Kaminariyuki

Joining a Koenkai?

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I did a brief search on this topic, and only turned up a question posed by WAKATAKE back in 2016, a thread that nobody responded to. Maybe it's a subject that's not discussed openly...

Knowing now a tiny bit about Japanese culture, I'm guessing that one has to be invited by a current member or beya member to join? Can gaikokujin become koenkai members? Is it terribly expensive? Of course, really I just want to be invited to a senshuraku party, LOL. Maybe I just need a friend who is in the koenkai of one of my favorite e rikishi. 

Edited by Kaminariyuki

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Joining Koenkai is easy and you don't have to be introduced by the current member or anything. The Heya's website usually has the link to Koenkai and usually Tanimachi leader (local business owner, usually) is organizing the Koenkai, not the Oyakata himself or Heya itself. It's like a fan club. The  regular member fee is about $100 per year and you get some newsletters and the calendar maybe and info of the events, but not that much. The benefit is, sometimes they have Rengo-geiko (cross-Heya practice) to which only the Koenkai members are invited. You can pay more to have a little more free gifts such as the Yukata fabric with Rikishi's name on it but not that much. You don't have to be a Koenkai member to watch regular practice (Keiko) unless it is really crowded.

You don't have to join the Koenkai to go to the Senshuraku party either. You just get the info of the party, show up and pay the party fee on the spot. The regular Koenkai annual fee does't include the party fees. You can get events info a little bit easier if you are Koenkai member but if you are checking out SNS and other media, it's not that hard. You can always call Heya too.

Being Tanimachi is a different story than becoming just a  Koenkai member. If you are rich and willing to offer a building or donate thousands of dollars every year, you just do it and get recognized by Oyakata, and you can go to the party for free maybe, but you are on the side of organizing parties or events. 

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5 hours ago, Ahokaina said:

Joining Koenkai is easy and you don't have to be introduced by the current member or anything. The Heya's website usually has the link to Koenkai and usually Tanimachi leader (local business owner, usually) is organizing the Koenkai, not the Oyakata himself or Heya itself. It's like a fan club. The  regular member fee is about $100 per year and you get some newsletters and the calendar maybe and info of the events, but not that much. The benefit is, sometimes they have Rengo-geiko (cross-Heya practice) to which only the Koenkai members are invited. You can pay more to have a little more free gifts such as the Yukata fabric with Rikishi's name on it but not that much. You don't have to be a Koenkai member to watch regular practice (Keiko) unless it is really crowded.

You don't have to join the Koenkai to go to the Senshuraku party either. You just get the info of the party, show up and pay the party fee on the spot. The regular Koenkai annual fee does't include the party fees. You can get events info a little bit easier if you are Koenkai member but if you are checking out SNS and other media, it's not that hard. You can always call Heya too.

Being Tanimachi is a different story than becoming just a  Koenkai member. If you are rich and willing to offer a building or donate thousands of dollars every year, you just do it and get recognized by Oyakata, and you can go to the party for free maybe, but you are on the side of organizing parties or events. 

Thanks Ahokaina for this very useful info! As I do a quick internet search, I suspect that the beyas may only have their main web sites in Japanese, as I am not seeing anything that looks like the actual beya home page in English. Although I am studying Japanese, I doubt I will ever be able to read enough kanji to get through a web page or newspaper article (so, I'm always impressed by those of you who can read both languages), but I do have Japanese friends and a tutor. Thanks so much for the info. 

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Google translate is your friend.  There's even an extension/plug-in version.  

Is it perfect? No.  Is it super useful for gaijin in japan? Yuuuup.

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7 hours ago, Ryoshishokunin said:

Google translate is your friend.  There's even an extension/plug-in version.  

Is it perfect? No.  Is it super useful for gaijin in japan? Yuuuup.

LOL, I can't even find the main beya web site in Japanese! But, I have a Japanese friend working on it a bit. She can certainly send me the address for the web site, but she said she didn't see the link for the koenkai  or senshuraku party herself on the first search.

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2 hours ago, I am the Yokozuna said:

Which is the Heya koenkai you want to join in 

Miyagino Beya. I recently had the opportunity to observe keiko there and got to meet a number of the rikishi and other staff. Unfortunately, I was so enamored with the experience that I neglected to exchange business cards with anyone. Since three of my favorite five rikishi are there, it's the logical choice, but maybe with Enho and Hakuho being so popular, perhaps it will be more difficult than some of the others.

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Probably @John Gunning could give you some details on the Tokyo-based heya koenkai or how to approach them, since the simple search Miyagino-beya (宮城野部屋)and support club (後援会)does not yield some definitive results on Google and Yahoo JP. What I could find is: http://www.yokozuna-hakuho.com/ is a Niigata-based Hakuho support club. http://nagoya-miyagino-fanclub.jp/ is a Nagoya-based Miyagino fan club, but they have not update their website since June, 2019. Miyaginobeya does not seem to have an official website. 

 

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I think nagoya miyagino fanclub updates mostly through facebook these days.

My experience is similar to Ahokaina's description where the cost to entry is quite low, but I wonder if 'high level' heya like Miyagino has maybe more restrictive requirements.

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