<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.

Minanogawa Tozo (1903-1971) - The 34th Yokozuna
by Joe Kuroda

of his own Takasago-beya.  However, Akutsugawa’s plan was to be ill-fated: in 1923, the Tokyo area was hit by a major earthquake and Fujigane’s building burned to the ground. Akutsugawa was then forced to ask his own shisho to take Tomojiro in as a new recruit, though the oyakata was miffed at having been spurned the first time.

Tomojiro made his dohyo debut at the May 1924 basho. His shikona, Minanogawa (男女ノ川), came from a poem describing his home in Tsukuba. The Minano (男女) kanji characters represent Man and Woman.  

Tomojiro finished his debut basho with 4 wins and 2 losses, and followed that up with two 5 -2 basho.  Initially, his sumo style was simply to use his height to push his opponent out of the dohyo. At the January 1926 basho, he won all six of his bouts and took the sandanme yusho. He was 22, 188cm (6’2”), and weighed 130kg (287 lbs). Two basho later, he was promoted to juryo east 8, just six basho after his dohyo debut.

Even though Tomojiro had a 5-1 winning record in his juryo debut, his opponents soon started to outmaneuver him after closely studying his oshi-zumo


The 34th yokozuna Minanogawa Tozo was born Tomojiro (note: his name can be read Kyojiro as well) Sakata in what is now known as Tsukuba City, Ibaraki Prefecture on September 17, 1903.  Today Tsukuba has become a modern metropolis with an active cultural and academic life, about an hour away from downtown Tokyo by train, but when Tomojiro was born, the city was just a hinterland, sparsely populated by poor farmers and merchants.

Isokichi, Tomojiro’s father was killed in the Russo-Japanese War when Tomojiro was only two. Tomojiro helped his mother, Shimo, by working as a roof installer with his grandfather and his older brother. This physically demanding labour may have helped him grow big and strong.  By the age of 15, he was already 182cm (5”10”)
tall, far larger than other boys his age, and he soon became well known in the region.

Around this time, Takasago-beya’s makuuchi rikishi Akutsugawa (Takaichiro) happened to visit a nearby hot

spring, and upon hearing about this large boy, decided to personally assess him. He was not disappointed: barely 170cm (5’6”) in height, he found a youth to whom he needed to raise his head in order to talk to him. Tomojiro was already active in local youth sumo tournaments and was very eager to hear Ozumo stories from a real makuuchi rikishi.  But seeing Tomojiro’s excitement, Akutsugawa realized that it was best not to encourage the boy needlessly, and told him how difficult sumo life truly was -  not something to be taken lightly.

On the contrary, Tomojiro was never discouraged by Akutsugawa’s horror stories and was firmly convinced that, because of his size, sumo would be much easier for him. After their fourth meeting, Akutsugawa finally relented and took Tomojiro in as his disciple. Since Akutsugawa was still an active rikishi and not a heya-owning oyakata, he decided to send Tomojiro to his friend, Fujigane oyakata (former
komusubi Wakaminato) instead


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