What Will Become of the Dynasty?
The Hanada Dynasty – past or present?
Rikishi of Old
A look at a rikishi of yesteryear with Tenryu our man for August.
John attends a chanko session at Chiganoura Beya.
For a glimpse at some of the sights you won't see on TV.
July Basho Review
Lon Howard & John Gunning
Lon gives us his Nagoya Basho summary and his take on upset of the tournament while John chips in with his ‘gem’ of the basho.
Lower Division Rikishi
Mikko Mattila takes a break and Eric Blair covers the lower divisions in his own ‘unique’ way.
Aki Basho Forecast
Pierre Wohlleben & Mark Buckton
Pierre predicts the Aki Basho banzuke while Mark previews the ones to watch next time out.
Barbara Ann Klein
Gyoji goings on and several things you never knew about the ones officiating.
Mikko walks us through his 2 chosen kimarite.
John's unique view of news from outside the dohyo.
Boletín de Sumo en Español
Eduardo de Paz Gútiez
An article on sumo’s very first fan mag – Boletin de Sumo en Espanol
Hear from the founder of Bench Sumo of one of sumo's most popular games.
Todd’s focus on 3 of the most interesting online sumo sites today.
Henka – good, bad or ugly? See what our debaters think.
Let’s Hear From You
What was it that made you a sumo fan – the Petros Zachos story.
Ngozi on the Road
Ngozi T. Robinson
NTR visits an amasumo event in the north-east U.S. and tells us what it was like.
Answer the Qs and win yourself next basho's banzuke.
beya in the spring of 1965 and immediately ceased to be his brother. Wanting very much to avoid any appearance of favoritism, the oyakata swung in the other direction, seemingly going out of his way to discipline his brother; the better he did and the higher he rose, the more “tender, loving care” he got. Whether it was the oyakata’s intention or not, it certainly paid off in terms of seventeen straight winning records and a March 1968 juryo promotion at 18 years, one month that made Takanohana I, at the time, the youngest-ever sekitori (a record later broken by Kitanoumi, and then, his own son). That stay did not last long however, as an Aki Basho juryo yusho secured him makuuchi promotion, again setting a similar record for promotion to the top flight. He slowed down slightly after that, taking two years to make his sanyaku (komusubi) debut, at the age of 20, in the 1970 Aki Basho. That basho would produce what Takanohana would later call his most memorable victory – a showdown with Dai-Yokozuna Taiho. After some intense grappling and numerous throw attempts by Taiho, Taka achieved a yorikiri force-out to end a classic one minute, ten second bout.
In the early ‘70s, Takanohana, Wajima, Kitanoumi and Takamiyama were thought to be
the new young hopes for sumo. Nicknamed “young power” by the media, they were quickly establishing themselves as forces to be reckoned with. Promoted to ozeki together with Wajima after the 1972 Aki Basho, the two of them especially were pegged as the next yokozuna duo, and the next great rivals, heralding a new “Taka-Jima” era. But it was not to be.
Although Taka was briefly a rival with Wajma, after the latter quickly passed him to move up to yokozuna, he did not really have a specific rival, instead serving as a thorn in the side of many rikishi, including the various yokozuna who served one rank above him. He was an excellent technician and much stronger than he looked, but despite that and two yusho, he was never quite able to achieve the size and power necessary to make that final step up (though you would never know that from his having a level of popularity that equaled or exceeded that of the then yokozuna). He will, however, be remembered as one of the finest ozeki in the modern era.
His brilliant leg techniques and almost uncountable last-moment wins made him a constant threat to everyone, particularly yokozuna Kitanofuji and Kitanoumi. He was a special frustration to the
latter, in that both of the two yusho taken by Takanohana were won in yusho playoffs against Kitanoumi. The first of these, in the 1975 Haru Basho, made him and Wakanohana I the first brothers in sumo history to win a makuuchi yusho – a feat later achieved by his own sons – and having the yusho flag presented to him by his own brother was a uniquely emotional moment.
His second yusho would come six months later, leading many to anticipate a yokozuna promotion that never quite materialized. He would remain a threat, however, racking up 578 career makuuchi wins, and spending a record 50 basho at ozeki.
As the ‘80s began, he was clearly winding down, only just managing to hold on to his rank. In the 1981 Hatsu Basho, after a sixth-day loss against Zaonishiki, Takanohana I announced his retirement, apparently feeling he had done all he could, and that it would be better to retire from the rank rather than continue to compete and face potential demotion.
As an oyakata, he would go on to create one of the strongest heya in modern sumo history. After founding Fujishima-beya by