December Issue Contents
Haru Basho



Open Letter to Kisenosato
Chris Gould
Kisenosato has finally become ozeki, four years after many expected him to. We hope this letter captures the emotions surrounding the occasion, and the wishes of the fans for 2012
Review of the Decade So Far
Chris Gould
The decade is already two years old, and has brought about a host of dramatic changes in Japan's national sport. SFM's Editor tries to make sense of the at times fraught and frenetic situation
Kise: Son of the Rising Sun
Junko Asami
Guest Columnist Junko Asami, a devoted sumo blogger, gives her host nation perspective on the events of the last few weeks, and explains why the promotion means so much to her
The Changing Face of Ozeki
Chris Gould
Oh yes! The face of Ozeki in 2012 will be very, very different to the face of ozeki that has dogged us for so long, and theatened to squeeze credibility out of the sport. The days of underperforming second-rankers are on the back-burner. Bring on the optimism!
Ones To Watch
Alexander Herrmann
Alex attempts one of his most ambitious Ones to Watch columns ever - focusing on the many wrestlers with a Fuji in their name. Is there really no mountain high enough for this guy?
Kokugi Konnections
Chris Gould
Araibira is a name whose currency is growing in sumo fandom circles. Click here to find out why, and sample some of the gems on his website
Collectors Corner
Chris Gould
Menko returns in February - so to fill the gap, we have come up with the ultimate amateur collectors' guide to sumo souvenirs in the Ryogoku area. Collecting just got easier and infinitely more fun!
Morph Corner
Olivia Nagioff
So, just how will the wrestlers change under Olivia's wing this time? Maybe they'll get bigger, maybe they'll get smaller, or maybe they'll simply change into completely unrecognisable forms!

Kisenosato Special Issue

This issue focuses on Kisenosato's ozeki promotion - Son of the Rising Sun examines how the Japanese feel about their favourite son, The Changing Face of Ozeki looks at how the nature and character of ozeki has changed over the last few years and Open letter to Kisenosato  reproduces a letter from SFM's editor to the new ozeki.

Morph Corner

Olivia Nagioff
Hakkeyoi Ikioi!
See more...

Ones to Watch

Alexander Herrmann
Since we have talked about juryo in the last two issues it is time now to return to some more majestic fields again. ... This time we will take a look at all Fuji sekitori.

Review of 2011

Chris Gould
In terms of PR disasters, the sumo association have had the full bucket-load emptied upon their bewildered heads in the past two years. But, where there is darkness comes a new dawn, and despite the threat posed to sumo’s crowd-pulling power by the disappearance of so many popular rikishi of late, recent basho have shown that new stars, and a new era, could be in the making.     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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