<DATE> Contents

Attention to Akeni
Carolyn Todd
SFM's newest addition to the writing staff takes an in-depth look at akeni, their history and production techniques
Rikishi of Old
Joe Kuroda
Joe Kuroda slides former yokozuna Minanogawa under his SFM microscope
Eric Evaluates
Eric Blair
Eric's wit scythes through the SML and makes clear his opinion of where the future lies for online sumo forums.
Eternal Banzuke Phase II
Lon Howard
Stats, equations and mathematics all lead to a list of sumo's most prolific up and downers
Matta-Henka: Another View
Lon Howard
A row that will never be fully decided but Lon gives his impressions on it all the same
Heya Peek
Mark Buckton
Mihogaseki, former home of Estonian sekitori Baruto is toured (and peeked at) by SFM's Editor-in-Chief
SFM Interview
Mark Buckton
Mark interviews shin-komusubi Kokkai
Photo Bonanza
See the Nagoya basho and Akeni photo bonanzas
Nagoya Basho Summary
Lon Howard
Lon gives us his Nagoya basho summary, along with the henka sightings results
Lower Division Rikishi
Mikko Mattila
Mikko Mattila casts his watchful eye over lower division goings on in makushita and below.
Aki Ones to Watch
Carolyn Todd
Carolyn takes over the job of rikishi job performance prediction for SFM as she looks at those to keep an eye on come September
Kimarite Focus
Mikko Mattila
Our man Mikko's latest trio of kimarite get thrown about the SFM literary dohyo
Amateur Angles
Howard Gilbert
Howard returns with the second of his columns on the amateur sumo scene.
Sumo Game
SFM's very own quiz comes in for a bit of self scrutiny by our secretive man of questions. We'll call him 'X'.
Sumo in Print
Barbara Ann Klein
SFM’s Editor reviews “The Little Yokozuna”, a book for “young” (and older) adults
Kokugi Connections
Todd Lambert
Check out Todd's bimonthly focus on 3 of the WWW's best sumo sites
Fan Debate
Facilitator - Lon Howard
Keri Sibley and Eduardo de Paz  ponder the concept of ‘to pay or not to pay’ makushita salaries
SFM Cartoons
Stephen Thompson
Sit back and enjoy the offerings of one of sumo's premier artists
Lets Hear From You
What was it that made you a sumo fan? SFM’s own Todd Lambert details his path into sumofandom
Readers' Letters
See what our readers had to say since we last went out
Sumo Quiz
The Quizmaster
Answer the Qs and win yourself next basho’s banzuke.

Heya Peek -
Mihogaseki - beya

Text and Photos by Mark Buckton

under ten men currently on the books.

The façade of the building itself is not unlike that of Kasugano-beya of the same Ichimon, but unlike Kasugano, Mihogaseki rikishi can more often than not be seen spilling out onto the street during asageiko due to the combination of a lack of space and light in the keikoba and almost no traffic passing in front of the heya. Indeed, on each and every visit I have made, it would not be an exaggeration to say that at least one or two bodies, sitting atop towels in the street performing the matawari exercises, were the only obstacles I came across in attendance, Mihogaseki being among the most fan-friendly and welcoming of heya in this period of ‘no foreigners / no visitors’ or both.

Once inside, and past or over the prone figures, visitors will be waved to a space straight ahead, to the immediate right of the practice dohyo.

After shedding footwear in the main reception area that also doubles as a rikishi walkway through to the first floor showers and stairs, seats should be taken several meters to the left of the oyakata who, when present, sits under the obligatory Shinto


Heya come and heya go, but Mihogaseki is an oldie. This heya has been around a long time.

With a history that dates back to the old days of Osaka having its own separate sumo entity, the heya came into being after the 1926 establishment of the Dai-Nihon Sumo Kyokai.

Currently headed by the former ozeki Masuiyama II, son of the previous oyakata and an ozeki with the same Masuiyama shikona, much of the glory of the late 1970s and early 1980s has slipped away in the 22 years since the former succeeded the latter.

The drab-looking heya building is situated in a rather awkward location for those not familiar with eastern Tokyo’s grid of streets and canals. Halfway between the main gathering of heya to the immediate south of the Ryogoku Kokugikan and the sprinkling of stables near Kiyosumi stand Kitanoumi-, Odake- and Oguruma-beya

respectively, Mihogaseki is one of the least modern of the 25 to 30-plus stables I have had the honour of visiting in my time watching sumo. NB: the bottom of the pile in terms of size, layout and lacking that overall je ne se quois is Miyagino-beya, a couple of kilometres to the east of Mihogaseki in the Kinshicho area.

As the former home of yokozuna Kitanoumi, the current Rijicho, and the ozeki pair of Masuiyama and the recently deceased Hokutenyu (the former Hatachiyama Oyakata), the stable today is but a shadow of its former self, and, just as a couple of potential stars of tomorrow began to shine (Baruto and Shiraishi) came the painful news that the heya would split as Onoe oyakata took his own deshi – including Baruto and Shiraishi, juryo sekitori Satoyama and three or four others to the newly- founded Onoe-beya in southern Tokyo’s Ota Ward. This happened just a few short weeks ago leaving Mihogaseki with


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