What Will Become of the Dynasty?
Brian Lewin
The Hanada Dynasty – past or present?

Rikishi of Old
Joe Kuroda
A look at a rikishi of yesteryear with Tenryu our man for August.

Heya Peek

John Gunning
John attends a chanko session at Chiganoura Beya.

Photo Bonanza
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.

Sumo 101
Barbara Ann Klein
Gyoji goings on and several things you never knew about the ones officiating.

Kimarite Focus
Mikko Mattila
Mikko walks us through his 2 chosen kimarite.

John McTague
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

Online Gaming
Jezz Sterling
Hear from the founder of Bench Sumo of one of sumo's most popular games.

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

Fan Debate
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.

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


Ngozi On The Road

by Ngozi T. Robinson

spry and made great calls. My thoughts of him as the friendly ice cream truck man were quickly thrown out when one wrestler initiated a matta and the referee gave him a look so dark and thunderous to express his displeasure that it left no doubt as to who was boss.

As I watched match after match quickly pass, I naturally found myself comparing what I was seeing to the countless basho matches I have watched on video streams and DVDs.  It was a different world.  It was sumo and at the same time it was nothing like what I was used to.  Here the ritual was a bit perfunctory and negligible, with no shiko at the start and the referee often reminding wrestlers to bow at the end.  Wrestlers stood around the dohyo ‘mat’ in flip flops conversing with each other, shouting advice and encouragement to their club-mates in the ring, and helping re-wrap each other’s practice mawashi (believe me I saw some interestingly tied mawashi).  One wrestler had a sponsorship logo on his mawashi, while a few others had club names on theirs as they do in Japanese amateur sumo.

Next Home

First a disclaimer: MapQuest directions are not always the most reliable – so I was a bit late to the tournament.

As I pulled up to the arena and found a spot to park (it was crowded!) I was both excited and apprehensive.  Excited because I had never seen American amateur sumo in person before and apprehensive because, well, quite honestly, part of me feared that anything outside of the Japanese Ozumo I know and love would be a letdown.  I hope through my description you will begin to grasp, as I did, that while it is indeed very different, it is still very real.

I offer not an expert’s guide to the ins and outs of America’s sumo scene, but impressions of the sport and this event from a fan who is completely new to U.S. sumo.

First some basic differences many readers know already:  In this tournament there were weight classes, regional classes, age classes, a free-for all class, women competitors, a gymnasium mat-type dohyo,

referee-initiated tachiai, and sumo pants – worn beneath the mawashi (there was only one competitor not wearing them).

There are also a few similarities that may surprise you:  henkas, slap downs and pull downs crop up here too!  There was even a mono-ii.

When I entered the auditorium, the first things that pressed in on me were the sounds of the sport.  The thud of bodies hitting the floor, the smacks of flesh colliding and the voice of the referee echoed around the hall.

I took my seat amongst about 200 spectators and took in U.S. sumo, which at once was familiar and surprisingly different to yours truly.

The referee was dressed, for lack of a better reference, like a Good Humor ice cream man.  Clad in all white, from his bow tie to his socks, my first impression was that this man should be playing shuffleboard in a Florida retirement community. That said, he was actually extremely

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