What Will Become of the Dynasty?
Brian Lewin
The Hanada Dynasty – past or present?

Rikishi of Old
Joe Kuroda
A look at a rikishi of yesteryear with Tenryu our man for August.

Heya Peek

John Gunning
John attends a chanko session at Chiganoura Beya.

Photo Bonanza
For a glimpse at some of the sights you won't see on TV.    

July Basho Review
Lon Howard & John Gunning
Lon gives us his Nagoya Basho summary and his take on upset of the tournament while John chips in with his ‘gem’ of the basho.

Lower Division Rikishi
Mikko Mattila takes a break and Eric Blair covers the lower divisions in his own ‘unique’ way.

Aki Basho Forecast
Pierre Wohlleben & Mark Buckton
Pierre predicts the Aki Basho banzuke while Mark previews the ones to watch next time out.

Sumo 101
Barbara Ann Klein
Gyoji goings on and several things you never knew about the ones officiating.

Kimarite Focus
Mikko Mattila
Mikko walks us through his 2 chosen kimarite.

John McTague
John's unique view of news from outside the dohyo.

Boletín de Sumo en Español
Eduardo de Paz Gútiez
An article on sumo’s very first fan mag – Boletin de Sumo en Espanol

Online Gaming
Jezz Sterling
Hear from the founder of Bench Sumo of one of sumo's most popular games.

Kokugi Connections
Todd Lambert
Todd’s focus on 3 of the most interesting online sumo sites today.

Fan Debate
Henka – good, bad or ugly? See what our debaters think.

Let’s Hear From You
What was it that made you a sumo fan – the Petros Zachos story.

Ngozi on the Road
Ngozi T. Robinson
NTR visits an amasumo event in the north-east U.S. and tells us what it was like.

Sumo Quiz
The Quizmaster
Answer the Qs and win yourself next basho's banzuke.


another injury. The result was a 2-2 start, and a day 5 loss to Tochiazuma that prompted a retirement announcement.  Unlike most rikishi, Wakanohana seemed unusually relaxed and smiling at the announcement, leading many to speculate that he had returned early precisely for the purpose of giving himself an excuse to retire.  This was reinforced by his quick departure from the Kyokai after retirement, making various attempts at [American] football and television, before finding his apparent niche as a chanko-nabe chain operator.  These moves created some friction with his father, and severely strained an already-difficult relationship with his brother, the latter of which came to a head with the recent, very public war of words over the elder Takanohana's funeral arrangements and heya assets, among other things.

While Wakanohana never really had a “great rival” to help define his career, his brother most assuredly did: Akebono.  They started in sumo at the same time, but while Ake rocketed up the banzuke in record time, Taka, being younger, took a bit more time to mature, ultimately catching the Hawaiian at the pinnacle of the banzuke at the end of ‘94.  And, he caught up to him in more ways than one: Taka's early inability to win the yusho outside of Tokyo meant

that by the time he made yokozuna, he already had seven yusho under his belt, the same as Akebono, who had already been yokozuna for nearly two years.  They traded yusho at the beginning of ‘95, but from there on out, Taka pretty much took over in the yusho count.  Akebono remained as a foil, winning his own intermittent yusho, and establishing himself as the only man consistently able to beat Taka.  While their yusho count was rather far apart at 22 and 11 respectively, their match rivalry ended at a dead even 20-20.

Both Takanohana and Futagoyama-beya peaked in the mid ‘90s. Takanohana won 15 yusho between ‘94 and ‘97.  After that, as the heya began to weaken due to the increasing age and the retirements of its rikishi, so too did Taka, as age and injury began to take an ever increasing toll.  As a way of dealing with some of his injuries, Taka received treatment from a physical therapist named Tashiro Tomita, a choice that would have a dramatic effect on both his sumo career and his personal life. Following his therapist's teachings, he became increasingly isolated from and publicly critical of his family, particularly his brother. The situation became so bad that his father publicly stated his opinion that Taka had been

“brainwashed”.  Eventually, a peace of sorts was established and Takanohana returned to working more closely with his shisho and heya mates, but the damage had been done.  During the period of emotional separation and lackluster performances, the heya weakened further, and younger rikishi in Musashigawa-beya and other heya came into their ascendancy, as did Musashimaru, who made that final step up to yokozuna.  Still, Taka signaled that he was not done yet, still winning the occasional yusho and helping to heighten still further that “wall” for the up-and-coming “wannabes” to climb.  Yet, with all his woes, one of his most memorable matches was still to come.

It was the 14th day of the 2001 Natsu Basho.  Taka had a very tough match with Musoyama, which he lost, twisting his right knee badly in the process.  At the time, it did not look very bad, but a post-match examination revealed seriously torn ligaments.  He was strongly advised to pull out, but not wanting to give up the yusho to Musashimaru by default, he chose to compete.  In the final torikumi of the day, a clearly injured 13-1 Taka went up to face a confident 12-2 Maru.  Maru twisted slightly aside at the tachiai, slapping Taka down
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