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Brothers no longer active on the dohyo come under the SFM microscope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

Sumo 101 – the Ryogoku Kokugikan

Eric Blair
a sumo arena of old – one that burned down almost a century ago.

After passing through the main gates and entering the building proper, various images of sumo in Japanese folklore can be seen inside the main entrance hall. History buffs be warned – Kojiki, et al – all represented here.

Directly ahead stands the trophy cabinet – jam-packed with the prizes heaped upon the yusho winner during basho, but oftentimes empty in between. Small escalators to the left and right – immediately before the trophy cabinet – take those with second floor seating reservations or non-reserved tickets to their raised vantage point, while those set to watch the day unfold from the first floor masu-seki seats can choose any one of a number of access points along the corridor that circumnavigates the building.

The first floor corridor itself, seeming to run in circular form but not quite, plays host to numerous shops and kiosks selling souvenirs, sumo artwork and literature and even, of course, snacks and liquid refreshment for those in need. (Similar snack / drink vendors can be found on the second floor, but souvenir shopping is

Next Home
The Ryogoku Kokugikan is the Mecca of the sumo world.

Constructed during 1984, it opened in time for the first day of the 1985 Hatsu Basho only to see it start life as the place the current Rijicho Kitanoumi, then yokozuna Kitanoumi, decided to hang up his mawashi.

Standing not far shy of 50m (164 ft.) in height, the green-roofed Kokugikan is situated atop land once owned by JR (Japan Railways) just to

In JR Ryogoku Station – Mienoumi, now Musashigawa Oyakata
the north of Ryogoku Station in Tokyo’s Sumida-ku.

Said capable of withstanding the strongest earthquake Mother Nature can throw at Tokyo, the arena will be used as a center for those displaced when (not ‘if’, sadly) the time comes.

But all at the Ryogoku Kokugikan is not sumo however, and it is there that we will start a brief tour of things “a la Kokugikan”! Between basho, the building can, and has repeatedly been used for a number of other events including professional wrestling Japanese style, concerts, boxing and recently, even a promo night for a new movie starring former rikishi Mainoumi in a minor role – but a movie in need of a more traditional ‘background’ than the theaters in Ginza and Shinjuku.

The building itself is entered from the north south street that runs parallel to the Sumida River and ends about 100m to the south of the modern Kokugikan, opposite the site of
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