<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.

Fan Debate:
Makushita Salaries –
Yea or Nay

Facilitated by Lon Howard

that is the second economic power in the world, sumo is only fighting against itself if the first objective is to preserve all aspects of the old ways of life. 

We are seeing that nowadays there are few good Japanese rikishi, basically because the old sumo way of life doesn’t stimulate them to join it. There are not many 16-year-old boys who will think very long about joining a heya when the prospects for the future are 14-16 hour days and no salary.  If they’re lucky, maybe when they are 27-years-old, they can reach juryo rank and receive some money, but there is also the risk of losing this rank only two months later and having to work a lot of hours again without any money.  And while he’s going through this, his fellow institute friends are working in an important company with a monthly salary, which lets them invite a girl to go to the cinema, or go to a bar with his friends after seeing a Giants game.  Even boys joining the military receive a salary and are highly respected.

It also happens often that some years later, maybe at 35-years-old, this sumo wrestler retires, having reached sekitori rank only once (if he had luck) and almost without a yen in his pocket to subsist while looking for a job for which he has no qualifications. Can we really think these prospects are going to bring talented young boys and men to the world of sumo?

Time advances and it is necessary to go with the times.  I believe that it would be acceptable that competing in the


As you know, the world of sumo is firmly bound by tradition and changes to the status quo are few and infrequent.  Many foreign sumo fans feel this tentative and idealistic nature is actually binding sumo - preventing it from making bold moves to invigorate Japan's national sport, at a time when other sports such as baseball, soccer, and even other forms of wrestling, become more popular.  It’s no secret now that fewer Japanese men are willing to spend their youths living in a sumo beya. So far, the only rikishi to draw real salaries are those known as 'sekitori', or those in the top two divisions - makuuchi and juryo.  Some feel that more strong young Japanese men would enter sumo if salaries were paid to those in the lower ranks.  Two of our vocal readers will tackle this topic today.  Here they are:

Eduardo de Paz lives in Spain and is known in sumo internet forums as Leonishiki.  He was the first who opened a sumo website in Spanish and also a Spanish- language sumo mailing
list.  Later he began to publish a monthly sumo magazine (the last issue was number 58, and less than a year ago, he published the book “Sumo, The Fight of the Gods”, which is the first book ever written in Spanish about sumo. (Ed. note: reviewed by Mark Buckton here in SFM Issue 6) Without any doubt, Eduardo is a real sumo fanatic.

Keri Sibley hails from the Rocky Mountain area of the United States known as Colorado. He has been a dedicated follower of sumo since 1990 while he was in the Navy and stationed in Misawa, Japan. Keri is better known on the Sumo Mailing List as Hinerikeri and was the founder of CyberSumo, one of the few internet-based sumo games that was available back in the late 90’s. Keri’s other interests include inline skating, guitar and poker.

LH:    Eduardo, putting so many new people on the payroll poses many questions:  How will it help?   Where would the money come from?   What are the risks?  There are so many things to wonder about, we hardly know where to start, but in general terms, give us your thoughts on not only the why...but the how?

EP:    If there is something that every sumo fan likes, that is, without any doubt, the preservation of all the traditions surrounding this sport. However, one thing is to preserve those traditions and another very different thing is to live in the past.  Maybe 200 years ago sumo was an escape-way for a lot of youngsters who saw in this sport a way to subsist and, at the same time, give their families one less mouth to feed.  But in the 21st century, in an industrial Japan


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