<DATE> Contents

SOS - Shinjinrui on Sumo  
Chris Gould
Wrapping up his look at increasing the popularity of sumo, Chris Gould caps a series the NSK would do well to refer to.
Sumo Souvenirs  
Mark Buckton
Souvenirs are a part of every sport and sumo is no different - or is it? A look at collectibles and the downright trashy, the bona fide versus the unproven.
Rikishi of Old  
Joe Kuroda
Joe Kuroda's latest look at times past focuses on former makunouchi man Dewagatake.
Eric Evaluates  
Eric Blair
Eric takes a no-nonsense look at the claims of fixed bouts in the Japanese media.
Rikishi Diary  
Mark Kent
Mark Kent - English pro-wrestler and amateur heavyweight sumotori - takes us through the first month or so of his training and preparation for the various European events lined up in in 2007.
Heya Peek  
Chris Gould
SFM's Chris Gould was in Japan for the Hatsu Basho and popped along to the new Shikoroyama Beya to give SFM an online exclusive peek into sumo's newest heya.
SFM Interview  
Mark Buckton
Mark interviews Mark - Buckton on Kent that is as Mark Kent, the UK's only active heavyweight amateur answers a few questions on his own recent entry into the sport.
Photo Bonanzas  
Sumo Forum stepped in to take the weight off the shoulders of SFM as far as Hatsu went so we could sit back, relax, enjoy the sumo and take a few more select pics you won't see anywhere else.
Hatsu Basho Summary
Lon Howard
Lon wraps the Hatsu Basho and chucks in a few bits on the rush of henka that threatens to sully the good name of at least one foreign ozeki.
Sumo Menko  
Ryan Laughton
Sumo cards of old brought to life by expert collector Ryan Laughton. None of your BBM here.
Haru Ones To Watch
Carolyn Todd
Carolyn ponders and puts fingers to keys on the ones to watch come March and the Haru Basho.
Kimarite Focus  
Mikko Mattila
Mikko's latest look at sumo's kimarite offers unequalled analysis and in depth explanations.
Amateur Angles  
Howard Gilbert
Howard looks at the 'sumo factory' of lore - Nichidai.
Kokugi Konnections
Todd Lambert
Click on Todd's bimonthly focus on three of the best the WWW has to offer.
Fan Debate
Facilitator - Carolyn Todd
Moti Dichne comes back for more and takes on Bradley Sutton on the subject of 'Modernize the heya - yea or nay?'
SFM Cartoons
Benny Loh & Stephen Thompson
In this issue's cartoon bonanza, sit back and sample Benny's artistic offerings.
Sumo Odds & Ends
SFM's interactive elements - as always includes Henka Sightings, Elevator Rikishi and Eternal Banzuke!
Let's Hear From You
What was it that made you a sumo fan? Ryan Laughton - sumo fan and menko expert 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 a genuine banzuke.

Fan Debate:
Modernize the Heya –
Yea or Nay

Facilitated by Carolyn Todd

young Japanese teen recruit has caused a big sensation since Kisenosato.

MD: That has all changed these last few bashos, where we have seen a growing number of “sensations” entering sumo. Just last basho we had three, and in the coming basho there are three that I know of. As for new recruits, the numbers are coming back up, as will be seen in March.

BS: Is not Tochiozan the first Japanese to make sekitori since Kise?

MD: No, he is not. Far from it. Unless you mean something else,you’re not seriously saying there were no new Japanese sekitori since May 2004…?

BS: I was referring to young Japanese teen recruits causing a sensation. I don’t know of any other Japanese teens who have made sekitori since Kisenosato, and Tochiozan is not exactly expected to be the new Japanese hope.

MD: The age is a factor? The “sensation”, as you call it, is the factor. And as I said, we have had a lot of those lately. Age is about as relevant as hair - it’s like saying we haven’t had a hairy Japanese entrant for a long time, and that’s really a reason to change heya life?

BS: But no Japanese is even expected to have a good shot at making ozeki this year, let alone yokozuna.

MD: Actually, no one is expected to, Japanese or otherwise, this year, given the


The sumo heya system is unique in the world of sport, obliging rikishi of all ranks to eat, sleep and train together in a community, with little privacy and freedom. The rikishi cook and clean for themselves and submit to a harsh training regimen, often involving corporal punishment. How has this system survived into the 21st century and what kind of young man agrees to such conditions? With sumo suffering a slump in popularity, would numbers be boosted by relaxing the system to make it more appealing to potential recruits? Or is it that the traditions of the heya system attract the deshi most suited to the rigors of sumo life and these traditions are more important than the rikishi living according to them?

These are the questions we asked two in our community who were all too eager to share their feelings on the subject.

Moti Dichne is a native of Israel who spent much of his childhood in Tokyo.  He says he was addicted to sumo even as a small boy.  At that time he was fortunate to attend numerous basho and invented many sumo games while still very young.  He is still deeply involved in sumo gaming.  He maintains his own informative sumo site at http://www.dichne.com and also provides an invaluable

service by translating sumo articles from the on-line Japanese press for the Sumo Forum and the Sumo Mailing List.

Bradley Sutton is a 28-year-old diehard sumo fan from Los Angeles, California. He became interested in sumo at an early age during his trips to Japan, and living in Japan for a few years.  Because of his sumo fanaticism, he was recently featured along with Minaminoshima on an MTV documentary called "True Life."  He current participates in amateur sumo in the United States, and has recently started a podcast news website on sumo at http://www.usasumo.net

Bradley, to start us off and set the scene, how do you see the current popularity of sumo?

BS: Well, sumo popularity, if not for Takamisakari's antics, and Kotooshu's sex appeal, would probably be non-existent (yes, I'm exaggerating).  The NSK has done some things to try to shake this up.  We have seen a "Demon" in the Kokugikan, celebrity guest appearances, increased koens around the world, NHK crowd shots focusing on younger people and foreigners.  How well have these things worked? We do not know. But not enough.  New recruits (outside of last basho) seem few and far between.  No


L10 Web Stats Reporter 3.15