<DATE> Contents

SOS - Shinjinrui on Sumo
Chris Gould
Chris sinks his teeth into how sumo can go about pulling in the younger fans - currently so noticeable by their absence. The first of a three-part series.
Sumo World Championships
Mark Buckton
Mark Buckton reports from Sakai near Osaka, site of the latest Sumo World Championships.
Rikishi of Old
Joe Kuroda
Joe Kuroda finishes off his look at former yokozuna Minanogawa.
Sumo 101 / Eric Evaluates
Eric Blair
Eric expains sumo fan terminology - with the inevitable twist - for those just getting into the sport and still subject to the know it alls.
Age stands still for no man
Joe Kuroda
Former ozeki Kiyokuni will retire in November under the compulsory '65 and you are out' rule. JK takes a look at this quiet earth mover.
Feel the Sumo
Eduardo de Paz
Read and feel the renowned Leonishiki's passion for all things sumo at his first live event.
SFM Interview
Mark Buckton
Mark interviews Colin Carroll - again - Irish star of Sakai.
Photo Bonanza
See the Aki Basho bonanza as well as the largest collection of pics you are likely to see on the Sumo World Championships earlier in October.
Aki Basho Summary  
Lon Howard
Lon wraps the September Aki Basho and throws in some henka sighting results for good measure.
Lower Division Rikishi  
Mikko Mattila
The lower divisions, their members and results get the once over thanks to Mikko's eye of things 'beneath the curtain'.
Kyushu Ones To Watch  
Carolyn Todd
Carolyn shares her thoughts on whom to keep an eye on in Fukuoka.
Kimarite Focus
Mikko Mattila
Mikko's latest clarification of several of the sport's plethora of kimarite.
Amateur Angles  
Howard Gilbert
Howard Gilbert - manager of New Zealand's amateur sumo team takes a look at the approaching Russians.
Kokugi Konnections  
Todd Lambert
Click on Todd's bimonthly focus on three of the best sumo sites online.
Fan Debate  
Facilitator - Lon Howard
Jesse Lake and Rich Pardoe hammer out their differences on a current furor - promotion criteria.
SFM Cartoons   
Benny Loh & Stephen Thompson
In this issue's cartoon bonanza, sit back and enjoy Benny Loh's offerings and put a caption to Stephen Thompson's picture to win yourselves a banzuke.
Sumo Odds ’n’ Ends   
SFM's interactive elements including Henka Sightings, Elevator Rikishi and Eternal Banzuke!
Lets Hear From You  
What was it that made you a sumo fan? Kevin Murphy reveals all.
Readers' Letters  
See what our readers had to say since we last hit your screens.
Sumo Quiz   
The Quizmaster
Answer the Qs and win yourself next basho’s banzuke.

Hard Promotion Criteria –
Yea or Nay

Facilitated by Lon Howard

people who have never set foot inside a tawara ring in their entire lives.  Examples include    a screen writer, a chancellor of a group of private schools, a former governor of the Bank of Japan, a composer of Japanese enka-style music, a film director, a kabuki actor and a few newspaper bigwigs.  What’s next?  A circus clown?  What does it take to get into this club other than being rich, famous, and having an interest in sumo?  Beyond them, there’s a shinpan group with veto power, and a rijicho who changes his own mind about the qualifications every other basho, yelling in the background.  There are many of us who would much rather see a rikishi’s fate determined by what he does on the dohyo than by this incongruous bureaucracy.  A hard system with real criteria would give us just that.

Today, whether a rikishi makes ozeki or yokozuna or not depends on too many things.  The list goes far beyond “challenging for the yusho” and “content of sumo” you’ve already mentioned.  There’s the number of current ozeki/yokozuna and how they have performed or are perfoming, there’s age and experience and the very subjective “hinkaku”, there’s the rank of the opponents he’s defeated and who have defeated him in the deciding basho, and we’ve even heard about the need for a Japanese yokozuna.  We also hear about carrying over results to a third basho following a disappointing tsuna-tori basho, but this one seems to be limited only to swell guys that everybody loves.  Sometimes the “standard” is two consecutive yusho, sometimes it’s two


Promotion to sumo’s two highest ranks of ozeki and yokozuna has always been based on criteria that has been used as a guide, instead of being rigidly applied.  In this year's Nagoya Basho, it was thought by many that ozeki Hakuho met the criteria and that sekiwake Miyabiyama actually exceeded it.  When neither man was promoted, the timeless debate over whether there should be a fixed and hard criteria for promotion to ozeki and yokozuna was re-ignited.  In the past, my own mind has been already made up on both sides of this issue, and I still foolishly wish I could have it both ways.  Thus, we are fortunate to have two in our number who are willing to put their own feelings on this topic out there for examination:

Jesse Lake fell in love with sumo almost eight years ago when he first stayed in Japan in a university exchange program.  Later, during his three years working as a software engineer in Kanagawa prefecture, he frequented the Kokugikan.  He is a passionate Asashoryu fan, having watched him rise up through the ranks since his promotion to makuuchi.  Once a regular poster on the Sumo Forum, he is now mostly a lurker.  He lives in Beijing, China and catches sumo through the live NSK feed.  

Richard Pardoe was exposed to sumo some 15+ years ago while making business trips to Japan as a junior engineer with a start-

up team working at one of Japan’s refineries.  Sumo would show up when the team took their 5:30 PM TV break, and since he couldn’t understand the language, he paid close attention to the techniques used by the rikishi.  Wishing to learn more, he subscribed to both Sumo World magazine and the Sumo Mailing List, which increased his interest.  After playing many of the online sumo games, he found they distracted him from enjoying the sport itself and so he has limited his participation to a select few.  An infrequent poster but mostly lurker on the SML, he also occasionally browses the Sumo Forum.  He says he “stays up way too late” to watch sumo live on TV Japan from his home near San Francisco.
LH:    Jesse, you have said you think it’s time for ozumo to adopt clear rules for promotion to ozeki and yokozuna, with no leeway for concepts such as “challenging for the yusho”, “ozeki credentials”, and “content of sumo”.  I actually have two opening questions:  First, how will this help, and second, what should the criteria be?

JL:    Whatever the criteria are, hard rules for promotion are long overdue.  The cardinal sin of the current promotion system to the two highest ranks is that the decision has been taken out of the dohyo.  The fate of these hard working rikishi is put into the hands of a committee of 


L10 Web Stats Reporter 3.15