<DATE> Contents

Sumo Souvenirs  
Mark Buckton
Second of a two parter on sumo souvenirs - some hints on avoiding the fluff.
Chris Gould
Takamiyama's 60s / 70s successes notwithstanding Konishiki was sumo's first full-on mover and shaker from lands afar leaving Chris G to take an in-depth look at the ripples the big guy left behind when exiting the sumo pool.
Rikishi of Old
Joe Kuroda
Joe Kuroda's looks back at the life and times of former yokozuna Shiranui.
Eric Evaluates
Eric Blair
Eric IDs the true winners of the henkafest that was the Haru Basho senshuraku.
Rikishi Diary
Mark Kent
Mark Kent - English pro-wrestler and amateur heavyweight sumotori - takes his training a step further on his road to European and World sumo glory.
Heya Peek
Mark Buckton
Oitekaze Beya just to the north of Tokyo and not far from the abode of SFM's Ed-i-C falls under the microscope.
SFM Interview
Carolyn Todd
Carolyn interviews Riho Rannikmaa during his recent trip to Osaka - head of all things sumo in Estonia, friend and mentor of Baruto, this is a man with something to announce.
Sumo la LA
Alisdair Davey
SFM's man in the shadows reports on his recent jaunt in LA, as guest of the Californian Sumo Association and SFM reporter at large.
Photo Bonanzas
Hot on the heels of the recent Ise bonanza - Haru up close and very very personal - some of our best pics to date.
Haru Basho Summary
Lon Howard
Lon wraps the Haru Basho and chucks in a few bits on the henka issues the top dogs are suffering from at present.
Sumo Menko
Ryan Laughton
Sumo cards of old brought to life once again by expert collector Ryan Laughton. None of your BBM offerings here - Pt II of III.
Natsu Ones To Watch
Carolyn Todd
Carolyn ponders the ones to watch come May and Natsu when sumo comes home to Tokyo.
Kimarite Focus
Mikko Mattila
Mikko's latest look at sumo's kimarite offers unequalled analysis and in depth explanations.
Amateur Angles
Howard Gilbert
On your marks, get set, go - Howard Gilbert walks us through the months ahead on the amateur calendar.
Kokugi Konnections
Todd Lambert
Click on Todd's latest selection of the best sumo sites the WWW has to offer.
Fan Debate
Facilitator - Carolyn Todd
Should it or shouldn't it? Honbasho go on the overseas road that is. See what SFM's Chris Gould and James Hawkins have to say.
SFM Cartoons
Benny Loh & Stephen Thompson
In this issue's cartoon bonanza, sit back and sample ST's latest 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 - A. S. - the face in the crowd reveals almost all - to see everything you'll have to close your eyes.
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.

Menko Corner:
Sumo Menko Production and Menko Layout
by Ryan Laughton

based on the principles of mixing magenta, cyan, yellow and black colors to get the whole array of the color spectrum, technology is the biggest limiting factor on what colors can be printed and how they are printed.  Some sets had poor printing quality, such as the 1953 Trump 6 set, while others had beautiful and vivid colors like the 1959 Yamakatsu Trump 7 set.  In my opinion the 1930s menko are the best examples of combining artwork and printing, even though 20 more years of sumo menko production were to follow.  These menko were hand-drawn and the printing quality was very high, resulting in crisp images.  A second genre of sumo menko is the bromide.  Bromide is actually a borrowed English word which refers to a photographic print treated with bromine and silver.  I use the term bromide to refer to the black and white photograph menko sets that were common in the 1950s, but it has been used interchangeably over the years to refer to any of the photographic looking menko that bear images of popular actors, ball players and singers.  The final subset of all the sumo menko is the gold-proof menko.  These are menko printed with gold color ink and

Gold Proof 1960 Basho 7 Menko:  Komusubi Kitanonada

look pretty sharp.  However, they are really hard to find so if you do


I hope everyone found the previous article on sumo menko basics informative and useful.  I received some positive feedback on the article and a couple of fellow collectors have even started using the website database to track their collections.  This may sound minor, but it’s a big step forward in such a small niche market.  What I am going to run through here are some various manufacturing techniques used over the 3 decades of sumo menko production, the basic layout on the menko, and some simple advice and help on how to get started collecting if you aren’t already.  Let’s dive in.

All sumo menko were printed on some sort of paper or cardboard stock.  From the 1930s to about 1956 the standard was to use the thicker paper stocks, as they provided the right amount of weight for game play.  Some kids would even glue menko together to get their slammers even heavier.  Check out the 1955 “Renga” series of menko that is printed on 1/8” paper stock!  In 1956, most companies switched over to thinner stock because not only was it easier to produce, but they also realized that kids weren’t playing menko and destroying them in games as much as they were collecting the menko for their aesthetic value.  It was also cheaper to print menko on the thinner stocks, and because there were at least 6 toy companies during this time, it was almost a necessary financial choice to stay competitive.  You’ll see the popularity of prize sheets emerge on the market 
during this time, as well as the whole lottery aspect of sumo menko.  Many of these intact sheets can still be found today in online auctions and stores, and they offer the most pristine view of what the menko looked like right from the factory.  On a similar note, for the period from about 1956 to the end of the sumo menko era in 1964, you’ll almost never see a sumo menko with the rikishi’s rank on it because the number of annual basho increased from four to six from 1956-58 and it became almost impossible to keep re-producing them that fast.  Each company was producing several sets a year as well so competition between the companies was fierce.  These facts will be important as we cover set identification in next issue’s article.

Gold Proof 1955 Renga 9 Menko:
Yokozuna Kagamisato
Printed on 1/8” paper stock

Color printing technology improved rapidly over the 30 years of sumo menko production.  In the beginning – on a single menko – only simple colors like red, blue, green and yellow were used, but eventually thousands of colors were produced.  Since color printing is


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