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Now in the 29th Year of Publication!

Sumo World

ln This Issue

Editorial Staff: Clyde Newton Editor and Publisher Andy Adams Associate Editor Ryo Hatano Senior Editor Shinobu Suzuki Staff Columnist Lora Sharnoff Staff Columnist David Meisenzahl Staff Columnist Mark Newton Staff Columnist Mark Schreiber Guest Columnist C. Newton Photographer C. Newton, S. Suzuki Translators AIl subscription checks should be made out to: Sumo World/C1yde Newton. AlI checks and correspondence should be mailed to: Clyde Newton, Editor & Publisher Sumo World 1-2-16 Inokashira, Mitaka-shi, On the Cover - Yokozuna Akebono shocks the Tokyo 181-0001, japan Tel/Fax: 0422-47-5715 sum'o world by abruptly announcing his retirement at e-Mail: a press conference in the front hall of the Kokugikan URL: <> onjanuary 22 (photo courtesy of Baseball Magazine Please send registered mail only to the following address: Sha) Clyde Newton cio Foreign Correspondents' Club ofjapan On the Back Cover - (Top) Yokozuna Takanohana Yuraku Denki Bldg. is presented with the Tenno-Shihai by Tokitsukaze 1-7-1 Yurakucho, Chiyoda-ku, Rijicho on the senshuraku of the Hatsu Basho. (BotTokyo 100,japan tom) Takanohana poses with supporters in shitakuAnnua1 Subscription Rates: beya. (both photos by Clyde Newton) japan: Regular Mail--~3,900; Express Mail: ~4,900

* ln This Issue, Editor's Box * Akebono Retires! By Clyde Newton * Akebono's Tegata * Akebono's Il Yusho By Andy Adams * Akebono's Career Record * Hatsu Basho Roundup * Akinoshima-Part III. By Shinobu Suzuki * Hatano-san's Column * Onogawa Oyakata Dies *Then & Now: Sumo Magazines (III) By C. Newton * New Techniques By C. Newton * juryo Results, Review of Taiho Book * Behind the Curtain/Makushita Rsults * Ham Basho Preview by M. Newton * Aki Basho Banzuke Makunouchi Division: Rankings and Profiles juryo Division: Rankings and Profiles Makushita Division: Top Ranks * Hatsu Bashojuryo Hoshitorihyo * Hatsu Basho Makunouchi Hoshitorihyo

Sumo World 2 3-4 5 5-7 8 9-11 12 13 15 16 17 17 18 19 20 21-26 28-30 30 31 32

SUMO WORLD is a bimonthly magazine published in English on sumo for the foreign community in japan, the US. military stationed injapan, foreign tourists visiting japan and sumo fans in Hawaii, mainland United States, the United Kingdom and other countries in Europe, Brazil and Latin America, Asia/Oceania and elsewhere in the world. Subscribers who do not pay by credit card (via are strongly recommended to send cash by registered mail (dollars or yen) or by international postal money orders. This saves time and money both for Sumo W orld and subscribers. Make out aH checks, including those for subscriptions, back issues, books, etc., to Sumo W orld/Clyde Newton, payable by a US. bank or the US. branch of a non-US. bank or in pounds sterling payable by a British bank in the UK. Please do not send checks addressed in any way other than Clyde Newton / Sumo World. Please do not send bank drafts or remittances payable by ajapanese bank. As for japan, an those living outside Tokyo should pay by postal cash envelope (genkin kakitome) or postal check.

(continued on p.19) * Our thanks to"Sumo" of Baseball Magazine-sha for use of photos

Azumazeki Oyakata (left) and Akebono (right) at the start o/the press conference held to announce Akebono s retirement onJanuary 22.

By Clyde Newton

Akebono Retires! Akebono's retirement was truly a boit out of the blue, perhaps the least expected retirement since Tochinishiki abruptly retired 41 years ago in May 1960. However, despite constant speculation in the j apanese press, Akebono 's abrupt retirement just a couple of months after winning his Il th yusho was almost unbelievable. Akebono has become the first yokozuna to retire without competing again after winning the yusho, since Tochigiyama in 1925. He was absent in the Hatsu Basho, and thus his final appearance on the dohyo was the senshuraku of the Kyushu Basho last year, when he defeated Musashimaru to take his eleventh yusho. Other yokozuna have pledged to retire with the yusho, and never to fall apart. However, the pressures and realities of life in sumo are that such an exit is almost impossible to accomplish. It is not just a matter of obtaining the approval of one's shisho (heya master), but also involves the koenkai (supporters' group) and the rijicho of the Sumo Kyokai are involved when a yokozuna wishes to retire (Akebono actually does not have a koenkai, which may have made the task of retiring less daunting. Obtaining approval from ail these parties is often difficult, unless the yokozuna's records are poor, and he thus has no alternative but to retire. ln Akebono case, he chose to retire sim ply because he went he could not get back into satisfactory

condition after his most recent bout with knee trouble. The final drama of Akebono's retirement nearly eclipsed Takanohana's comeback yusho on the senshuraku of the Hatsu Basho. Sports newspapers ' published the first rumors of the yokozuna impeding retirement in the morning editions ofjanuary 21the 15th day of the Hatsu Basho. Sorne reporters managed to corner Akebono and Azumazeki Oyakata as they entered the uchiage (senshuraku) party of Azumazeki Oyakata held at a Tokyo hotel. The yokozuna, looking rather glum, sim ply stated that he would continue to try his best, when asked to comment on the retirement rumors. As he recalled during his retire ment press conference, Akebono had made his final decision to retire a few days earlier. The pain in his knees, which had kept him out of the Hatsu Basho, had become so intense, that simply walking took considerable effort. After much reflection, he felt that he no longer had the determination or concentration to go through another protracted period of absence and somehow get back into condition in the future. ln Akebono's case, convincing Azumazeki Oyakata that he (Akebono) should retire, was probably the most difficult task. With Akebono retired, Azumazeki Beya's highest ranked rikishi is now Takamisakari, who has fallen to Makushita. Akebono is remaining in sumo as Akebono


Oyakata. Without his own toshiyori myoseki, he is automatically allowed a five year grace period as an ichidai toshiyori. Unlike former sekiwake, komusubi, or maegashira who retire as jun-toshiyori, Akebono will actually have a vote like other fullfledged oyakata. How will history judge Akebono's retirement? Akebono himself noted that he hoped to be able to retire without falling apart, and that he preferred that sumo fans remember him as he was wh en he last appeared on the dohyo-a strong yokozuna. Given his age, 31, and long history of injuries, Akebono probably made the best decision. The remarkable comeback that he achieved in 2000-a year without absence, two yusho, and four consecutive 13-2 or 141 records, has enhance his place in history as one of the better yokozuna. There is an expression to the effect that yokozuna should retire "like cherry blossom blowing away in the wind." Akebono certainly picked an opportune moment, probably the best chance he had to go out on top, under his own steam. Yokozuna who make a clean but dramatic exit tend to be remembered. Ake bono' s 13 years as a rikishi were c ertainl y dramatic. He held yokozuna for eight years, and never went below 9-6 in any basho he completed at the top rank. Akebono's record is ail the more impressive if we take into consideration the fact that the competed alongside a great yokozunaTakanohana, who has won 21 yusho. Akebono was plagued by injuries throughout his eight years at yokozuna. There were a few occasions when his retirement appeared to be imminent, especially in May 1999, when he lost his first two bouts after coming back from a protracted absence. The first foreign-born yokozuna, Akebono was also one of the most unlikely success stories in the recent history of sumo. He was literally recruited as an afterthought. Azumazeki Oyakata was initially more interested in Akebono's brother, who appeared to have a better balanced physique. Azumazeki feh that Akebono might go as far asJuryo at best, but he ended up becoming a strong yokozuna.


Akebono was also the tallest and heaviest yokozuna in history. Rikishi of Akebono's height have tended to have poor balance, and are often awkward. The tallest yokozuna in the past, such as Ozutsu, Minanogawa, and Chiyonoyama, were not very successful when ranked at the top. The secret to Akebono's success lay in his ability to project his power and weight effectively. ln terms of raw power, Akebono was certainly one of the strongest yokozuna in history. There is much speculation in the J apanese press about Akebono's future. The consensus is that he will remain with the Sumo Kyokai through his intaizumo, scheduled for September 29, after which he will leave sumo, and seek his fortunate elsewhere, along the !ines of former ozeki Konishiki and former yokozuna Wakanohana. Perhaps lacking the type of charisma that has made Konishiki a successful entertainer, the J apanese media has speculated wildly, claiming that Akebono will become a TV sportscaster in the U.S. or even return to Hawaii and enter politics there; aiming to eventually become Governor of Hawaii. Akebono has denied these rumors and insists that he hopes to stay with sumo. To remain an oyakata, he will need to purchase his own myoseki at sorne point over the next five years. If he is really determined to do so, it would probably be possible for him to do so. Akebono is highly regarded for taking good care of the younger rikishi in his heya, un!ike sorne other recent yokozuna. ln all!ikelihood, Akebono himself has not made firm plans for the future at this stage. While in Hawaii for a brief vacation in February, he drove a motorcycle for the first time in over a decade. He lost his balance and his Harvey Davison hit a guard rail. Akebono suffered numerous cuts and bruises, and required numerous stitches. He was formally admonished by Tokitsukaze Rijicho after he was discharged from hospital in Hawaii and returned to Tokyo. However, he will taking up his first Sumo Kyokai duties as an aisle guard during the coming Haru Basho.

Akebono's Il Yusho by Andy Adams When yokozuna Akebono clinched his Il th and final yusho (tourney championship) on the 14th day of the Kyushu Basho last November, it placed him in a two-way tie with ex-yokozuna Tachiyama for seventh place on the list (dating back to the modernization of sumo in 1908) for most tourney championships. The list of most yusho is headed by Taiho with 32, Chiyonofuji with 31, Kitanoumi with 24, Takanohana with 21, Wajima with 14, Futabayama with 12--and Akebono and Tachiyama with Il each. (This list, of course, doesn't include records from the early Meiji and Edo periods, when the length of a basho was shorter, usually only a week. If they are included, Tanikaze (1750-95) had 21 yusho, ozeki Raiden had 27 yusho and ozeki Kashiwado Risuke had 15 yusho. Akebono's final sumo title came just eight-and-ahalfyears after he racked up his first one in the Natsu Basho of May '92. That's about one and a third yusho per year. Actually, Akebono won four titles in 1993, two each in 1992 and 2000, and one each in '94, '95 and '97--a total of Il. Ist Yusho-May '92 Akebono's first yusho earned him promotion to ozeki less than two years after he had reached Makunouchi and only four years after his hatsudohyo (sumo entry) in March 1988. He also became the third foreign rikishi as weIl as the youngest at 23 (Konishiki was 25 when he won his first yusho and Takamiyama was 28) to capture a tourney championship in the top division after Konishiki ('89, '91and '92) and Takamiyama in '73. His stablemaster, Azumazeki Oyakata (ex-sekiwake Takamiyama) said it was like "a dream come true" for Akebono to take the yusho.

Message from the President- Then Us. Ambassador Michael Armacost presents sekiwake Akebono with a message of congratulations on his first yusho from President GeorgeBush (senior) on the dohyo on senshuraku of the May 7992 tournament.

Akebono's first yusho in the '92 Natsu Basho came at a time when ozeki Konishiki, also from Hawaii, was struggling to reach sumo's top rank of yokozuna. A victory that May would have ensured the promotion of Konishiki, who had won two of the three previous tournaments, but he could only man-

age a 9-6 record and never had another chance for promotion. It was ironie, therefore, that another American turned out to be the one who took the yusho in that crucial basho. It wasn't much consolation for Konishiki, who won the previous Haru Basho, that it marked the first and only time that foreign rikishi have won consecutive tournaments in Makunouchi. 2nd Yusho-November '92 Just three basho later and after making ozeki, the 6-8 giant from Hawaii won his second yusho in November '92 at Fukuoka, scoring a strong 14-1 record. Akebono's only loss came on the sixth day when No. 1 maegashira Daishoho pulled him down onto ail fours by hatakikomi. Komusubi Kotonishiki finished one step behind at 13-2 and wasn't eliminated in the contest for the cup until he lost to sekiwake Takahanada (later, yokozuna Takanohana) on the last day. Koto's only other loss was to Akebono himself. 3rd Yusho-January '93 Akebono made it two in a row when he captured the New Year's Tournament of 1993 with a 13-2 record, marking his third yusho overall. This tied the record of three titles set by ozeki Konishiki for the most championships won by a foreign rikishi. His third yusho was also a very significant milepost since it earned him promotion to sumo's ultimate rank of yokozuna. Akebono led from start of finish except for the Ilth day, with his two losses coming at the hands of No. 3 maegashira Wakahanada on the eighth day and to No. 6 maegashira Tochinowaka on the Ilth day. The 23-year-old yokozuna thus become the first foreign rikishi to reach the top rank of sumo. At the same time, Akebono set a new alltime record by attaining yokozuna only 30 basho after his sumo entry in March '88. Akebono's promotion to yokozuna was coupled with Takahanada's promotion to ozeki, setting the stage for a rivalry that ended in the Kyushu Basho last N ovember with the two rivais tied at 21 vic tories apiece. 4th Yusho-July '93 Akebono won the '93 Nagoya Basho with a 13-2 mark for his fourth title--one more than Konishiki, thus establishing a new record for most championships by a foreign rikishi. His victory was aIl the more sweet because he earned it after a three-way playoff with the popular young Hanada brothers. Coming at the end of his third year in Makunouchi, his yusho that July launched a string of three consecutive championships and marked the highlight of Akebnono's career. Moreover, it was his first yusho at yokozuna, won in his third basho after being promoted to the top rank at the end ofJanuary. After splitting with the Hanada brothers over the last three days, he faced the prospect of having to beat both of them in a playoff when aIl three fini shed in a first-place tie on senshuraku (final day) with identical 13-2 records. And that's exactly what happened, as Akebono first defeated sekiwake


Wakanohana and then ozeki Takanohana in that order in the playoff. Besides his loss to Takanohana on senshuraku, Akebono's other loss in the basho came at the hands of the Taka's Futagoyama Beya stablemate, Akinoshima.

5th Yusho-September


Akebono won two consecutive yusho for the second time when he crushed his opposition in the '93 Aki Basho with a powerful 14-1 record for his fifth championship. Although Akebono lost to ozeki Takanohana for the third straight time, he finished two steps ahead of his nearest rivaIs in the race for the Emperor's Cup. But for the second time, zensho yusho eluded Akebono, as he made it all the way down to senshuraku only to lose to Takanohana in the tournament's final bout. Even at that, the Hanada brothers were unable to seriously challenge Akebono for the yusho, especially after both lost on the same daY-othe first time ever--on the 14th day. Except for his narrow defeat by Takanohana on senshuraku--one win away from from his first perfect performance, Akebono was never seriously threatened in his drive for his second consecutive yusho that September.

6th Yusho-November


The Kyushu Basho of 1993 marked the peak of Akebono's career, as he racked up his third consecutive yusho and sixth title overall by defeating fellowAmerican (later, yokozuna) Musashimam in a playoff after they had finished in a 13-2 tie on senshuraku. It was Akebono's second playoff victory in three basho and was the first time anyone had won more than two yusho in a row since Chiyonofuji captured four straight titles in 1988. Akebono's two losses came at the hands of sekiwake Musashimaru on the eighth day and ozeki Wakanohana on the 14th day. The giant yokozuna won Rikishi of the Year honors in '93 with 76 wins and 1410sses, not to mention four yusho, for his bestever annual winning percentage of .844, although he equalled it last year

7th Yusho-March


Continuing his newfound dominance two basho later, Akebono won a three-way playoff with ozeki Takanonami and No. 12 maegashira Takatoriki in the '94 Ham Basho after all three finished with 12-3 marks. It was his sixth championship within a brief span of only nine tournanments--an incredible performance--and his seventh title overall. It was also sumo's first 12-3 yusho in nearly five years--since July '89 when Chiyonofuji beat his Kokonoe Beya stablemate and fellow-yokozuna, Hokutoumi. All in all, it was probably Akebono's weakest yusho. His three tourney losses were to Kotonishiki on the fifth day, No. 1 maegashira Kaio on the eighth day and to No. 6 Oginishiki on the 12th day. It was a closely contested but a sub-par basho, with six rikishi sharing the lead at the halfway point with 6-1 marks. And again on the 11th day, the six were tied for first place at 9-2. But this share of the lead was whittled down to three contenders by senshuraku, as ozeki Takanohana, sekiwake Kotonishiki and No. 10 maegashira Akinoshima all suffered two or more los ses in the final four days. Although the three remaining leaders each lost once 6

more, they finished in a dead heat by the final day with identical 12-3 records. ln the three-way playoff, Akebono once again got a break wh en Takanonami was matched against his Futagoyama Beya stablemate Takatoriki in the first playoff bout. It was the first time that the two Takas had ever met in a hon-basho, but the ozeki made short work of Riki by sending him sprawling via a hatakikomi pulldown technique. Akebono then quickly disposed of Takanonami, thrusting him out by tsukidashi in the first few seconds. ln the showdown between the big yokozuna and his little rival, Takatoriki (final victory goes to the first rikishi to win two successive playoff bouts), Akebono quickly spilled the o. 12 maegashira by pushing him down near the edge by oshitaoshi.

8th Yusho-March


After chalking up so many yusho (seven) over so short a space of time, Akebono had to wait an entire year before collecting his eighth yusho in the Ham Basho of March 1995 with a strong 14-1 record. Up to that time, it marked Akebono's longest dry spell-one year--between yusho. ln a bout with his longtime nemesis, No. 1 maegashira Takatoriki in the Natsu Basho of '94 in the tournament following his seventh yusho, Akebono suffered a serious knee injury while leading the tournament with a perfect 10-0 record and was forced to withdraw the next day. He underwent successful arthroscopic surgery on both knees at a Los Angeles hospital inJune, but he wasn't able to return to action until the Kyushu Basho the following November. Thus, he missed both the Nagoya Basho inJuly and the Aki Basho in September of '94. His victory in March '95 boosted his championship total to eight and evened his record with that of Takanohana, who had finally surpassed Akebono in the previous basho--the New Year's Tournament of 1995, when Taka registered his eighth title. But Akebono's tie with Takanohana for most yusho was short-lived, as his younger rival burst ahead with three consecutive championships from the following Natsu Basho. Once again, Akebono came within a hair's breadth of making zensho yusho (perfect-record tourney tiUe), losing his only bout to ozeki Wakanohana on the 14th day. Ironically, his pre vious attempt to obtain a perfect record was fmstrated by Waka's younger brother, Takanohana, on the last day of the '93 Aki Basho. Fellow-yokozuna Takanohana had a chance to tie Akebono on the final day, but Akebono won out after a long, hard-fought stmggle with his yokozuna rival to clinch his eighth yusho.

9th Yusho-May '97 More than two years, 13 basho, were to pass before Akebono won his ninth yusho--the N atsu Basho of May '97--with a 13-2 record. The 28-yearold grand champion pulled off the incredible feat of beating fellow-yokozuna Takanohana twice within the space of 10 minutes, first in their sensh uraku showdown and again in a playoff after they had finished in a first-place tie with identical 13-2 marks. It was the first time in two years that the two yokozuna had dominated a basho in a two-man race,

with Akebono barely overcoming Taka in their final bout, but beating him with surprising ease in the playoff finale. It was one of the most dramatic peaks of Akebono's volatile career, especially since most sumo experts gave him almost no chance of beating Takanohana in that basho, who was at his peak at 24 and more than three years younger than Akebono. The predictions were that if it went to a playoff, it would turn out like the final bout of the four-man playoff in the previous, Haru Basho, wh en a tired Akebono almost collapsed from fatigue shortly after the tachi-ai. ln other words, it was unthinkable that Akebono would have enough stamina to overcome Takanohana, who was in his prime at that time, in two consecutive bouts one after another. 10th Yusho-July 2000 After having won his first seven titles in a brief, two-yearI12-basho span, Akebono was slowed down again by a series of recurring knee and lower-back injuries so that it took him a total of 32 basho, or more than six years, to capture his next three yusho-from May '94 to July 2000. He was forced to sit out nearly six basho, or almost a full year, during that time. It had taken him a little longer than three years since he had collected his ninth yusho in May '97, but Akebono finally surged back in the agoya Basho of 2000 to rack up his 10th Emperor's Cup with an astonishing 13-2 record. It was an important milestone for the aging, 31-year-old yokozuna since he had reached double figures in his yusho total at long last and proved that there was still plenty of power in his massive 204-cm. (6-foot 8-inch, 230 kg. (506pound) frame. ActuaIly, Akebono had come very close to being asked to retire the year before when he lost his first two bouts in his comeback performance in May '99 after being sidelined for three consecutive basho. But the Sumo Kyokai apparently was willing to wait at least another day to see if could turn things around and he finally did manage to break into the win column on the third day with a crucial win over No. 1 maegashira Kotonowaka. Since he kept on winning after that, it was apparent that Akebono was finally managing to get back his dohyo legs after such a long absence. So just one year after Akebono had come within an ace of winning the '99 Nagoya Basho only to lose to sekiwake Dejima in a playoff, Akebono finally came through a year later with a resounding triumph inJuly 2000 by clinching his 10th yusho on the 13th day with a 13-0 record. Although he lost his two final bouts--to ozeki Chiyotaikai on the 14th day and to feIlow-yokozuna Musashimaru on senshuraku in a disappointing climax, he had been unbeatable through the first 13 days. ln short, Akebono was back! OveraIl, the Nagoya Basho was not aIl that exciting, however, with Akebono moving ahead with a one-win lead on the fifth day, increasing that to two wins by the 10th day and to three wins at the end of the 12th day before finally clin ching the yusho on the 13th day. Akebono made it unscathed through the first 13 days, mostly by blowing away his opponents in one-sided fashion, he did encounter sorne resis-

tance in a few of his bouts, including those with No. 1 maegashira Tochinohana on the sixth day, ozeki Dejima on the ninth day, No. 4 Oginishiki on the 12th day and ozeki Miyabiyama on the 13th day.

Il th Yusho-N

ovember 2000

Akebono solidified his remarkable comeback at age 31 by dominating the 2000 Kyushu Basho with an impressive 14-1 performance. For the first time in quite a while, aIl the sanyaku rikishi, including the three yokozuna, competed. Akebono underscored his new dominance by losing only to komusubi Wakanosato on the third day--by hatakikomi. Akebono's final, top-division record was 566 wins, 198 losses and 166 absences for a winning percentage of .741. But those 166 absences mean that he missed no less than Il basho. One wonders just how many more yusho he could have won if he had been able to compete in those Il missed tournaments. Akebono now takes his place among the 10 greatest rikishi of the post-war period along with Taiho, Chiyonofuji, Kitanoumi, Takanohana, Tochinishiki, Wakanohana l, Haguroyama, Kitanofuji and Tamanoumi.

Comeback Yusho- Yokozuna Akebono poses with his wifè, two children, and mother-in-law in shitaku-beya at Nagoya inJuly 2000 after winning his 70th yusho-his first chamlJionshiP in over three years.


Akebono's Career Record 1988/3 1988/5 1988/7 1988/9 1988111 198911 1989/3 1989/5 1989/7 1989/9 1989111 199011 1990/3 1990/5 1990/7 1990/9 1990/11 199111 1991/3 1991/5 1991/7 1991/9 1991111 199211 1992/3 1992/5 1992/7 1992/9 1992/11 199311 1993/3 1993/5 1993/7 1993/9 1993111 199411 1994/3 1994/5 1994/7 1994/9 1994/11 199511 1995/3 1995/5 1995/7 1995/9 1995111 199611 1996/3 1996/5 1996/7 1996/9


Maezumo Higashi Jonokuchi 19 Higashi Jonidan 97 Higashi Jonidan 52 Nishi Jonidan 15 Higashi Sandanme 60 Higashi Sandanme 33 Nishi Makushita 55 Higashi Makushita 28 Nishi Makushita 14 Higashi Makushita 5 Higashi Makushita 2 Nishi Juryo 12 Nishi Juryo 10 Higashi Juryo 3 Higashi Maegashira 14 Nishi Maegashira 7 Nishi Maegashira 1 Higashi Komusubi Nishi Sekiwake

6-1 5-2 5-2 6-1 5-2 6-1

6-1 5-2 5-2 5-2 4-3 8-7 11-4 11-4 9-6 9-6

8-7 8-7

Nishi Maegashira Nishi Komusubi


7-8 8-7

Nishi Maegashira Nishi Komusubi


7-8 8-7

Higashi Sekiwake Nishi Sekiwake Higashi Ozeki Higashi Haridashi Ozeki Nishi Ozeki Higashi Ozeki Higashi Yokozuna Higashi Yokozuna Higashi Yokozuna Higashi Yokozuna Higashi Y okozuna Higashi Yokozuna Higashi Yokozuna Higashi Yokozuna Higashi Yokozuna Higashi Y okozuna Higashi Yokozuna Nishi Yokozuna Nishi Yokozuna Higashi Y okozuna Nishi Yokozuna Nishi Yokozuna Nishi Yokozuna Nishhi Yokozuna Nishi Yokozuna Nishi Yokozuna Nishi Yokozuna Nishi Yokozuna

13-2 8-7 13-2* Absent 9-6 14-1* 13-2* 10-5 13-2 13-2* 14-1* 13-2* 11-4 12-3* 10-2-3 Absent Absent 10-5 12-3 14-1* 13-2 11-4 12-3 7-3-5 0-3-12 Absent 10-5 12-3 10-5

1996111 199711 1997/3 1997/5 1997/7 1997/9 1997111 199811 1998/3 1998/5 1998/7 1998/9 1998111 199911 1999/3 1999/5 1999/7 1999/9 1999/11 200011 2000/3 2000/5 2000/7 2000/9 2000111 200111

Nishi Yokozuna Higashi Yokozuna ishi Yokozuna ishi Yokozuna ishi Yokozuna Nishi Yokozuna Nishi Yokozuna Nishi Yokozuna Higashi Yokozuna Higashi Yokozuna Higashi Yokozuna Nishi Yokozuna Higashi Yokozuna Higashi Yokozuna Higashi Yokozuna Higashi Yokozuna Higashi Yokozuna Higashi Yokozuna Higashi Yokozuna Nishi Yokozuna Nishi Yokozuna Higashi Yokozuna Higashi Yokozuna Higashi Yokozuna Nishi Yokozuna Higashi


11-4 12-3 12-3 13-2* 12-3 9-6 Absent 10-5 13-2 10-5 11-4 10-5 Absent Absent Absent 11-4 13-2 2-2-11 Absent 11-4 12-3 13-2 13-2 13-2 14-1 * Absent

Hatsu Basho RoundupjHi-lights Summary of the Hatsu Basho The two competing yokozuna totally dominated the Hatsu Basho right from the start, with both Musashimaru and Takanohana breezing tbrough the first week. There was not a single kinboshi (upset of a yokozuna by a maegashira) during the tournament, quite an achievement in recent years. Tournaments in which the yokozuna are strong are the norm. However, despite the strong performance by Musashimaru and Takanohana in January, and a race between the two yokozuna that went down to the wire with a playoff on senshuraku, the Hatsu Basho still lacked excitement and tension. The most significant factor between the lack of excitement was the po or performance of four of the ozeki. Chiyotaikai dropped on the fourth day due to an injury, and while Kaio's performance was somewhat disappointing, it was stillworthy of an ozeki. The three Musashigawa Beya ozeki were abysmal, however. One cannot help but assume that their promotions to ozeki were premature. Another factor that took life out of the basho was the large number of sekitori who were absent. No less than 10 Makunouchi and Juryo rikishi from absent on the senshuraku. As long as Takanohana and Musashimaru continue to perform at a level worthy of yokozuna, there is likely to be httle pressure on the Sumo Kyokai to create additional yokozuna. Of course, Kaio has the ability to become yokozuna, but his tachi-ai is notoriously unstable-some days like that of a yokozuna-and on others very sluggish. The million dollar question at this time is,with Akebono gone, for how long Takanohana and Musashimaru last, how long will they continue to dominate the yusho race? Takanohana turns 29 in August. Considering that Chiyonofuji did not even start reaching his peak until he was past 30, Takanohana is still young. However, the wear and tear that he has taken over the years is likely to come into play before long. Furthermore, even great yokozuna tend to start fading after their chief rival retires. ln the case ofTakanohana, Akebono was obviously his main rival over the course of the last decade. Of course, Taka still has sorne significant milestones to achieve. But as more rikishi of his generation start to disappear, he will inevitably face more younger newcomers, and someday he will be eclipsed by his successor. During the Hatsu Basho, Takanohana had the same rash of pimples on his face as he did in early 1998, when he was forced to withdraw with liver trouble. However, Taka seems to have genuinely recovered from the illnesses and injuries that have distracted him in recent years. He was even able to boost his weight up to the highest it has ever been, 161 kilograms, during the Hatsu Basho. At this stage ofhis career, there is probably little for Takanohana to gain by trying to diet back down below 150 kilograms. On the other hand, he should not go beyond his present weight level. As for Musashimaru, so long as he can avoid injuries, he is certain to be at least a close second to Takanohana in the yusho race, and the likely winner when his rival falters. He turns 30 in May, but is in considerably better condition than Akebono was in the last couple of years of

Disappointing Startfor Kotomitsuki - Ozeki Chiyotaikai drives out new sekiwake Kotomitsuki on the opening day of the Hatsu Basho.

his career. The Hatsu Basho gave few clues as to who will actually take over from the two yokozuna in the future. Granted that Wakanosato is 100king stronger with each passing basho, and is becoming an ozeki candidate. While strong and a hard worker, Wakanosato does not really have the air of a future yokozuna. Perhaps a gTeat ozeki. Kotomitsuki is a total mystery. He was a prodigy last November; winning 13 bouts in his first performance in Makunouchi. InJanuary, facmg many of the same opponents, he simply fell apart and reverted to all his bad habits-bad habits dating back to when he was inJuryo. A few inevitable losses to the ozeki and yokozuna in the first few days seemingly sapped his self-confidence totally. However, Kotomitsuki cannot be written off yet. Miyabiyama was just as disappointing as Kotomitsuki. If he worked harder, he would have greater potential than Kaio and Wakanosato combined. However, since his promotion to ozeki, he has put up only the absolute minimum effort needed to hang on to his ozeki rank. There is much speculation as to what it will take to restore sumo's popularity inJapan. The present yokozuna and ozeki do not seem to have the charisma, or the ability to capture the imagination of the public. There again, sorne great yokozuna, like Chiyonofuji and Takanosato, showed little promise even after they had been in Makunouchi for sorne time. There could be a sleeper in our midst, but at this stage it is very difficult to even imagine who it may be. (CN) 9

Mongolian Dynamo - No. 72 maegashira Asashoryu defeats NO.5 maegashira Tosanoumi by hatakikomi on the 72th day.

No Match for Takanohana - Yokozuna Takanohana hurls down sekiwake Kotomitsuki on the 4th day.

Musashimaru Upset- Sekiwake Wakanosato handed yokozuna Musashimaru hisfirst loss of the tournament on the 73th day, by the newly-recognized technique of sokubiotoshi.

Rare Upset for Kotonowaka - NO.2 maegashira Kotonowaka throws down ozeki Miyabiyama on the 3rd day, by uwatenage.

Eight Consecutive Wins - Takanohana achieved his eighth win on the eighth day by overpowering sekiwake Wakanosato. 10

Almost an Upset - Ozeki Musoyama achieved kachi-koshi on the 74th day by overpowering sekiwake Wakanosato in a rather lackluster bout. Wakanosato ended with a fine 70-5 record.

No Zensho Yusho for TakanohanaYokozuna Musashimaru pushed fellow yokozuna Takanohana down by okuritaoshi in their scheduled bout on senshuraku, thus ending Taka s dreams of becoming thefirst rikishi to achieve a 75-0 record since 7996. Musashimaru Keeps His Hopes Alive- Musashimaru overpowers ozeki Kaio on the 74th day, to keep his hopesfor theyusho alive and set the stage for a crucial clash with Takanohana.

Make-koshifor Dejima - Yokozuna Takanohana hands ozeki Dejima his fatal eighth loss on the 74th day.

Playoffbetween Yokozuna- ln the 74-7 playoffto determine the yusho winner, Takanohana looked more determined than ever, and easily marched out Musashimaru, to win his first yusho since September 7998. It was Takanohana s 27 st yusho.

Hatsu Basho Awards ", '" '.' '" Kachi-Koshi at Last- Ozeki Miyabiyama did not achieve kachikoshi until senshuraku, when he overcame sekiwake Kotomitsuki by makiotoshi. While Miyabiyama narrowly squeeked by with 8-7, Kotomitsuki collapsed with a poor 4-77 record.


Yusho: Jun- Yusho: Shukun-sho: Kanto-sho: Gino-sho:

y okozuna y okozuna

Takanohana: Musashimaru: Sekiwake Wakanosato: NO.3 Mae. Wakanoyama: Komusubi Tochinonada:

14-1 14-1 10-5

9-6 9-6


Interview with Akinoshinta: Part III By Shinobu Suzuki (This interview was held on the aftemoon ofSeptember 27 in the shitaku-beya at Ryogoku Kokugikan, while Akinoshima was waiting for his appearance on the dohyo in a charity sumo exhibition.)

s: Itis said thatyou have three sekitori who are hard foryou to deal with, namely yokozuna Musashimaru, ozeki Kaio, and ex-sekiwake Kotonishiki, as your records with them stand at 11-28, 5-22, and 9-39, respectively, in favor of them. Of course, your record with Kotonishiki remains as it is because of his retirement. A: l myself think they are not so hard to deal with. Kaio has never occupied a special place in my mind, but l have to admit l was not able to defeat Kotonishiki so easily. S: What are the reasons for your mediocre performance with Koto-zeki? A: We are similar in physique and l was inferior to him in speed and action. Besides, he got the knack of toppling me by feinting. S: You attributed your so-so win-Ioss record with Kaio to the following three factors: his long torso, his potbelly, and his protruding read (laughter). A: These things combined do not permit me to reach the mawashi (laughter). He was slow to rise on the banzuke for someone of his potential. He should have been an ozeki much earlier than he actually was. Maybe nobody would have pointed out my weakness with Kaio ifhe had become an ozeki earlier, since it sounds reasonable that a rikishi at a higher level on the banzuke has to be stronger than a rikishi far below him (laughter). S: On the 14th day of the September 1999 tournament, you were in the lead for the championship at 11-3 and lost to komusubi Musoyama of Musashigawa Beya on the last day, allowing Musashimaru to win his 6th yusho, and his first as a yokozuna. The four losses you absorbed in that tournament were handed to you from four sekitori of Musashigawa Beya, NO.5 maegashira Miyabiyama, yokozuna Musashimaru, newly promoted ozeki Dejima, and Musoyama. However, you were awardecl both the Fighting Spirit Prize and the Technique Prize. A: ln that tournament, l was in rather bad shape, so l fought each bout with care and found myself in the lead in the race for the Emperor's Cup, to my great surprise, toward the end of the tournament. Fortune did not seem to be on my side at the very last stage of the basho. S: Probably, she was reluctant to smile on you, as we can see from the series of injuries you have sustained. A: Apart from injuries, l have never performed as l intended in consecutive bouts. l have too many occasions where l regret losing close bouts, as you saw wh en l took on Hayateumi of Oitekaze Beya on the 12th clay of the recent September tournament. It was so close that the judges had a consultation on the dohyo to determine the winner. Winning the championship is almost impossible without Fortune smiling on you. When everything was proceeding favorably for me, l startecl having injuries. S: Of the Sansho, which one is most important for you? The Technique Prize? A: You are right. But l no longer want to take the Sansho,

rather l want to win the championship. S: How about kinboshi? You defeated newly promoted yokozuna Musashimaru on the third day of the July 1999 tournament, the first kinboshi for you in 6 years. A: It is a shame that l am still picking up kinboshi because this means l cannot stay in Sanyaku for a long period of time. S: Yes you cano You have been in Sanyaku for quite a long time. ln face you have spent four and a half years in Sanyaku. A: Being in Sanyaku for only four and a half years is too short for me.

S: A Little over one-third of the time you have been ranked in Makunouchi. A: l am not satisfied with this. The figure only shows that l lacked stability when l was promoted to Sanyaku, failing to hold the rank for many tournaments. ln most cases, the reason l was demoted from Sanyaku was injuries. If a lack of ability keeps me out of Sanyaku, l will not hesitate to retire. S: Over 85% of the basho you have spent as a Makunouchi rikishi were at NO.5 maegashira or higher. This figure shows that you have been an impressive rikishi, doesn't it? A: No, l don't think so. (To be Continued)


Thanks for Your Efforts, Akebono by Ryo Hatano Takanohana won the yusho inJanuary for the first time in 14 basho, thus achieving a fine comeback. Takanohana used to be so strong that it was said that his winning had to be taken for granted. However, illness and injuries kept on the sidelines for basho after basho. ln stark contrast to Takanohana's comeback, Akebono, who missed the Hatsu Basho due to pain in his knees, announced his retirement right away the tournament. ln the previous basho, in Kyushu Basho last November, Akebono had won his llth yusho, and by winning more bouts for the year than any other rikishi, it appeared that he had made a strong comeback. His knee injuries have been really severe to cause such trouble of the last several years. The Hatsu Basho really illustrated the greatly different situations facing Takanohana and Akebono. These two rikishi made their debuts together in March 1988.

l think that Akebono made a clean exit. l think that yokozuna need to make a total effort and when they no loner can, it is the time to retire. Akebono has made a good effort to learnJapanese, and he expressed his thoughts in J apanese very clearly at the time of his retirement. l have said this in the pages of Sumo W orld on a past occasion, but l think Musashimaru needs to study J apanese a little more. After aIl,sumo is not just a sport, but is a lifestyle. Akebono 's personal philosophy has always been that he is not just an Arnerican or aJ apanese, but rather a rikishi. He has learned this philosophy from his mentor Azumazeki Oyakata, former sekiwake Takamiyama. Takamiyama came to Japan when there were no other foreigners in the sport, and through a tremendous effort, mastered sumo society and became a highly successful rikishi. Akebono reachedJuryo only two years after his debut. He worked his way throughJuryo in only three basho, and only three years after his debut, he had made the leap to

sekiwake. He won his first yusho in May 1992, and became the second foreign-born rikishi, after Konishiki, to reach ozeki. Akebono was ranked at ozeki for only four basho before attaining promotion to yokozuna. This was less than ever the great Taiho required. Akebono subsequently became the 64th yokozuna, and the first foreign yokozuna. Becoming yokozuna is difficult enough, but Akebono also became a durable yokozuna, holding the rank for 46 tournaments. We should also not forget that Akebono was the only yokozuna from the time he was promoted to Takanohana's promotion nearly two years later. l can still remember how Akebono always seemed to be cheerful and smiling when he attended to Azumazeki Beya in the days he (Akebono was ranked in makushita). Akebono's 13 year career is over, but he will always be remembered as having been the first foreign yokozuna, and as the tallest yokozuna. Thank you for your effort, Akebono. What Are the Ozeki Doing? 10-5, 2-2-11, 7-8, 8-7, 9-6. Such were the records achieved by the five ozeki in the Hatsu Basho. Ozeki is,of course, tthe second highest rank in sumo after yokozuna. l think the poor performance of the current ozeki is one of the reasons why the popularity of sumo at the moment. Ozeki can be demoted if they have make-koshi in two consecutive tournaments, but they are immediately promoted back if they win 10 or more bouts in their first tournament after demotion. l believe that the current problem with the poor performance of the ozeki stems from lax standards for promotion to the rank. l actually think that ozeki should be required to win 10 or more bouts.

Poor Performance by Ozeki- Former ozeki Takanonami easily forces Dejima off the dohyo on the /irst day of the Hatsu Basho.

The Five Top Rikishi in Kensho Earnings inJanuary 1) Takanohana 2) Musashimaru 3) Kaio 4)) Wakanosato 5) Tokitsuumi

61 39 22

17 17

3.35 million yen 2.14 million yen 1.21 million yen 935,000 935,000


Onogawa Oyakata Dies at 50 Onogawa Oyakata, ex-No.6 maegashira Hachiya, died from cancer of the upper jaw onJanuary 27. He was 50 years old. Born N ovember 16, 1950, as Hachiya Toshiyuki, he entered the Kasugano Beya of former Yokozuna Tochinishiki in September 1968. ln his prime he stood at 1.80 meters and weighed only 108 kilograms. He compensated for his lack of weight with both power and skill. He could lift out much larger opponents after a yotsu struggle, or finish them off with ashiwaza. Hachiya was promoted to Jmyo in May 1976, but did not reach Makunouchi until November 1981. He spent a total of four basho in Makunouchi, with a total win-Ioss record of 26-34. He was one of Yokozuna Kitanoumi's tsukebito for many years, and the two rikishi became close friends. After Hachiya retired at 36 in September 1987, Kitanoumi lent him his own myoseki of Onogawa (Kitanoumi acquired the myoseki prior to becoming an ichidai toshiyori) and invited the former maegashira to become a coach at the Kitanoumi Beya. The former Hachiya spent the rest of his life as Kitanoumi's right-hand man. His funeral was held at the Ekoin in Ryogoku.

proficient at ashitori and shitatehineri. He reached komusubi in September 1951, but was demoted after only one basho and was never to return to the rank. He dropped toJuryo in the final years ofhis career, and retired there at age 38 inJanuary 1961, afterfalling apartwith a 1-14record at the bottom of the division. The Tokitsukaze Beya rikishi became Shikoroyama Oyakata upon retiring, and remained with the Sumo Kyokai until he reached the mandatory retirement age of 65 in November 1987. He served as a shimpan for a number of years.

Wakabayama in his prime in 7957

Intai-Zumo Held for Ganyu

Hachiya (circa 7983)

The Intai-Zumo for Ganyu Oyakata, former NO.l Maegashira Ganyu of Kitanoumi Beya, was held onJanuary. 218 men eut Ganyu's final oichomage, including Takanohana and Musashimaru. Ganyu invited 1,000 evacuees from Miyakejima to attend. The island south of Tokyo was totally evacuated last fall due to volcanic activity. Ganyu will remain with Kitanoumi Beya as an ichidai toshiyori, but must acquire his own kabu by April 2002, to remain in sumo permanently.

Ex-Komusubi Wakabayama Dies at 78 Ex-Komusubi Wakabayama, who was an active rikishi from 1942 to 1961, died in Fukushima-shi onJanuary 17, from a cerebral thrombosis. He was 78. Wakabayama was born on N ovember 9, 1922, in Korea. His real surname was Park, but after being recruited for a sumo career, he took theJapanese name ofIwahira (later Aoyama) Sadao. He was recruited by Yokozuna Futabayama in 1941 in Manchuria. The future Wakabayama made his debut in January 1942. He was promoted toJuryo in November 1946 and to Makunouchi for the following tournament,June 1947. He used his surname of! wahira as his shikona until after he was promoted to the top division. Small at 1.73 meters and 94 kilograms, Wakabayama was an exceptionally skillful rikishi. He was especially 14

Tomebasami - Kitanoumi Oyakata (fOrmer Yokozuna Kitanoumi) makes the tomebasami, orfinal cut at Ganyu s IntaiZumo at the Kokugikan onJanuary 28. (eN photo)

Review of "Rintoshite"The Memoirs of Takanohana's Mother by Lora Sharnoff Hanada Noriko is well known as the okamisan of Futagoyama Beya and the mother of yokozuna Takanohana and former yokozuna Wakanohana (now TV personality-cum-sportscaster Hanada Masaru). Prior to marrying the then 20-year-old new komusubi (and later very popular ozeki) Takanohana in 1970, she was a beauty queen (MissOita) and also had a brief career as a film actress known as Fujita Noriko. With the force of her personality and definite sense of style, she has been widely credited as modernizing the image of the sumo wife. "Rintoshite" is divided into 13 chapters (or to be precise, perhaps out of superstition, 12 chapters and what is called inJapanese the "final chapter"), with both a foreword and an afterword. It is quite different from other books written by sumo wives, which usually tend to focus on recipes or daily sumo in the heya. While Mrs. Hanada certainly provides ample information on her life as the woman in charge of a sumo heya (including details such as that the monthly water bill for Futagoyama Beya usually cornes to about V400,000), the book seems to have been written, first and foremost, to reply to various unsavory rumors about her, her family, and the heya. One gets such a sense not only from readirig the actual contents but also from its very title, Rintoshite, which can be translated as "severe," "biting," or "intense." For example, the opening part of the first chapter is entitled "Musekinin na Uwasa" (Irresponsible Rumors), and in it Mrs. Hanada refutes rumors that her two sons, Wakanohana and Takanohana, were born to different fathers. Immediately thereafter, she describes her first meeting with her future husband in a sushi restaurant at a tirne in her life when she had absolutely no interest in sumo. Although initially she felt more curiosity than attraction, she describes how she gradually came to miss him and get filled with the urge to talk to him when he was on the roadwhich is quite frequently in the sumo world. She is frank enough to admit that she was already pregnant with Masaru when atage 23, she married the 20-year-old rikishi. According to Noriko, the most difficult part of her early life with Takanohana was fixing meals. Unlike most Japanese women of her generation, she was neither taught cooking by her mother nor expected to help out in the kitchen in any way. Moreoever, since her husband progessed quickly through the ranks of sumo, he himselfhad little experience preparing chanko. Although the book does not detail how she managed to learn to cook various dishes, it does inform the reader how she performed various household duties, including cleaning, even when feeling ill or when birth of one of her children was approaching. The book do es cover her younger son's brief engagement to rnodel-actress Miyazawa Rie. Mrs. Hanada reveals how the decision was made to let the "News Station" program on TV Asahi break the news first. She hints at sorne dissatisfaction with the attitude and behavior ofRie's mother and also notes how she put up her son's fiancee for a few days while she ran away from home. But those hoping

for details on why the engagement was called off after only two months will not find them in this book. On the other hand, Rintoshite gives fairly extensive coverage to her family's relationship with the Tokyo chiropractor who tried to indoctrinate her younger son with sorne strange ideas, but also with her husband, Futagoyama Oyakata, for not being manly enough to stand up to the doctor and try work out a reconciliation between their two children. This, by the way, is not the only overt criticism of her husband, for she details in a later chapter how the oyakata seems to have lost sorne enthusiasm for his sumo job, and is not very adept at socializing, etc. The book also takes up a number of rumors floated in various J apanese weeklies, such as bad relations between her two daughters-in-Iaw or her own supposed troubles with one or other of the women, and provides retorts to them all. Considerable space in the final three chapters is devoted to her encounter and association with the 34 year old doctor who was rumored in someJapanese weeklies to be her lover. At the time of writing, both Mrs. Hanada and the doctor have filed defamation suits against each other. Mrs. Hanada also has a suit against sorne Kodansha publications for running semi-nude photos from her actress days without her permission and one against "Friday," the aforementioned company's pictorial weekly, requesting its paparazzi to stay a certain distance from her. However, although Noriko's disenchantment with her husband cornes across quite clearly in Rintoshite, the couple remain married. Nonjapanese interested in this book should not find it especially difficult reading.

Wakallohalla Commelltates - Hanada Masaru, ftrmer yokozuna Wakanohana, who left sumo last December, serves as a TV commentator at Fuji TVs Nihon Ozumo Tournament on February II. He has dyed his cropped hair brown-probably the first ftrmer yokozuna in history to dye his hair any color other than black. (CN photo)

Taka VictoriollS- Yokozuna Takanohana receives the Nihon Ozumo Tournament cupfrom hisfather, Futagoyama Oyakata, on February 12. (CN photo) 15

Then & Now: 1






Sumo Magazines ('") By Clyde Newton AsJ apan recovered the davastation of W orld War II, the quality of printed publications steadily improved. By the early 1950s, prewar printing quality standards were largely restored, and by the end of the decade, magazines were of higher quality than ever before. During this period, sumo's popularity rose with the emergence of Tochinishiki and Wakanohana 1. ln addition to Sumo of Baseball Magazine, Yomiuri Shimbun Sha launched its own sumo magazine, Ozumo, in 1954. Ozumo is still published today. The Sunday Mainichi also launched a sumo magazine in the mid-1950s, as did Asahi Gaho (Pictorial). The prewar Yakukai also had a brief revival in 1958 and 1959.

•• _1 Left-TheJanuary 1958 issue of Sumo features Tamanoumi II and Wakanohana 1. Right- The March issue of Ozumo of the same year depicts new Yokozuna Wakanohana l's dohyo-iri).


Left-Sumo's February 1954 issue depicts ozeki Yoshibayama. Right-Sekiwake Annenyama (Tatsunami Oyakatafrom 1969 to 1999) on the coyer of the September 1957 edition of Sunday Mainichi's sumo magazine. Sunday Mainichi discontinued publishing sumo magazines in 1963.


Left- Yakyukai's February 1959 issue depicted Yokozuna Wakanohana 1. Right-Yokozuna Wakanohana 1, Tochinishiki, and Asashio (from left to right) on the coyer of the July 1959 issue of Ozumo.




Left-Ozumo's October 1957 issue depicts yokozuna Left-The December 1959 issue of Ozumo depicts ozeki Tochinishiki's dohyo-iri. Right-Yokozuna Tochnishiki is Wakahaguro. Right-Wakamisugi, winner of the May also featured on the November 1957 issue of Sumo. 1960 tournament, on the coyer ofSunday Mainiehi'sJuly 1960 edition.


New Techniques Revealed Photos by Baseball Magazine Sha The new techniques were demonstrated on December 4, 2000, by Mkasaki Oyakata (ex-Maegashira Oginohana) and Odake Oyakata (ex-juryo Dairyu) KOZUMATORI










Note: Tsukite, Tsukihiza, and Fumidashi are classified as non-technique ways of winning. 17

Taiho Oyakata 's Memoirs Published by Nikkei

The Nihon Keizan Shimbun, Japan's equivalent of the Wall Street Journal, has published the memoirs of former Yokozuna Taiho. "Kyojin, Entitled

Taiho, Tamagoyahi, Watashi no Rirehisho" (Taiho, the Giants, Fried Eggs, My Re, sume), the book is the

, first written by the great former m yokozuna since Base~ bail Magazine Sha Il brought out a lavish, coffee table autobiography of Taiho early in 1972. Taiho personally brushed in his calligraphy, among the best in the Sumo World, in each copy of the 1972 book, which is now a collector's item. Taiho's new memoirs are a far cry from the 1972 book which was a formaI, officiaI biography. ln fact, the new book is one of the frankest and surprising ever written by a former rikishi. Taiho covers everything, hiding nothing, even the controversies of his time, including novelist (presently Tokyo Governor) Ishihara Shintaro's claim that Taiho deliberately lost to Kashiwado in September 1963 (Taiho vigorously denies the old allegation), the pistol smuggling incident of 1965, the Nishonoseki Beya succession crisis of 1975, and other issues. Perhaps the most surprising chapters coyer Taiho's parents. He devotes mu ch space to his White Russian father, and notes that his mother never told him much about his father; instead she told Taiho's wife most of the stories. Taiho also notes that he had no idea that he was half- Russian until newspapers started printing rumors in 1960. Taiho notes that he has never believed that he was born with special ability in sumo; rather he got where he was sim ply through intensive training. The former yokozuna' s modesty is apparent in ail the chapters of the book. He recalls his surprise when he was introduced to Russian President Vladimir Putin at a state banquet in Tokyo last year. Taiho told Putin of his partially Russian ancestry, only to find that Putin was qui te familiar with sumo's great yokozuna Taiho. Sorne of the most moving chapters are about Taiho's rivalry and friendship with Kashiwado, and how they struggled with illnesses after retiring. RivaIs as active rikishi, the two former yokozuna were close friends after retiring. Taiho Oyakata's book is fascinating and weil worth reading, probably the best ever authored by a former yokozuna. (eN) "

Published by Nikon Keizai Shimbun 261 pages.


Sha, priee 1,500 yen,

Juryo Results By Mark


Juryo No. 1 Tamanonada (now Tamanoshima) won the Juryo yusho in January with a fine 12-3 record, and with it promotion back to the Makunouchi after only one tournament back in Juryo. Tama remarked that he was careful to avoid falling into his habit of getting depressed once he started losing consecutive bouts, and this helped him main tain his momentum. This promising rikishi should be able to win 8 or 9 in March in Makunouchi. Tamanonada's younger brother, NO.12Juryo Tamanokuni managed to avoid demotion to the Makushita with an 8-7 mark. The J anuary tournament started off as a two-way race between two brothers, NO.13 Juryo Kitazakura and No. 7 Toyozakura. Both had perfect records over the first five days, but Toyozakura went into a tailspin losing the last ten bouts in a row, ending up with a 5-10 record barely avoiding demotion to Makushita. Kitazakura, on the other hand, ended up with a respectable 10-5 mark, and will be promoted to the mid-Juryo ranks. Although nearly everyone had written off the possibility of Terao ever returning to the Makunouchi, he managed to win his last two bouts to get his vital eighth win ensuring his promotion back to the top division. Terao's father (ex-sekiwake Tsurugamine) also was in Makunouchi until he was 38 years old. It will be interesting to see whether Terao can stay in the top division. No.3Juryo Otsukasa turned in a respectable 105 record and will be promoted back to the Makunouchi. Otsukasa seemed headed for theJuryo yusho as he had a 9-1 record going into the Il th day but he only managed to win one more bout after that. No.3JuryoJumonji achieved kachikoshi on the final day and will also be promoted to the top division. Luck was on his side as he faced NO.13 Juryo Komidori, who was going into the bout with a 3-11 mark. Juryo No. 6 Aminishiki came back from a 5-6 mark to take the last four bouts and win promotion back to Makunouchi, thanks to the vacancy created by Akebono's retirement. Juryo 9 Tomonohana lost on the last three days to end up with a 7-8 mark. Tomonohana has now been in Juryo for five years since he was demoted from Makunouchi. Another veteran, N 0.1 J uryo Daizen, came back to win 4 of his last 5 bouts for a 6-9 mark, making it likely he will have a chance for promotion next tournament if he wins 9 or 10 bouts. 35-year old No.IIJuryo Kotokanyu defeated Komahikari on the 15'" day for his vital 7th win, staving off demotion to the Makushita. Brazilian N 0.6 Juryo Kuniazuma started off strongly winning 4 out of his first 5 bouts but ran out of steam and ended up with a 7-8. NO.9 Sentoryu (USA) sat out the basho but will hold the same rank in March. N 0.5 J uryo Shikishima dropped after the first day due to heart trouble. He has not been hospitalized, but will be ranked in Makushita in March.

Behind the Curtain By David Meisenzahl

The curtains have closed on Akebono's career on the dohyo. Although this is bad news for Akebono fans, it is in .roundabout way good news for one lucky nkrshl. With Yokozuna Akebono being removed from the top of the banzuke, room has been made for one more sumotori to step out from behind the curtain, to enter Juryo. Sekiyama is the fortunate rikishi, being promoted to Juryo after a 4-3 showing from NO.3 Makushita. Sekiyama set foot on the dohyo for the first time back in May 1992. He is a member of Naruto Beya, home to two sekitori ranked in sanyaku for the Hatsu Basho of 2001; Wakanosato and Takanowaka. Being from the same heya as the two sanyaku is not where the similarity ends. Like Wakanosato and Takanowaka, Sekiyama entered sumo at the same time and same age; at 15. What has slowed down his climb up the banzuke has been nagging foot injuries. Finally after the May 1996 tournament, he had a major operation on both big toes, where the nerves endings where cut and reattached. This caused him to miss five consecutive tournaments and drop from Sandanme 19 to so far down that he dropped off the banzuke completely! He had to then start at mae-zumo, again, and has now worked his way up to Juryo. At a press conference held at Naruto Beya, think Sekiyama is Naruto Oyakata said, "Personally more gifted than either Wakanosato or Takanowaka but can tell you am far happier today than when Wakanosato and Takanowaka got their Sanyaku pro-




look at his size, 188 cm and 164 kg. His first visit to Juryo in November was cut short by his 7-8, makekoshi performance. Let's see if he can take full advantage of his bulk this trip back to in front of the curtain. With Wakakosho stepping back down from Makunouchi to Juryo, there will be a total of four Juryo rikishi from Matsugane Beya. Wakatsutomu and Wakatoryu are also inJuryo. Senshuyama from Takasago Beya will return to sekitori status. Senshu managed just to get a kachikoshi (4-3 at NO.l Makushita) in the Hatsu Basho. ln March, Takasago Beya will not have a Makunouchi rikishi for the first time in 122 years. What Senshurama lacks in size, he possesses in spirit, though It wIll be tough for him to make his return to Juryo an extended one. His first stopover to Juryo only lasted one tournament, his next visit lasted two tournaments, September and November 2000. Masutsuyoshi from Mihogaseki Beya is making yet another return to the Juryo division, from his performance last basho (5-2 at No.4 Makushita). For a ex-college rikishi of his dimensions (178 cm 169 kg), it is puzzling why he remains in Makushita. Kusaganishiki from Kasugano Beya put together a respectable record (5-2 at NO.2 Makushita) to return to Juryo after almost two years since his last visit. This time when he competes in Juryo rank look for him to do much better than his 2-13 record way back mJuly 1999. Perhaps he can get sorne tips from his Makunounchi ranked fellow Kasugano Beya nhshi Tochinohana and Tochisakae. Who are the ill-fated sekitori returning behind the curtain? With his third consecutive basho of absence from the dohyo due to the injury he suffered back in September 2000, Takamisakari will fall back in~o Makushita. This is truly disappointing to see. JOImng him behind the curtain is Shikishima (0-2-13 at No.5Juryo), Tomikaze (3-12 at No.l1Juryo), and Komidori (3-12 at NO.13 Juryo).

(Sumo World - Continued from P.2)

Competing in Juryo - Sekiyama competed inJuryo on the 74th day, when hefaeed Tamanokuni. Note his heavily bandaged leg.

motion." With his entry into Juryo, Sekiyama will adopt a new shikona, Takanotsuru. Keep that in mind when you are looking for him on the banzuke in March. There are three other rikishi from Makushita who will return to Juryo in March, Harunoyama of Matsugane Beya will step back in front of the curtain at Osaka. He achieved a perfect 7-0 record inJanuary. That he won the yusho is not surprising when you

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Sumo World Website 19

Haru Basho Preview

Takanohana and Musashimaru Co-Favorites By Mark Newton With the unexpected retirement of Akebono and the dismal performance of the ozeki in the J anuary tournament, sumo seems set for a brief TakanohanaMusashimaru era. As sportscaster Hanada Masaru (ex-yokozuna Wakanohana) recently pointed out, Takanohana and Musashimaru are holding together the sumo world, now that there is little competition from the five ozeki. With the five ozeki unlikely to launch a drive for yokozuna promotion in the near future Musashi and Taka will probably be feeling the pressure to stay in the race for the Emperor's Cup until the last day of the tournament. Possible dark hors es are ozeki Kaio, who has now won in double figures for five straight basho and Wakanosato, who will be going aIl out to win at least 10 or Il matches to maintain the momentum in his drive for ozeki. Interest will also be focused on whether Dejima will be able to save his ozeki rank with 8 or more wins. Ozeki Chiyotaikai will be sidelined in March. With sumo's popularity dedining in J apan, and more ex-rikishi in the news these days than active rikishi, the Sumo Kyokai will be hoping to see the six competing yokozuna and ozeki provide sorne much-needed quality sumo. Although Takanohana tipped the scales at 161kg, his heaviest weight ever, in February, he appears to be in top shape and is slightly favored over Musashimaru to take his 22nd yusho in the March tournament. Although Taka is more agile wh en his weight is around 150kg, the extra weight no doubt helps wh en dealing with Maru and the five ozeki. Although he may have sorne problems handling more agile rikishi, he is unlikely to lose more than one bout in the first half of the tournament. Expect Taka to win around 13 to 14 bouts and walk off with the Osaka basho yusho for the first time since 1997. If Musashimaru can get off to a good start he should be able to remain in contention for the Emperor's Cup until the last day. He also appears to have his weight problem under control, now that he is said to be resolved not to let his weight go over 220kg. As Maru will turn 30 in May he is probably anxious to get 10 yusho under his belt before the end of the year. As usual his opponents will try to prevent Maru from getting his right hand on their mawashi. ln this sense Maru's bouts are interesting as the struggle to keep Maru's right hand out of action can be the deciding factor in determining the winner of his bouts. Look for Maru to win aoout 12 or 13 bouts, and take the yusho if Takanohana falters. No one disputes that Kaio is a strong ozeki and his record since his promotion to ozeki is commendable. Something seems to be lacking, however. Kaio's old habit of losing one or two bouts every tournament in lackluster fashion seems to have returned. He has not been a factor in the race for the yusho since May 2000, and lacks the drive to launch a bid for yokozuna promotion. If Kaio can get through the first week undefeated he could be a serious contender for the yusho, otherwise expect him to wind up with 9 or 10 wins. 20

Musoyama has yet to win in double figures as an ozeki. Although injuries have taken their toll Muso should be sufficiently recovered by now to return to the form that won him promotion to ozeki over a year ago. The key is whether he can put together a strong tachi-ai (initial charge) in each bout. 9 or 10 wins. barely disappointing managed kachikoshi ity Miyabiyama of wins) inJanuary, his fans(majoragain, and leaving one wondering what has happened to this promising rikishi over the past four tournaments. Miyabi seems to have undergone a confidence crisis - he is no longer the aggressive rikishi he once was. ln the past, however, ozeki have had lapses of confidence only to come back strongly and gain eventual promotion to yokozuna. Look for Miyabi to win in double figures in March. 10 or Il wins. A left-ankle injury seems to have played a part in ozeki Dejima's 7-8 performance inJanuary so he can be expected to save his ozeki rank if he has sufficiently recovered. Since Dejima relies on a strong tachi-ai and keeping his opponents on the defensive, if his tachi-ai is weaker than usual he may have to struggle to get eight wins. 8 or 9 wins. Sekiwake Wakanosato is moving doser to ozeki promotion with each passing tournament, and if he wins the yusho with 14 bouts he will probably be promoted to ozeki as this would bring his three tournament win-Ioss total to 33-12. Waka is one of the strongest yotsu-sumo rikishi in sumo now, and is even beginning to resemble Naruto Oyakata (exyokozuna Takanosato), his stablemaster. He should be able to win 10 or Il bouts in March, and if the yokozuna and ozeki collapse, he could walk off with the yusho. Sekiwake Tochinonada and komusubi Wakanoyama are unlikely to win more than five or six bouts but Tochinonada will probably upset several ozeki, possibly one of the yokozuna. Komusubi Tochiazuma looks ready to resume his bid for promotion to ozeki. Expect a strong performance from him and at least two or three wins over the yokozuna and ozeki. 10 wins again. If Tochi is serious about launching a new drive for ozeki he will be under pressure to avoid doing henka Qumping aside) at the tachi-ai, as this is not exactly what is expected of a young upcoming rikishi with ozeki potential. ln the maegashira ranks ex-ozeki Takanonami will probably end up with 6 wins or so again, and defeat one or two ozeki in the process. N ow that the pressure is off Kotomitsuki, sumo fans will have a chance to gauge his true worth. He should be able to bounce back from his po or 4-11 record in J anuary and win at least 8 or 9 bouts, and promotion back to the sanyaku. Asashoryu, the promising 21-year Mongolian rikishi should be able to achieve kachikoshi again in the mid-maegashira ranks. Probably the greatest applause during the tournament will be for 38-year old Terao returning to the Makunouchi for the first time since May last year. Fans will be hoping to see a Terao-Asashoryu match.






# 6978

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Sumo World March 2001  

Akebono Intai. Takanohana's Comeback. Akinoshima. Taiho Publishes Memoirs. New Kimarite. Hatsu Basho Review. Haru basho Review.