<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.

SFM Interview –

Text and Photo by Mark Buckton

worst thing would have been losing the war, and at its worst houses and cars were destroyed everywhere, people were dead and people had to live in small rooms. Whole families in small rooms (gesturing to indicate a similar size to his own room – approximately 2.5m x 3.5m).

MB – At what age did you start training for amateur wrestling and when did you win the European Junior Championship?

K – Eleven - no ten, but then I moved to Tbilisi with all the trouble. Eh, Euro Champ, I don’t remember – maybe ‘99, 2000, maybe ‘99? I don’t recall.

MB - You gave up amateur wrestling due to a rule change that limited your weight to less than 120 kg and you were already over 130 kg, but how did you find your way into sumo?

K – I thought I could lose the weight to continue in wrestling, but then if I did I couldn’t join sumo. If I wanted to join sumo I was at a good weight so (there was) no point in losing weight. At that time no-one understood sumo so when I saw it on Eurosport I thought ‘ah, that’s sumo is it?’

MB - Georgia’s Levan Ebanoidze (widely respected figure in amateur sumo circles) is reported


Kokkai, the Georgian shin- komusubi, was kind enough to sit for a lengthy interview with SFM's Editor-in-Chief recently.

Taking almost an hour, the interview was conducted in Japanese in the sekitori's private room in Oitekaze-beya just to the north of Tokyo where, joined by one of the sekitori's tsukebito, the pair covered such topics as war in Kokkai's homeland, his ideal fighting weight and even his taste in music - plus a great many other subjects in between.

MB – Sekitori, you’ve won a yusho at each level except jonokuchi and makunouchi and have the experience and confidence to compete with the higher rank rikishi now. To that end, what are your next goals regarding sanyaku, attaining the rank of ozeki, or even the yusho?

K – I haven’t won the jonokuchi or makuuchi yusho, and as I am in sanyaku I do want to win the yusho of course, but my main
  aim now is to get rid of my bad habits from wrestling. That’s my main goal now. After that I can start
thinking about the yusho.

MB - You were born on March 10, 1981 in Sukhumi (a town facing the Black Sea). What was the place like and what sports did you play when you were small? Any wrestling?

K – As a kid, my house was close to the sea. It was so beautiful and I enjoyed swimming in the sea. It was really nice until the war started. I enjoyed swimming, and after that, wrestling until I moved to Tbilisi a year later. For the six or seven years thereafter, it was all wrestling.

MB - The town became engulfed in a political dispute between Georgia and Abkhazia when you were a youngster - how were things around that time?

K -  Really bad as we didn’t know from one minute to the next if we’d live or die, and for one week I didn’t know if my mother or father were alive or dead, but then I found out - by telephone - they were alive –and was happy. For Georgians, the 


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