From its legendary prehistoric beginnings until the present day, sumô wrestling has dominated the world of traditional Japanese sport. Like Kabuki actors and noted courtesans, wrestlers were idols of the urban popular culture of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and so appeared frequently in woodblock prints. “Sumo, Japan’s Big Sport” features not only portraits of famous wrestlers and scenes of their greatest bouts, but also views of wrestlers as celebrities in everyday life, legends and Kabuki plays featuring wrestlers as heroes, and fantasies in which animals or supernatural beings enjoy wrestling just as humans do.

View the exhibition tour