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(Click on the picture to download
the full french issue, with pictures,...)

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Florence Lesur
translated by Jelena Macan
proofread by John Gunning

Le Monde du Sumo’s first candle

In the beginning there was sumo: more than a sport, more than a set of age-old traditions, an institution in itself, coming straight from the distant Land of the Rising Sun. Then there came the modern era, with commercial channels broadcasting all kinds of sport 24 hours a day, and a World Wide Web providing many useful and fascinating data on each and every thinkable topic. Yet, still, in French there didn’t exist any specialized magazine about sumo. Something that five fine lads decided to change in December 2003. And then there was Le Monde du Sumo.

A Japanese passion

One thing that immediately becomes apparent, when you get to know our team, is that none of us was born or bred with sumo. Apart from Thierry who was working in Japan, we all had our first contact with sumo in front of our TV sets… by pure chance!
However, the young Westerners that we are found out rapidly there was much more to sumo than two monsters rushing towards each other for short and spectacular bouts. To us, the most fascinating aspects of sumo are neither the wrestlers’ weight, nor the violence of their fights; it’s the tradition woven in sumo, its history, its rites… In a way, rikishi are craftsmen, performers of a demanding and merciless art where technique, suppleness and speed pay homage to Eternal Japan. As one of the team once commented, sumo is “an age-old mythology with an ever ongoing history”.
This is the passion that brought to life the magazine you’re reading, and it is also what makes it so rich.

A perfectionist team

Le Monde de Sumo is not only about basho results every other month. It gives the results for all the divisions, from the Makuuchi ruled by Yokozuna Asashoryu, to Jonokuchi that witnesses the first steps of young wrestlers who have passed their maezumo tests during the previous tournament. It breaks news from the Nihon Sumo Kyokai, the Japanese sumo association, whose subtleties can be disconcerting for people who are used to the commercial practices of our Western sports. And let’s not forget what our team is rightly proud of: exceptional in-depth articles about the history of sumo or how it works. “Raiden Tame'emon, a living legend” (see: Le Monde du Sumo #2) or “how to read a banzuke” (see: Le Monde du Sumo #6) made many French-illiterate fans open up their bilingual dictionaries or brush up the little French they knew.

Le Monde du Sumo today

This year, new members joined the founding team of Nicolas, Gilles, Jean-Rémi, Stéphane and Thierry, thanks mostly to headhunting on forums. Le Monde du Sumo recently became truly international, since there now is a Finland-based member and a genuine Swiss. And for those who thought sumo was mostly a male passion, there even is a woman in our team.
Today, there are nine members participating more or less actively, and the goal set in the very first editorial remains: we release regular and trust-worthy information on sumo, on its history, traditions and news, to a French-speaking public. Now, after six regular issues and six special editions, with all the encouragement and congratulatory messages we received, and with the English translation of our major articles now available online, it seems obvious that a long and prosperous future awaits Le Monde du Sumo.
Perhaps will we find the opportunity to celebrate it some day, around a large pot of chanko nabe, for the first meeting in real life of all nine team-members?

Le Monde du Sumo : the team

If Le Monde du Sumo and Le Petit Banzuke Illustré are released every month, it is only because we work hard to provide a solid and interesting magazine. But it is also thanks to the involvement and dedication of our editorial writer. He might argue that there is no hierarchy in our team. Nevertheless it is he who, for each issue, supervises our work, makes sure the articles are handed in on time, puts together and arranges everything, so that the magazines can be published on “our” site, of which he also is the administrator. Introducing our team for the very first anniversary of Le Monde du Sumo was an ideal opportunity to pay him a well-deserved homage. Thanks for everything, Nicolas.

All cards follow the same pattern:
NAME First Name
AKA on forums and sumogames
age, job
current residence
favourite rikishi

how I came to join the Monde du Sumo team and something you should know about me
Bob le Canard, Nikoshoryu
25, engineer
St Quentin en Yvelines, France
Kaio, Roho, Takamisakari

In the summer of ’03, I thought of creating the MDS out of the frustration that there was no regular publication in French about sumo. I once commented on sumo in French for Eurosport.
ROUZé Vincent
21, journalism studies
Paris, France
Kaio, Asashoryu, Kisenosato, Takamisakari, Toki

I was approached about translating the mag into English, but I found it too much. Nicolas then kindly suggested joining the Kyokai News section. Merci Nicolas.
GIRARD Jean-Rémi
23, literature studies
Paris, France
Kyokushuzan, Wakatoba, Hakuho

They were looking for willing people, I willing, so I knocked and they opened. When the MDS isn’t released on time, it’s often my fault!
29, high school teacher
Antony, France
Asashoryu, Hakuho, Roho, Kotooshu, Toyozakura, Toki, Wakanosato…

I reacted promptly to Nicolas’s suggestion to set up a magazine, and created the Yahoo! Group we use for the magazine. I wish I could set up a class activity on sumo with my pupils.
LESUR Florence
29, translator
Veurey, France
Iwakiyama, Tochiazuma, Asashoryu

I like sumo and I had some spare time so I lent a hand. I am the mother of a 3-month-old "sumotorette" named Marie.
PERRAN Thierry
Joe le Cogneur, Chienoshima
30, engineer
Paris, France
Tochiazuma, Wakanosato, Asashoryu, Hakuho

I had wanted to share my passion for some time, so I followed Nicolas from the beginning. I once commented sumo in French on Eurosport, and I read Japanese, which enables me to catch first-hand information.
FOUGèRE Martin
32, research (social sciences)
Helsinki, Finland
Tochiazuma, Kaio, Hakuho, Hayateumi

A "head-hunter" (one of the founding members, actually) contacted me recently on a forum.
Nabudetoulouse, Nabukaze
35, commercial development
Toulouse, France
Kokkai, Iwakiyama, Kotooshu, Futeno

I am one of the four who enthusiastically followed Nicolas. A whole year went by before I was able to meet one MDS team member, Thierry.
HALDI Fabrice
36, bank clerk
Aigle, Suisse
Kaiooooooooooooo ! Kaiho, Hakuho, Kotomitsuki, Kyokushuzan, Takamisakari

I was so enthusiastic about the whole work of the team and gave so many compliments, that Bob asked me to join in! I’m the only one in the team who is not French.

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