December Issue Contents
Haru Basho



Fukuoka sumo: Paradise Lost?
Chris Gould
CG attempts to understand the unique relationship between Fukuokans and Japanís national sport
2008 and all that went before
Chris Gould
CG takes a look at what went right, what went wrong - and any reasons to celebrate the move into 2009. Drugs, court cases and yaocho allegations - nothing is left out.
Rikishi of Old
Joe Kuroda
JK reviews the life and times of Nishinoumi Kajiro I.
SFM Interview
Chris Gould
Sumo sculptor, Chris Cudlip, comes under the SFM spotlight
Eric Evaluates
Eric Blair
Eric looks at plastic flowers, the danger of a little knowledge and Macclesfield.
Kyushu Basho Summary
Lon Howard
Lon runs us through the events at last month's basho in Fukuoka - and as per usual includes a few of his own little observations and puns. Great stuff.
The Ozeki
Lon Howard
Thinking outside the box has always been one of Lon's specialities and his work on the Ozeki, his analysis and the angles he comes up with are unequalled on the WWW in terms of applying new methodology to viewing sumo. Enter and enjoy.
Hatsu Basho 2009 - Ones To Watch
Alexander Herrmann
Hatsu 09, a fresh start - and the January birthday boys are under the spotlight in AH's take on Ones to Watch down in the Japanese capital.
Heya Peek
Mark Buckton
Tamanoi today. In Tokyo's Adachi-ku, Tamanoi comes under EiC, MB's spotlight - just in case you have forgotten it is more than a homepage and is actually a full on sumo beya - one of the largest.
Photo Bonanzas
Chris Gould
CG throws in a bonanza of Fukuoka Fotos taken during his first trip to the city on the southern island of Kyushu.
Sumo Menko
Ryan Laughton
Ryan rounds off 2008 with the Top 12 'Lighter Side of Sumo Menko.'
Amateur Angles
Howard Gilbert
HG closes 2008 with his opinions as regards The World Games, 2009, in the ever changing world of amateur sumo.
Kokugi Konnections
Chris Gould
This issue, KK turns to a better-known website to find some classic matches which are essential to understanding sumo.
Let's Hear From You
Shuto Ishiguro
Japanese sumo fan Shuto Ishiguro lets us know his own route into following sumo - not the norm in many respects but then again, a story told all over Japan.
Morph Corner
Olivia Nagioff
Morphing part X - unique to SFM - another collection of weird changing images of several of sumo's finest - courtesy Olivia Nagioff.
SFM Cartoons
Benny Loh & Stephen Thompson
Sit back and enjoy this issue's cartoon bonanza courtesy of the SFM men in Thailand and Malaysia.
Sumo Odds & Ends
SFM's interactive elements, as always including Henka Sightings and Elevator Rikishi - Lon and Ben do their stuff.

See our new picture show!

Review of the Year

Chris Gould
With its incredible series of ups and downs, 2008 will certainly go down as a year in which the sumo landscape changed considerably. Seldom before have the issues plaguing sumo at the year-end differed so substantially from those at the year's beginning.

Nishinoumi Kajiro I

Joe Kuroda
November 30th 2008 marked 100 years since the death of the first Nishinoumi Kajiro, the 16th yokozuna. He was the first of three Nishinoumi in the history of ozumo, and the very first rikishi to be identified as a yokozuna on the banzuke.  Read more...

Morph Corner

Olivia Nagioff
- Who will laugh at Tokitenku's joke?
- What will happen to the yobidashi
  if the rikishi doesn't arrive?
- And it looks like Kaiho
  means business.   See more...

Sumo Sculptor

Chris Cudlip

Chris Gould
For at least 1500 years, from the time when the earliest known sumo carvings date, sculptors have been fascinated by Japanís national sport. In 2009, Chris Cudlip, a young artist from the UK, will seek to enhance his reputation as the latest sculptor to tackle this fascinating artistic phenomenon. SFM Editor Chris Gould sought to find out more about him.

Fukuoka Sumo

Chris Gould
...a sumo tournament on Japanís southernmost main island is a highly special experience, more authentic than anything the Kokugikan can dream of offering.

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Editor-in-Chief and Creative Director – Japan
Mark Buckton

Chris Gould

Staff Writers
Eric Blair
Howard Gilbert
Lon Howard
Joe Kuroda
Todd Lambert
Ryan Laughton

Contributing Photographer
Carolyn Todd

SFM Interactive
Ben Doolan

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Alisdair Davey

Magazine & Website Layout Designer
Olivia Nagioff

Benny Loh
Stephen Thompson

Staff Translators
Denis Chaton – French
Alexander Herrmann – German
Eduardo de Paz – Spanish

SFM Interpreter
Enatsu Watanabe

Sumo Mailing List

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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