<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.

Let's Hear From You!

What Made You A Fan?

by Kevin P. Murphy


In addition to the traditions and culture, the rigid hierarchy appeals to me. I have the luxury of knowing that I will probably never have to survive the keiko (training) a young apprentice rikishi must endure to be accepted into the sumo ranks.  Be that as it may, I carry a profound respect for the young men who sacrifice their youth and all its spoils for the greater good of their common rikishi, their heya, and their stable masters. I am unaware of the odds of any given rikishi becoming yokozuna, but I do believe each man has a far better chance of toiling in the lower ranks, fighting tournament to tournament as a tsukebito (lower-ranking apprentice), nursing injury and heartache, than he does reaching the sumo pinnacle of yokozuna.
Part of sumo’s allure is that it has no weight class besides the requirement that a potential rikishi weigh at least 75 kg.  Imagine a heavyweight boxer in his prime having a slug fest with a fly weight at his peak.  The outcome could prove to be deadly!  Sumo, on the other hand, allows such matches and has never, to my knowledge, experienced a rikishi death in the ring   Granted sumo seldom lasts longer than one minute, and most rikishi lack endurance; but to watch a 264 kg man (Hawaiian-born Konishiki) mix it up with an opponent less than half his size (Aomori-born Mainoumi) is an event worth watching.


Each issue of SFM, We’ll ask one of you
to tell us something about you and sumo.
Think you have something readers would like to know?
Write our letters section!

My first sumo experience occurred during the Kyushu basho of 1992.  I was a young United Sates Air Force Airman on his first assignment in beautiful Aomori Prefecture on Misawa Air Base when, after a twelve hour shift, I turned on the television to be surprised by two very large men tossing one another about on a circle of dirt.  Needless to say, my curiosity got the best of me.  Not only did I watch every bout for the remainder of the fall 1992 tournament in Kyushu, but I continue to watch every tournament from America today.
How does one become become a sumo fan?  For me, the fascination with the sport began the day I first witnessed my first bout.  I remember it as if it was yesterday: the match that is responsible for drawing me in way back in the early winter of ‘92 on that tired day was between the soon-to-be yokozuna giant Akebono (first American-born grand champion), and at that time, the next great Japanese hope, Takanohana.  Lucky for me, I became a fan of sumo at a time
when a great rivalry was in its
early stages.  Perhaps it was the drama of anticipating the daily finale between Takanohana and Akebono throughout most of the 1990s that fueled the flames of my curiosity for sumo, but I like to believe it was and continues to be the rich traditions and mysterious culture of  sumo  that exist today.

 Living in Japan for over six years allowed me to watch and study the sport up close.  After my military service in Misawa, I moved south to Kanagawa prefecture and in somewhat close proximity to the Ryogoku Kokugikan, where three of the six yearly tournaments are held.  While living in Kanagawa, I took numerous trips to watch sumo in person at the Kokugikan, and sat in every possible level of seat, including my personal favorite, the sunakaburi.  Here you may experience the unfortunate luck of feeling how much one of these super-sized athletes weigh.  Most fans, however, escape serious injury from a falling rikishi by moving at just the right time before a chanko nabe-filled wrestler lands in their


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