December Issue Contents
Haru Basho



Review of the Decade
Chris Gould
The most radical decade in sumo's history has just ended. SFM is the first publication to pay tribute.
Kyushu Basho Review
Chris Gould
An invincible yokozuna, an angry yokozuna, and some toiling ozeki. Read all about it here.
Ones To Watch
Alexander Herrmann
Alex makes his expert predictions about who will rise and fall in 2010.
Amateur Angles
Howard Gilbert
Howard provides the SFM official verdict on the cancelled World Championships in Estonia, and unearths some interesting contradictions.
Rikishi of Old
Joe Kuroda
While Tomozuna-beya sings the praises of Kaio today, it will always be fondly remembered for the 22nd yokozuna Tachiyama, who almost won 100 bouts in a row.
Part II
Michiko Kodama
Michiko continues looking at the various forms of sumo by visiting another 'Crying Sumo' festival.
How I became a sumo fan
Jean-Philippe Cabral
A French amateur sumo wrestler reveals what it's like to actually compete in an amateur tournament.
Menko Corner
Ryan Laughton
Ryan continues his analysis of the various types of menko available for collection.
Kokugi Konnections
Chris Gould
KK marks the end of 2009 by asking: Which makuuchi contest was Match of the Decade?
Morph Corner
Olivia Nagioff
Who will be subjected to morph treatment this time?
Photo Bonanza
Chris Gould
The story of 2009 in a few choice photos.
Readers' Letters
Some interesting questions in this issue's postbag.
SFM Cartoons
Benny Loh
Benny gives us his take on the action in Kyushu.

Vote for the Match of

the decade!

Chris Gould
In what will surely become the most-hotly debated Kokugi Konnections ever, Chris Gould attempts, for the first time in history, to compile a list of contenders for Makuuchi Match of the Decade. Choose your favourite and send us an e-mail at:

How I became a sumo fan

Jean-Philippe Cabral
Find out how a French fan of Konishiki became hooked on sumo and found himself competing in amateur sumo in Estonia.

Morph Corner

Olivia Nagioff
- Why can't the rijicho find
  his speech?
- Where can you expect to
  find Yamamotoyama
  over Christmas?
- Does Takasago Oyakata have
  his mind on the job?
  See more...

Review of the decade

Chris Gould
Ten years ago, the 90s seemed the most radical sumo decade Japan would ever witness. As a 1500-year-old sport ushered in the New Year of 1990, it did so in the knowledge that no non-Japanese had ever made its highest rank or won more than a single top-division championship   Read more...

Tachiyama Mineemon

Joe Kuroda
Kaio's main rival as Tomozuna's all-time number one rikishi is the 22nd Yokozuna Tachiyama Mineemon who led Ozumo singlehandedly after the so-called Golden Age of Hitachiyama- Umegatani. From the 1910 June Basho until the 1916 May Basho, Tachiyama was virtually unbeatable...  Read more...

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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

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