February Issue Contents
Natsu Basho



The Class of 88 - the best ever?
Chris Gould
No sumo fan worth his or her salt will NOT know about the Class of 88. Fortunately for all, Chris Gould knows more than most and explains just how important the entrants 20-years-ago were to Ozumo.
Rikishi of Old
Joe Kuroda
The second half of JK's evaluation of the life and times of the Meiji-era household name that could literally do no wrong - Hitachiyama.
SFM Interview
Chris Gould
Hanako Dosukoi - Whether you know the name or not, Hanako Dosukoi is one of the most connected women in and around sumo today and, as with so many, her first ever English language interview is given only to SFM.
Eric Evaluates
Eric Blair
EB returns to hold the SFM lightning rod as he lets loose a broadside on the fans reducing sumo to a science
Hatsu Basho Summary
Lon Howard
Lon goes back over the ins and outs of the year's first basho. Not much misses this man's eagle eye!
Haru Basho - Ones To Watch
Alexander Hermann
SFM's fortune teller, Alex Herrmann look at exactly what might happen down in Osaka during the upcoming Haru Basho.
The Lower Divs - and all that stuff
Martina Lunau
Different things catch our eye at different times and in this column we'll be looking at a range of lads struggling up through the lower ranks proving sumo is not all about sekitori and yusho races.
Heya Peek #1
Martina Lunau
During Martina's latest trip to Japan she took the time out to reminisce on her first and subsequent visits to Sadogatake Beya - and was kind enough to share with SFM's readers just what it was that drew her attention there.
Heya Peek #2
Chris Gould
Combining a heya peek - the little known Minezaki Beya - with a report from a senshuraku party at the same locale - CG lets us in on the informal attitudes often found away from the Ryogoku homeplate.
Photo Bonanzas
Martina Lunau / Mark Buckton
Headed by Martina this time out, SFM's camera toters release a few of their very best Hatsu images.
Sumo Menko
Ryan Laughton
They all started somewhere - and so did the menko they generated. Ryan covers the Ys this issue and their first known menko. See if it helps you uncover a literal gem.
Amateur Angles/ SFM Rikishi (of old) Interview
Howard Gilbert
A massive AA this time out as Howard interviews world famous former amateur rikishi - Manny Yarborough. See where he's been and what he's been up to in the time since he left the amateur circuit.
Kokugi Konnections #1
Alexander Herrmann
German special edition
Kokugi Konnections #2
Todd Lambert
Todd steers us through 3 of the best out there on the WWW - but get the dictionary handy non-Japanese readers.
I was there - I remember
Sachie Ikuma
The first of a year long column from a selection of Japanese contributors looking at exactly what our hosts recall about their own early memories of sumo.
Let's Hear From You
First the French, then the Americans and this time the Germans - four German fans let us in on their own access routes to the sport.
Morph Corner
Olivia Nagioff
Another step on the globally untrodden path of sumo morphing part V - unique to SFM.
SFM Cartoons
Benny Loh & Stephen Thompson
Sit back and enjoy this issue's cartoon bonanza courtesy of the SFM men in Thailand and Malaysia.
Sumo Odds & Ends
SFM's interactive elements, as always including Henka Sightings, Elevator Rikishi and Eternal Banzuke - Lon and Ben do their stuff.

News Snippets!

German Fan Focus

This issue has a German theme - Let's Hear from You  discovers how four Germans became sumo fans. Kokugi Konnections  focuses on 3 prominent German sumo websites.

SFM Interview

Chris Gould
Shoko Sato, under the pen-name of Hanako Dosukoi, is one of Japan’s leading sumo commentators. A regular in the Kokugikan press room filing freelance basho reports to magazines, Hanako is also author of the popular 2006 text 'Cute Sumo'. Read more...

Morph Corner

Olivia Nagioff
What is in Mrs Uchidate's blind spot?
See more...

The Class of 88

Chris Gould
In celebration of ozeki Kaio’s 20 years as an active sumotori, Chris Gould pays homage to arguably sumo’s most successful intake ever: the Class of ’88.

Manny Yarbrough


Howard Gilbert
One of the most successful international amateur sumo athletes ever, he was Sumo World Champion in 1995, runner-up in 1992, 1994 and 1996, and captured bronze in 1993. His was a blitzkrieg that dominated the openweight category at the earliest Sumo World Championships. He is perhaps still the face of amateur sumo globally, even though he has not been seen in international competition for a number of years.

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Lynn Matsuoka

Asanowaka was a classic looking figure in sumo, and briefly carried the sword during Akebono's dohyo-iri. He was incredibly funny and would say some things other rikishi wouldn't dare say. He was, of course, famous for his froglike shikiri for which the Kyokai kept reprimanding him, the crowd loved it! This ink jet print, ed. 100, 9.5 x 11 inches is signed and numbered by the artist, available for $550. from the studio. Please contact artist@aloha.net

Editor-in-Chief and Creative Director – Japan
Mark Buckton

Carolyn Todd

Assistant Editor
Olivia Nagioff

Staff Writers
Eric Blair
Howard Gilbert
Chris Gould
Lon Howard
Joe Kuroda
Todd Lambert
Ryan Laughton
Martina Lunau

SFM Interactive
Ben Doolan

Website System Admin & Hosting
Alisdair Davey

Magazine & Website Layout Designer
Olivia Nagioff

Benny Loh
Stephen Thompson

Staff Translators
Denis Chaton – French
Alexander Herrmann – German
Eduardo de Paz – Spanish

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