Regional Origins of ozumoutonihonto in Japan

main exhibited

Left part of a folding screen depicting sumo wrestlers participating
in the Edo Sumo Tournament

1801–1818; held in the collection of Sumo Museum; exhibited from July 8 to 31, 2017


This folding screen depicts a yokozuna grand champion named Tanikaze Kajinosuke and other leading sumo wrestlers active around 1788. This picture is said to be a realistic portrayal of sumo wrestlers of the day—we can see some sumo wrestlers wearing two swords and others wearing a short sword only, and can identify Kashiwado Kandayu, known as a one-eyed sumo wrestler.

Tachi sword used by Yokozuna Hakuho Sho in his ring-entering ceremony

(Front) Dream, Fortune, Heart: Protection for Yokozuna Hakuho Sho
(Back) Made by Gassan Sadatoshi living in Nara (Seal)
(Back ridge) June 2013

Lacquered tachi mounting with gold nashiji (lacquering technique using flakes) hollyhock crests

Held in a private collection; 75.6 cm long with a 1.6 cm in curvature;
exhibited from August 2 to 28, 2017

ガラス小玉鋳型 ガラス小玉鋳型

This tachi sword was made by Gassan Sadatoshi, a master swordsmith and holder of the title of intangible cultural property of Nara Prefecture, in response to the request of the group of supporters of Hakuho Sho in Tokushima Prefecture, the hometown of his wife. The sword is characterized by the elegant straight temper line forged on ayasugihada (wavy grain pattern), a surface pattern typical of the Gassan School, and the forging pattern and temper pattern along the blade edge contribute to its delicate beauty.

Picture depicting Osaka Sumo match

1892; held in the collection of Osaka Museum of History


This is one of the few nishiki-e depicting Osaka Sumo matches. We can see flags with place names such as Utsubo, Dojimahama, and Zakoba erected in the upper part of the spectators’ area. One of the flags has ichiba written on it, which means “market,” indicating that there were huge markets, such as a dried sardine market, rice market and fish market, in the places shown on these flags. In this sense, this nishiki-e suggests a close association between the markets and Osaka Sumo.

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