Amateur Sumo – the sport as it should be
Mark Buckton
Sakai World Sumo Champs – not all about winning

Las Vegas Koen
Joe Kuroda
Our man reports from the fight capital of the world

Rikishi of Old
Joe Kuroda
A look at a rikishi of yesterday with Kotozakura – our man for October

Heya Peek
John Gunning
John’s early morning dash to Azumazeki-beya & report on TKOTU

SFM Interview
Katrina Watts sits down with SFM’s Mark Buckton to discuss amateur sumo

Photo Bonanza
SFM’s best yet – Aki Basho/ Las Vegas / Amateur World Champs / Azumazeki-beya visit – seen nowhere else

Aki Basho Review
Lon Howard
Lon gives us his Aki Basho summary, along with the henka sightings results, and his take on the tournament while ‘gem’ of the basho takes a break

Lower Division Rikishi
Mikko Mattila
Mikko Mattila returns to cover lower division ups and downs

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

Sumo 101
Barbara Ann Klein
Discovers and explains amasumo & ozumo variations

Kimarite Focus
Mikko Mattila
Mikko once again walks us through his chosen kimarite

John McTague
John’s unique bimonthly view of news from outside the dohyo

Online Gaming
Zenjimoto of ‘game fame’ covers some of the very best sumo games around – his own!

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

Fan Debate
Is the limit on foreign rikishi fair? See what our debaters had to say

SFM Cartoons
Benny Loh
In the first of our cartoon bonanzas, sit back and chuckle at Benny Loh’s offerings

Let’s Hear From You
What was it that made you a sumo fan? Gernobono tells all

Readers’ Letters
See what SFM readers had to say since our last issue

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

The 53rd Yokozuna Kotozakura Masakatsu / Sadogatake Yoshikane

by Joe Kuroda
and enter Ozumo but his parents wanted him to continue with judo. He found an acquaintance of then Sadogatake Oyakata (former komusubi Kotonishiki) in his hometown and asked him if he could be accepted to join the heya and help convince his parents, who did later agree to go along with his wish.

Shortly after Norio made his dohyo debut at the 1959 Hatsu basho as Kamatani, his shisho gave him a new shikona, Kotozakura. Koto from his shisho’s active career name, Kotonishiki, and Sakura, after his hometown, which was well-
known for its cherry blossoms.

From his jonokuchi debut to mid-sandanme in January 1960, when he won the sandanme yusho, Kotozakura recorded at least six wins every single basho. He was gradually building up his physique and acquiring more power, but he was still attempting too many judo-like throws. By this time, both his shisho and his senior rikishi at the heya, Kotogahama, were trying to correct his inappropriate judo habits by forbidding him to use any throwing moves, but rather focusing solely on getting his opponent’s mawashi and moving forward. Kotozakura was also

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This year, on November 26, Sadogatake oyakata (Sadogatake Yoshikane), former yokozuna Kotozakura, will be celebrating his 65th birthday and will officially retire from the Nihon Sumo Kyokai. He will be leaving the legacy of a sumo career spanning over 46 years, highlighted by his remarkable accomplishment of reaching its highest rank as the 53rd yokozuna when he was already 32 years old. This achievement was the culmination of his active sumo career, overcoming a series of setbacks due to injury and inconsistency, by sheer perseverance and endurance. Nicknamed “Wild Bull”, Kotozakura was feared by his opponents with his trademark head-first tackle, hitting his opponent squarely with his wide shoulders and huge forehead.

Kotozakura, real name Norio Kamatani, was born in what is known today as Kurayoshi city in Tottori Prefecture, in November, 1940. Sumo occupied a large part of his family life –
his father was active in regional sumo meets, while a younger brother of his grandfather was a professional rikishi who competed in both Osaka and Kyoto sumo tournaments.

As a police officer, Norio’s father was strict in observing manners and discipline, and this patriarch’s teaching in the early years, with his earnest personality and unyielding approach to sumo life, greatly influenced Kotozakura.

As a big youngster out of elementary school, Norio started competing in judo when he began middle school. He excelled so much in judo that he acquired the Shodan (first class) level – unheard of for a middle school student at the time. He was also a good athlete, breaking a middle school record in shot-put at a major track and field tournament. While in high school, he entered an All Japan High School sumo tournament and placed third in the Individual class. By this time, he secretly wanted to turn pro
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