Sumo's Foreign Invasion

Mark Buckton
Sumo - still Japanese or truly International?

Rikishi of Old
Joe Kuroda
A look at a rikishi of yesteryear with Umegatani II our man for June

Heya Peek
John Gunning
John attends asageiko at Takasago-beya to give us the first of his bimonthly looks at sumo's stables

Photo Bonanza
Kurt Easterwood & Quinlan Faris
Kurt & Quin treat us to some of the best sumo pics around - and seen nowhere else

May Basho Review
Lon Howard & John Gunning
Lon gives us his Natsu Basho summary and his take on upset of the tournament while John chips in with his 'gem' of the basho

Division Rikishi
Mikko Mattila

Mikko provides his round up of the boys in Makushita and below at the Natsu Basho

July Basho Forecast
Pierre Wohlleben & Mark Buckton

Pierre predicts the Nagoya Basho banzuke while Mark previews the ones to watch next time out

Sumo 101
Barbara Ann Klein

Rhyme and reason behind the pre-tachiai rituals that mystified us all as beginners

Kimarite Focus
Mikko Mattila
Mikko walks us through A, B & C

John McTague

John's unique view of news from outside the dohyo

Las Vegas Jungyo Teaser
Ngozi Robinson
Months away but like kids at Christmas we are still too excited not to mention it

Online Gaming
Moti Dichne
Hear from the founder of Guess the Banzuke (GTB) on exactly what makes it tick

Le Monde Du Sumo
The original team at MDS tells us how it all started

Sumo Mouse
Todd Lambert
Heya Links Galore and a focus on 3

Fan Debate
JR & EB square off: Right or Left - which should Asashoryu use when receiving kensho?

Let's Hear from You
What was it that made you a sumo fan?

Ngozi Asks
Question of the month - What is Sumo?

Sumo Quiz
The Quizmaster

Answer the Qs and win yourself next basho's banzuke

Heya Peek:


by John Gunning

and Takasago.

Entering through double glass doors you walk down a hallway and turn to the right into a viewing area and dohyo which are overshadowed by one of the full size yusho portraits of the oyakata. At the end of the entrance hall are a variety of items including a statue of the oyakata (former ozeki Asashio) holding up a large fish as well as a very unusual statue of a prairie dog in a kesho mawashi and several new years’ good luck arrows. The dohyo has no tawara and the rikishi practice on what is basically a flat earth surface.

Keiko started with the usual seemingly endless shiko. Later in the morning, first Senshuuyama, then, Asasekiryu entered and each began warming up. Pretty soon I realised that the yokozuna had gone for degeiko, which was disappointing but not surprising as he hadn’t gotten in much worthwhile keiko up to that point. As the morning wore on, quite a few foreigners, including one large tour group, started to come in. Many were obviously attending asageiko for the first time as they were breaking some of unwritten
Next Home

--Friday May 6th  2005

When initially presented with this assignment I wondered about its longevity, as, in a sense, all heya visits could appear to be the same. You wake up at an ungodly hour, knock back a couple of canned coffees on the way to the station, then spend 4 hours sitting cross-legged watching young men beat up on each other while cursing those same coffees and hoping that your bladder holds out.

And yet each visit to a heya is a stand-alone experience. Even were you to go to the same stable 5 days running you would find something different each time. The visit that is the focus of this article took place just prior to the May Natsu Basho, on Friday May 6th 2005 at Takasago-beya.

Takasago is a 10 minute walk south of Honjo-Azumabashi station on the Toei Asakusa

line. It’s hidden away on a side street, and, after looking for some time, I was only able to find it when I noticed an old
heya sign hanging outside the glass doors.

Every stable has its own particular atmosphere. Takasago, despite being the home of yokozuna Asashoryu as well as three other sekitori (Asasekiryu, Toki, and Senshuuyama), has a very messy, haphazard look with items piled up in corners or left lying around. This perhaps reflects the fact that it is a heya created by the merging of two different stables, Wakamatsu

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