Brothers in Sumo –
part two

Brian Lewin
Brothers still active on the dohyo get their turn

Yokozuna Comparisons
Joe Kuroda
SFM’s most eminent historian, JK, has a crack at the impossible and tries to see who was the greatest of the tsuna wearers

Rikishi of Old
John Gunning
Takanobori – former sekiwake, former NHK man and all ’round gent

Heya Peek
Barbara Ann Klein
Kitanoumi-beya, Kitazakura, mirrors & photo bonanza

SFM Interview
John Gunning
Kazuyoshi Yoshikawa (son of the late sekiwake Takanobori) on life in sumo way back when

Sumo 101
Barbara Ann Klein
Behind every good man there stands a good woman – read and ye shall see. A departure from our regular 101 feature

Photo Bonanza
See the Hatsu Basho
plus much more through the lens of our photographers

Hatsu Basho Review
Lon Howard
Lon gives us his Hatsu Basho summary, along with the henka sightings results

Lower Division Rikishi
Mikko Mattila
Mikko Mattila covers lower division goings on in detail

Haru Basho Forecast
Pierre Wohlleben & Mark Buckton
Pierre predicts the Haru Basho banzuke while Mark highlights the ones to look out for in Osaka

Kimarite Focus
Mikko Mattila
Mikko takes us on a tour of his chosen kimarite

John McTague
John’s unique bimonthly view of sumo news from outside the dohyo and in the restaurants!

Online Gaming
Alexander Nitschke
SFM’s own Alexander Nitschke covers the long running Hoshitori Game

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

Fan Debate
Feb's debate sees
a pair of Kiwis exchanging opinions on the honbasho going on the road

SFM Cartoons
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

Let’s Hear From You
What was it that
made you a sumo fan? A unique perspective from a sightless reader.

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

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

Table 3 – Makuuchi winning percentages
WinLossDraw (See Note)Hold (See Note)Kyujo (See Note)No Result (See Note)
1.Umegatani I95.1%1166182  
2.Tanikaze 94.9%258141616 6
4.Onogawa91.7%1441343 1

Asashoryu’s makuuchi winning percentage of 78.1% (359 wins 101 losses 5 kyujo in 31 basho at the end of Hatsu 2006) is remarkably consistent with his career average of 78.0% (432 wins, 121 losses and 5 kyujo in 43 basho). This places him in third place in makuuchi winning percentages in the modern era, after Taiho (83.8%) and Futabayama (80.2%), but nowhere near the all time winners’ list. Table 3 shows the six rikishi (all yokozuna) with the highest winning percentage
in their makuuchi records.

Tanikaze was actually an ozeki granted a license to practice “yokozuna” ceremonies (such as the dohyo-iri) by Yoshida Tsukasa as, at the time, yokozuna was neither a rank nor a title. Though the Nihon Sumo Kyokai now recognizes him as the fourth yokozuna, for all intents and purposes he deserves to be named the first yokozuna, as the existence of the first three yokozuna and their sumo career records were never substantiated and not well documented. Tanikaze and the 5th yokozuna Onogawa Kisaburo (1758-1806) received their yokozuna licenses at the November 1789 basho, while there is no documented record of the first three yokozuna receiving their license from the same Yoshida Tsukasa. Based

mae-zumo in order to determine their banzuke ranking for the following basho.

Asashoryu faced the minimum number of three rikishi, all of whom he defeated. On day 3, he beat Matsuoka (no longer in
sumo) of Nakadachi-beya. The next day, he defeated Tokukaizan (also retired) of Isenoumi-beya. On day 5, he won against Tashiro (now Tooyama of blogging fame) of Tamanoi-

The following basho, March 1999, when Asashoryu first appeared on the banzuke, he was ranked as jonokuchi east 34, and after beating Tamatsumi by hatakikomi in his first jonokuchi bout, he lost to Tashiro on day 4 by oshidashi. He finished the basho with 6 wins and 1 loss, but missed out on the yusho. Asashoryu was then promoted to jonidan for the following basho and won all seven bouts to capture the jonidan yusho. In
the July 1999 basho, he again won all seven bouts to capture the sandanme yusho.

In makushita, Asashoryu started well with two six wins/one loss basho, but
encountered a slight wall and suffered his first makekoshi at the January 2000 tournament where he finished with 3 wins and 4 losses. However, three basho later in Nagoya, Asashoryu ranked at makushita west 2, was back in form and won all seven bouts. When he made his dohyo debut, he was 182 cm tall and weighed only 106 kg. By the time he was in makushita he was 184 cm tall and weighed 120 kg. Prior to the basho, he had made a promise to his oyakata that he would finally travel back home to Mongolia the following month. He wanted to tell the folks there that he would become a sekitori, joining Kyokushuzan and Kyokutenho – already national heroes in Mongolia – in the higher ranks.