NHK & the Ozumo
A visit to NHK, years of watching the show and the opinions of our Ed-in-Chief
Hanging With the Rikishi
Barbara Ann Klein
Barbara Ann Klein recounts her experiences with the “boys” in a pictorial diary series
Sumo Exhibit at the
Barbara Ann Klein
SFM’s Editor takes in the exhibit celebrating 80 years of the Japan Sumo Association at this famous Tokyo museum
What a collection – All-Japan Sumo Tournament, Hakkaku-
beya visit and sumo exhibits at the Edo-Tokyo Museum
Kyushu Basho Review
Lon gives us his Kyushu Basho summary, along with the henka sightings results, and his take on the year in brief
Lower Division Rikishi
Mikko Mattila covers lower division ups and downs
Eric explains all you need to know and then some about the Kokugikan building – the mecca of sumo
John’s unique bimonthly view of news from outside the dohyo
For the lowdown on Guess the Kotomitsuki – baby of SFM’s John Gunning
Todd’s bimonthly focus on 3 of the most interesting sumo sites today
In the second of our cartoon bonanzas, sit back and enjoy ST’s offerings
Let’s Hear From You
What was it that made you a sumo fan? American Todd Defoe tells all
See what SFM readers had to say since our last issue
Answer the Qs and win yourself next basho’s banzuke.
The 41st Yokozuna Chiyonoyama Masanobu
Dewanoumi-beya supporters’ club member, who was so impressed with the boy that he immediately asked him to join the heya. Accompanied by his uncle, Masaharu arrived in Tokyo in July 1941 and was met by then director of Sumo Kyokai Film Productions Department, Torahiko Ise. Upon seeing the lanky young boy, there was no doubt in Ise’s mind that the boy would be a yokozuna one day. Ise took Masaharu to Dewanoumi-beya where they were met by Fujishima oyakata (former yokozuna Tsunenohana), who was equally impressed by Masaharu’s size and asked him to join the heya right away.
But Masaharu had his own dream and he declined to join Dewanoumi-beya. More than anything else, Masaharu wanted to learn under the great yokozuna Futabayama. He admired the yokozuna and aspired to be like him someday, and no one could persuade him otherwise. Exasperated, Torahiko Ise finally said to Masaharu, “You cannot join Futabayama. Do you know why? Because one day you will become a rikishi who will conquer Futabayama.” Masaharu remembered that a chill went up through his spine when Ise told him that since no
The 41st yokozuna, Chiyonoyama Masanobu, came out of the ashes of Japan’s World War II defeat to help bring Ozumo into the modern age. Chiyonoyama was the first rikishi the Nihon Sumo Kyokai promoted to the ultimate rank of yokozuna on its own authority, since it officially took over the yokozuna promotion responsibility from the House of Yoshida Tsukasa. When Chiyonoyama was promoted, this young yokozuna, 189 cm tall and 119 kg, provided new hope and a dream for a better future to millions of Japanese still eking out a meager living in the aftermath of the devastating war. Today, Chiyonoyama’s legacy continues as the heya he founded after his retirement is carried on by the current Kokonoe oyakata, former yokozuna Chiyonofuji, who was born and raised in the same small town. (There is a museum there celebrating the lives of the two great yokozuna.)
Born in Fukushima-cho, Matsumae-gun in Hokkaido on June 2, 1926, Chiyonoyama
became the first yokozuna to hail from Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido, which subsequently became the hotbed of great sumo talent, producing such prominent yokozuna as Yoshibayama, Taiho and Chiyonoyama’s recruits Kitanofuji and Chiyonofuji, as well as the current chairman of the Japan Sumo Association, Kitanoumi.
Born Masaharu Sugimura, fifth son of squid fisherman Yonematsu, he often went out on the boat, helping his father all night long, soon after he started attending elementary school. It was extremely tough work for a little boy, but the years of working on the sea built a physique that sustained him throughout his sumo career. By the time Masaharu was 10 years old, he was bigger than any of the other boys in his neighborhood. He was asked to participate in a local kids’ sumo tournament and promptly beat five older boys to win the yusho.
One of his teachers arranged for Masaharu to meet a local