Nagoya Nears
Eric Blair
As Nagoya nears, EB gets a head start on the pack by focussing on points of interest, past and present surrounding sumo's hottest basho

Rikishi of Old
Joe Kuroda
The 42nd yokozuna Kagamisato falls under the JK microscope

Heya Peek
Barbara Ann Klein
Kokonoe-beya and the Chiyo Boys

SFM Interview
Mark Buckton
SFM's Ed-in-Chief interviews Estonian up and comer Baruto

Sumo 101
Barbara Ann Klein
SFM's Editor looks at all the twists and turns involved in the tsunauchi-shiki and adds a photo bonanza to boot

Photo Bonanza
See the Natsu
Basho and Kokonoe-beya photo bonanzas

Natsu Basho Summary
Lon Howard
Lon gives us his Natsu Basho summary, along with the henka sightings results

Lower Division Rikishi
Mikko Mattila
Mikko Mattila lets you know what is going on down below the curtain

Nagoya Ones to Watch
Mark Buckton
MB's mixed bag of things to look out for in Nagoya

Kimarite Focus
Mikko Mattila
Our man Mikko takes us on a tour of several defensive oriented kimarite

Amateur Angles
Howard Gilbert
The first of our regular column pieces on the amateur sumo scene from a man who knows more than most

Sumo Game
Bruce Rae
For a look at his very own: PTYW (Pick The Yusho Winners)

Sumo in Print
Barbara Ann Klein
SFM's Editor reviews the newly published biography of Akebono, Gaijin Yokozuna – but sees it as more than just a biography

Kokugi Connections
Todd Lambert
Check out Todd's bimonthly focus on 3 of the WWW's best sumo sites around

Fan Debate
Facilitator – Lon Howard
Sumo author Mina Hall and long long time fan Jim Bitgood discuss how to make sumo more entertaining – if such a concept is even necessary

SFM Cartoons
Benny Loh & Stephen Thompson
Sit back and enjoy the offerings of sumo's premier artists

Let’s Hear From You
What was it that
made you a sumo fan? James Vath in rural Japan lets us in on his gateway to the sport

Readers’ Letters
See what our readers had to say since we last went out

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

  Gaijin Yokozuna – A Biography of Chad Rowan

Book Review from Barbara Ann Klein

I received this book just three days before writing this review, and simply put, just could not put it down. It is written in both first and third person styles, and, as such, becomes much more personal than the usual run-of-the-mill biography. Indeed, it does not just chronicle Akebono from childhood on up to the highest level of the banzuke; it instead, documents the family life, the heya life and the cultural differences that enabled – and at times, almost inhibited – his rise to the top of the sumo hierarchy. This is done most interestingly via modified “flashbacks” between the author's interviews with the book's principle players, mainly Chad, his family and other Hawaiian and Samoan transplants to Japan, and the events leading up to Chad's realization of the yokozuna title and his eventual retirement. Gaijin Yokozuna follows Chad through his first scouting as a basketball star potential, which garnered him a college scholarship that he was to abandon to take his chances as a “sumo wrestler” in a foreign land, to the inevitable career-
ending series of events and his “break” with the Sumo Kyokai.

Chad's experiences as the new boy in Azumazeki-beya, the

Gaijin Yokozuna
A Biography of Chad Rowan
by Mark Panek

2006 University of Hawai'i Press,

At the age of eighteen, Chad Rowan left his home in rural Hawai`i for Tokyo with visions of becoming a star athlete in Japan's national sport, sumo. But upon his arrival he was shocked less by the city crowds and the winter cold than by

having to scrub toilets and answer to fifteen-year-olds who had preceded him at the sumo beya. Rowan spoke no Japanese. Of Japanese culture, he knew only what little his father, a former tour bus driver in Hawai`i, had been able to tell him as they drove to the airport. And he had never before set foot in a sumo ring. Five years later, against the backdrop of rising U.S.-Japan economic tension, Rowan became the first gaijin (non-Japanese) to advance to sumo's top rank, yokozuna.

The above is from the back cover of and press release for this 301 page biography (including appendices) of the first foreign – or so recognized – yokozuna, Akebono.

The author is an English professor at the University of Hawaii in Hilo who first became interested in sumo in 1992. In researching this book, Professor Panek interviewed family and friends of the yokozuna, fellow sumotori, coaches, and of course, Akebono, himself.
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