Brothers in Sumo –
part one

Brian Lewin
Brothers no longer active on the dohyo come under the SFM microscope

NHK & the Ozumo
English Broadcast

Mark Buckton
A visit to NHK, years of watching the show and the opinions of our Ed-in-Chief

Hanging With the Rikishi
Barbara Ann Klein
Barbara Ann Klein recounts her experiences with the “boys” in a pictorial diary series

Rikishi of Old
Joe Kuroda
A look at a rikishi of yesteryear with Chiyonoyama – our man for December

Sumo Exhibit at the
Edo-Tokyo Museum

Barbara Ann Klein
SFM’s Editor takes in the exhibit celebrating 80 years of the Japan Sumo Association at this famous Tokyo museum

Heya Peek
John Gunning
John’s early morning trip to Hakkaku – a visit that almost didn’t happen

SFM Interview
Dave Wiggins sits down
with SFM’s Mark Buckton to discuss the broadcast scene – and maple syrup

Photo Bonanza
What a collection – All-Japan Sumo Tournament, Hakkaku-
beya visit and sumo exhibits at the Edo-Tokyo Museum

Kyushu Basho Review
Lon Howard
Lon gives us his Kyushu Basho summary, along with the henka sightings results, and his take on the year in brief

Lower Division Rikishi
Mikko Mattila
Mikko Mattila covers lower division ups and downs

Hatsu Basho Forecast
Pierre Wohlleben & Mark
Pierre predicts the Hatsu Basho banzuke while Mark previews the ones to watch for in January

Sumo 101
Eric Blair
Eric explains all you need to know and then some about the Kokugikan building – the mecca of sumo

Kimarite Focus
Mikko Mattila
Mikko walks us through his chosen kimarite in expert fashion

John McTague
John’s unique bimonthly view of news from outside the dohyo

Online Gaming
Eric Blair
For the lowdown on Guess the Kotomitsuki – baby of SFM’s John Gunning

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

Fan Debate
Intra heya bouts –
OK or not? See what our debaters had to say

SFM Cartoons
Stephen Thompson
In the second of our cartoon bonanzas, sit back and enjoy ST’s offerings

Let’s Hear From You
What was it that made you a sumo fan? American Todd Defoe tells all

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

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

Kotenage, Tottari & Sakatottari

by Mikko Mattila
nevertheless the most frequent kotenage user at sekitori level at the moment. In fact, at the time of writing, Kasugao has won 17 times with kotenage in makuuchi, which is about 26% of all his makuuchi wins. Takanonami, Kaio and Kasugao are in their own class when it comes to kotenage usage but there are many rikishi who have 5-8 kotenage wins during their makuuchi careers.

Kotenage is a technique where the pressure is mostly in the arm of the defender. The attacker wraps his arm around the defender’s upper arm and throws him down or sort of twists him around and out of the dohyo. The defender naturally has his arm on the inside of the attacker’s arm which enables the attacker to try to control that arm by wrapping his own arm around it. Such situations happen often on the dohyo, but kotenage is not always the most effective technique to deploy and there are countless examples where even kotenage specialists ruin their own bout by going for it in a much less than optimal situation. Both Kaio and Kasugao perform kotenage so well, though, that they can succeed in the throw even from a disadvantageous position reasonably often.

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Day 13 of Natsu basho in 1999 was a turning point in Tochinonada’s sumo when the “turning point” of his left elbow shifted to an unanatomical site as a result of Kaio’s kotenage. He suffered quite extensive elbow damage to his strong arm and was hampered by that injury for a long time. In Aki basho 2000, Dejima threw down ailing Tochiazuma with a major kotenage, resulting in a shoulder injury. On day 6 in Haru basho 2001, Kotoryu’s left arm was caught deep in Kaio’s armpit and once Kaio pivoted, yanking Kotoryu forward and down with force, there was a bone-breaking sound coming from Kotoryu’s arm. The technique was again, of course – kotenage. In Haru basho 2003 on day 9, Kotonowaka upset Asashoryu with a kotenage that was one of the only three kotenage of his long makuuchi career. After that bout, Asashoryu’s elbow didn’t feel too comfortable. The examples of kotenage bouts where injury is to either shoulder, elbow or arm are quite abundant. It doesn’t always cause an injury that warrants withdrawal from the basho, but the scenes where an already wounded elbow or shoulder gets aggravated in the heat of a kotenage loss are not hard to find. Even without robust statistical analysis, it is safe to say that of the techniques that are commonly seen, kotenage is the most dangerous when measured in relative number of injuries inflicted.

A sumo fan that has followed sumo for more than a couple of years probably brings up the name Takanonami when asked about rikishi who have kotenage in their repertoire as a special skill. Others may opt for Kaio (35 kotenage wins so far in makuuchi) immediately, although Takanonami is clearly the most active kotenage winner since 1990 with his stunning 65 kotenage victories. Massive Kushimaumi also had kotenage in his core arsenal. Korean Kasugao hasn’t succeeded in gaining a solid foothold in makuuchi due to his injury prone body and somewhat unrefined sumo, but is
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