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Brothers no longer active on the dohyo come under the SFM microscope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.

Lower Division Rikishi

by Mikko Mattila
will bring a heavy dose of new blood into juryo for the start of the new year.

As in the September basho, Homasho lost to both Satoyama and Mokonami, but picked up

important wins against juryo rikishi. He finished with 5-2 at Ms3e and looked quite good despite also having some luck – especially in his win against Takanotsuru where he was on the receiving end. Homasho looked stronger physically than in Aki basho.

Satoyama fully deserved his promotion by beating a bunch of quality makushita rikishi. He caused the only defeat to Sumanofuji; performed possibly the most breath-taking shitatehineri of the year against Mokonami, flipping him over in a very airborne fashion; had a long intense seesaw bout against the prototype of high

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In case of a sudden urge to come up with ways to bundle rikishi into groups within divisions, one could divide makushita rikishi roughly into four classes, based on career prospects – young up-and-coming rikishi who are clearly on their way to battle for places in makuuchi, makushita regulars who seem to have found their level in that division and don’t exhibit evident ability to rise to solid sekitori-class, former sekitori who drop down from juryo due to age, injuries, congestion in juryo or overall decrease in strength, and finally, rikishi who mostly compete in sandanme or lower makushita, shuttling between the divisions.

Up-and-coming rikishi comprise the most interesting group since that is the herd where future makuuchi gems can be singled out, and their progress followed with major or mediocre interest. Age is a major factor in the equation of evaluating a rikishi’s future prospects and room for improvement. However, with the influx of strong college rikishi, there are many rikishi nearing their mid-twenties who can still be counted as young up-and-coming rikishi. The
difference between a 19-year old and a 24-year old very promising makushita rikishi is that any signs of hitting the wall in makushita may cause more abrupt sighs of disappointment or worry for the 24-year old, whereas the 19-year old rikishi’s wall hitting signs are treated more gently due to various physical and mental maturation processes that are in progress.

The Kyushu Basho makushita yusho deciding bout took place on day 13 when the only remaining undefeated rikishi, Sawai, faced Satoyama. Sawai’s tachiai was awkward and he bounced back at the impact, but quickly regaining his posture, surged in and pushed Satoyama out to rack up his third career yusho after having conquered both jonokuchi and sandanme divisions earlier this year.

High makushita was filled with interesting rikishi with aspirations and youthful testosterone flowing in the veins. The magnificent triplet that excelled in Aki Basho had a good opportunity to earn a promotion to juryo. All three succeeded in the mission and
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