to a list of sumo's most prolific up and downers
Matta-Henka: Another View
Lon Howard
A row that will never be fully decided but Lon gives his impressions on it all the same
Heya Peek
Mark Buckton
Mihogaseki, former home of Estonian sekitori Baruto is toured (and peeked at) by SFM's Editor-in-Chief
SFM Interview
Mark Buckton
Mark interviews shin-komusubi Kokkai
Photo Bonanza
See the Nagoya basho and Akeni photo bonanzas
Nagoya Basho Summary
Lon Howard
Lon gives us his Nagoya basho summary, along with the henka sightings results
Lower Division Rikishi
Mikko Mattila
Mikko Mattila casts his watchful eye over lower division goings on in makushita and below.
Aki Ones to Watch
Carolyn Todd
Carolyn takes over the job of rikishi job performance prediction for SFM as she looks at those to keep an eye on come September
Kimarite Focus
Mikko Mattila
Our man Mikko's latest trio of kimarite get thrown about the SFM literary dohyo
Amateur Angles
Howard Gilbert
Howard returns with the second of his columns on the amateur sumo scene.
Sumo Game
SFM's very own quiz comes in for a bit of self scrutiny by our secretive man of questions. We'll call him 'X'.
Sumo in Print
Barbara Ann Klein
SFM’s Editor reviews “The Little Yokozuna”, a book for “young” (and older) adults
Kokugi Connections
Todd Lambert
Check out Todd's bimonthly focus on 3 of the WWW's best sumo sites
Fan Debate
Facilitator - Lon Howard
Keri Sibley and Eduardo de Paz  ponder the concept of ‘to pay or not to pay’ makushita salaries
SFM Cartoons
Stephen Thompson
Sit back and enjoy the offerings of one of sumo's premier artists
Lets Hear From You
What was it that made you a sumo fan? SFM’s own Todd Lambert details his path into sumofandom
Readers' Letters
See what our readers had to say since we last went out
Sumo Quiz
The Quizmaster
Answer the Qs and win yourself next basho’s banzuke.

Nagoya Basho Summary

text by Lon Howard
photos by Barbara Ann Klein
basho in Aki.   

In Miyabiyama’s case, even though he exceeded the three
basho/33 win target, he had no real shot once Hakuho was held back, because there have never been six ozeki at one time. Naturally unstated by the NSK, they weren’t about to break new ground for someone who had already been promoted to ozeki once ‘by mistake’, unless there were overwhelming credentials, so it was easy to cite an ‘insufficient content’ in Miyabiyama’s sumo and his four first-week losses.  And, uh, his 10 wins did include a fusen-sho, which, though not officially considered, did cloud the overwhelming imagery necessary in this case.  But…if he achieves 11 wins at Aki and Hakuho flubs his tsunatori try, there will be six ozeki on the Kyushu banzuke – barring an intai – like it or not. 

Both Hakuho and Miyabiyama deserve kudos for digging out of their early basho holes to breathe life back into their promotion runs.  Without that, there would have been little to maintain interest after ozeki Tochiazuma and Chiyotaikai ran themselves out of contention by day 11.  Both men shot to 8-1 and faded just as fast, with ‘Zuma posting 8-7 and Chiyo, 9-6.  Both did finish the basho, despite suffering left knee injuries on that dark 11th day.  In Tochiazuma’s case, it apparently was a repeat of


Two years from now, the Nagoya basho of 2006 will be mostly remembered for things that happened off the dohyo.  Yokozuna Asashoryu’s 17th of 25 yusho (a wild guess here) won’t trigger much for anyone and neither will an infrequent kachi-koshi by a shin-komusubi.  We might’ve recalled everyone thinking “Hello Yokozuna” for ozeki Hakuho as he crushed the yokozuna on senshuraku, except for the pronouncement a few moments later that he was headed for Heartbreak Hotel instead of Tsuna Tower.  Since Asashoryu had cinched the yusho the day before, Hakuho’s zensho-denying deed was deemed a non-event by the shimpan group, who said no meeting would be called to discuss a promotion.  And since that left the number of residents at Ozeki Inn unchanged at 5, the resurgent sekiwake, Miyabiyama, was left still looking through the windows there, despite racking up 34 wins in the last three basho.  

Probably mindful of senshuraku interest, the Rijicho’s day 14 prattle had not ruled out a double promotion at tourney’s end if both men finished with wins.  

Neither Hakuho nor Miyabiyama disappointed the full house on the final day, ending with 13-2 and 10-5 respectively; but the decision not to promote either of them had clearly been made on some prior date.  Yet, there were plausible reasons for waiting in each of their cases, so there needn’t be any grousing about cabals in smoke-filled rooms. 

The shimpan’s displeasure that Hakuho let the yokozuna pull away from him early in the basho is firm ground in itself, and in addition, it’s been 19 years since an ozeki has been promoted without meeting the ‘two consecutive yusho’ standard.  The last was Onokuni in 1987, and that promotion is now considered to have been a disaster (although for promotions prior to that, meeting the standard was the exception, not the rule).   Finally, this is only Hakuho’s second basho as ozeki, and further, he has only one yusho to his credit.  So to sum it up, with neither the second yusho nor a kettei-sen, it was felt his ozeki credits were still lacking.  As was the case with Tochiazuma in Natsu, he will have a second tsunatori


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