<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.

Heya Peek -

Text and Photos by Chris Gould

Shikoroyama appears healthy for a man of 43. His hair is thick and retains a natural dark colour, and he suffers not from the comic limp that besets several former sumotori of his generation. His rapid descent of the stairs and subsequent march to his zabuton is emblematic of the positive

Chris Gould reports from the home of sumo’s fastest rising star and sees a sumo legend revelling in the role of youthful stablemaster.

Shikoroyama-beya is the latest addition to the burgeoning heya community in Tokyo’s Kiyosumi district. Its newly-constructed bright red-bricked walls and shiny green doors can be found a mere two minutes from Kiyosumi-Shirakawa metro station, and about 100 metres from two prestigious heya associated with great yokozuna: Kitanoumi and Otake (formerly Taiho).

On consecutive mornings during the Hatsu 2007 basho, Shikoroyama-beya allowed two things to stand out. One was its tolerance towards visitors, especially my own gaijin breed. Although the main heya doors were locked at 7am, no advance reservation was needed to view asa-geiko. So long as a deshi heard your polite knocks or – in my case – spotted you nervously peeking around the wrong door, you were guaranteed to be invited in.

Shikoroyama’s second notable characteristic concerned something more tangible: weights. The heya’s weight-training quarters, situated on the first floor, were clearly visible from the roadside, the curtains proudly drawn back for the benefit of passers by. Upon entering the practice area, it was immediately clear that the obsession with weights had spread to the

The newly-constructed Shikoroyama-beya

building’s ground floor too. Of the five heya that I visited, Shikoroyama was the only one that never tidied its weights away after keiko. They were there, nestling to the right of the main entrance from dawn ‘til dusk, forever in the minds of the deshi who were clearly expected to use them.
The perennial presence of such heavy metallic objects can be attributed to Shikoroyama Oyakata. In a past-life as the lightweight sekiwake Terao, he remained more reliant on weightlifting than most to survive in sumo’s top division. He is understandably keen that the recruits under his jurisdiction, and especially the lighter ones, embrace weight-training as actively as he did himself. By all accounts, his deshi have noted the message. 

energy that comes with metamorphosing from clapped-out sumotori into relatively youthful oyakata. Revelling in his new lease of life, he obviously cares passionately about his troops and is yet to contract the mysterious disease that causes an oyakata to observe training sessions less intently during a tournament. 
The deshi visibly appreciate, and fear, the amounts of attention forthcoming from their oyakata, and have consequently been instilled with a commendable work ethic. Whereas in some heya, several deshi can be observed standing around sharing accounts of their most memorable bouts until the oyakata’s sandals can be heard, the likeable Shikoroyama boys set down to serious business at the stroke of 7am, even in their


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