Brothers still active on the dohyo get their turn
SFM’s most eminent historian, JK, has a crack at the impossible and tries to see who was the greatest of the tsuna wearers
Takanobori – former sekiwake, former NHK man and all ’round gent
Kitanoumi-beya, Kitazakura, mirrors & photo bonanza
Kazuyoshi Yoshikawa (son of the late sekiwake Takanobori) on life in sumo way back when
Behind every good man there stands a good woman – read and ye shall see. A departure from our regular 101 feature
plus much more through the lens of our photographers
Lon gives us his Hatsu Basho summary, along with the henka sightings results
Mikko Mattila covers lower division goings on in detail
Pierre predicts the Haru Basho banzuke while Mark highlights the ones to look out for in Osaka
Mikko takes us on a tour of his chosen kimarite
John’s unique bimonthly view of sumo news from outside the dohyo and in the restaurants!
SFM’s own Alexander Nitschke covers the long running Hoshitori Game
Todd’s bimonthly focus on 3 of the most interesting sumo sites today
a pair of Kiwis exchanging opinions on the honbasho going on the road
Benny Loh & Stephen Thompson
In the third of our cartoon bonanzas, sit back and enjoy BL’s offerings and put a caption to ST’s pic to win yourselves a banzuke
made you a sumo fan? A unique perspective from a sightless reader.
readers had to say since our last issue
Answer the Qs and win yourself next basho’s banzuke.
Nagoya Basho just six months later.
Since that time, younger brother Aminishiki has been considerably more successful, spending much of his career in makuuchi. Though a rather skilled technician in the mold of Mainoumi (if quite a bit taller at 184cm), he has generally
Aminishiki and Asofuji planning the day’s strategy (Photo by Barbara Ann Klein)
been unable to put enough wins together to qualify for a ginosho, (technique award-only two to date), and has never made it to sanyaku. Still, his three kinboshi (gold stars awarded to a maegashira after having beaten a yokozuna) and good mix of kimarite mark him as a threat to any rikishi, despite his inconsistency. And that inconsistency was on full display last year, going from maegashira 16 to 17 to 11 to 9 to 5 to 6 in Kyushu, where a 7-8
dropped him one more rank for Hatsu. A solid 9-6 should push him back up a few ranks for Haru, and it’s anybody’s guess which way he’ll go from there.
On the other hand, it is good to see that, after some time in makushita, older brother Asofuji seems determined to, if not catch up to his brother, at least share sekitori status with him. Asofuji has a good range of techniques, but perhaps due to being smaller and lighter – or lacking in fighting spirit – he has so far not been as skilled at capitalizing on them as his brother has. Last year, after an abortive entry into juryo in the September 2003 basho, and again a year later, he made it back up in January and (much like his maegashira brother) spent the entire year there sliding up and down the ranks, ending the year with a 9-6 at juryo 10w in Kyushu. That boosted him up to 5w for Hatsu where an 8-7 gives him a shot at surpassing his previous career high (J3 last March) for Haru.
The Tama Brothers
Fukushima’s Okabe brothers come from famous sports heritage, but not sumo. Their father was a well-known and successful middle-/super-
welterweight boxer called “Turtle Okabe”. They, however, decided to follow the path of
their maternal uncle (ex-ozeki Kiyokuni) and go into sumo instead, starting in elementary school. Rather than join a heya straight out of junior high, they both continued on to high school and college, ultimately settling at Toyo University. After graduating, older brother Mitsukuni was scouted by ex-sekiwake Tamanofuji’s Kataonami-beya, where he entered as makushita tsukedashi in the ’98 Haru Basho. Younger brother Arata decided to join him as well, quitting school early and joining Kataonami with the same status at the same basho. They became Tamanokuni and Tamanonada, respectively, though they would both later change, to Tamamitsukuni and Tamanoshima.
While they were together for a time in juryo in mid-2000 and early 2001, Tamanoshima has generally done comfortably better, settling in to makuuchi in early 2001 and staying there, while Tamamitsukuni has spent the majority of his career in makushita. Despite some spectacular performances – such as an 11-4 at M10 in Haru 2001 and a 12-3 at M7 four months later in Nagoya – Tamanoshima has become something of an upper-maegashira journeyman, using his size and power to be a