December Issue Contents
Haru Basho



Review of the Year
Chris Gould
How did the first year of the new decade re-shape sumo?
Rikishi of Old
Joe Kuroda
How did the career of the great Tanikaze end?
Kyushu Basho Review
Chris Gould
Did the sumo wrestlers save their best 'til last?
Ones To Watch
Alexander Herrmann
Which wrestlers find themselves in unfamiliar territory?
Eric Evaluates
Eric Blair
What advice does Eric have for sumo fans?
Menko Corner
Ryan Laughton
What collectors' tips does Ryan have this time?
Kokugi Konnections
Chris Gould
Exactly how good was Kaio in his youth?
Morph Corner
Olivia Nagioff
Who will be transformed beyond recognition?
Readers' letters
What do the fans think?

Review of the Year 2010

Chris Gould
On the middle Sunday of the November tournament, Japan's state television channel NHK chose to screen a brief 'highlights of the year' segment. In truth, it was laughably embarrassing. Most of it consisted of wrestlers tearfully bowing in front of cameras and saying 'sorry' for various misdemeanors. The first year of the new decade will certainly have some lasting consequences for Japan's national sport.

Morph Corner

Olivia Nagioff
How can you tell when the gyoji is really enjoying himself?
See more...

Ones to Watch

Alexander Herrmann
The rikishi in this issue's column have all produced some kind of 'What the heck!? moment' during Kyushu Basho 2010. Two of them will be mentioned for their unexpectedly good performances. Four of them will be mentioned because they have sort of been forgotten after their recent decline and their seemingly hopeless struggles for a return to higher banzuke regions.    Read more...

Stadium Menko

Ryan Laughton
It's hard for kids today to believe that there used to be a time without television and families would gather around the radio for evening entertainment. Such was the family life in the United States and Japan in the 1930s and 1940s. While attending a live sumo match was a rare treat for most Japanese, listening to the matches on the radio was commonplace throughout most households in the 1930s and 1940s.

Classic Kaio

Chris Gould
He keeps doing it again and again! Just when you think Kaio is dead and buried, or at least within a whisker of retirement, the steely veteran goes on a spectacular winning run. In fact, not since 2003 has he posted a negative score over 15 full days. And he appears to be getting stronger with age: six successive 8-7s in 2009 have been followed by a couple of 9-6s and a 12-3 in 2010. This issue's Kokugi Konnections focuses on Kaio's finest matches.    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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