Sum˘ Wrestler Prints


Sum˘ is a Japanese style of wrestling and Japanĺs national sport.á It originated in ancient times as a performance to entertain the Shinto gods.á Many rituals with religious background are still followed today.á The basic rules of sum˘ are simple: The wrestler who first touches the floor with something else than the soles of his feet or leaves the ring, loses.á The bouts usually last only a few seconds and in rare cases up to one minute or longer.á I am grateful to Yasu Takano for identifying many of the wrestlers.


Wrestler: ďzora Buzaemon (大武左衛門) pulling up a bamboo tree

Date: 1827

Publisher: Yamaguchiya Tobei


NOTE: ďzora Buzaemon had an unusually short sum˘ career.á He appeared only in the 1827 spring season, losing all seven matches, and retired immediately.


Wrestler: Mutsugamine Iwanosuke (六ツヶ峰岩之助)

Date: 4th month of 1853

Publisher: Yamaguchi-ya T˘bei


Wrestler: Inagawa Masanosuke (猪名川 政之助)

Date: 1845-1846

Publisher: Maru-ya Seijir˘


Wrestler: Koyanagi Tsunekichi (小柳常吉)


Publisher: Maru-ya Seijir˘


Wrestler: Nioarashi Isogoro (?磯五郎) in professional attire

(Marugame genkai aratame Nioarashi Isogoro)

Date: 1845

Publisher: Nishimura Yohachi


Wrestler: Oniwaka Rikinosuke (鬼若 力之助)

Date: c. 1850-1852

Publisher: Maru-ya Seijir˘


NOTE: Oniwaka Rikinosuke was an extremely large child who participated in the ring entering ceremony (dohyo-iri) in the early 1850s.


Wrestler: Oniwaka Rikinosuke (鬼若 力之助)

Date: c. 1850-1852

Publisher: Musashi-ya Isabur˘



Wrestler: Oniwaka Rikinosuke (鬼若 力之助) in sum˘ attire

Date: c. 1850-1852

Publisher: Owari-ya Seishichi



Wrestler: Oniwaka Rikinosuke (鬼若 力之助) in street attire

Date: c. 1850-1852

Publisher: Enami

Wrestler: Oniwaka Rikinosuke (鬼若 力之助) at age eight with his giant hand print

Date: c. 1850-1852

Publisher: Matsu-ya

Wrestlers: Actors Nakamura Utaemon IV as the sum˘ wrestler Nuregami Ch˘gor˘ (right) and Ichikawa Hazaemon as the wrestler Hanaregoma Ch˘kichiin (left) in the kabuki play Futatsu Ch˘ch˘ kuruwa nikki

Date: 8th month of 1841

Publisher: Edo-ya Matsugor˘


Wrestler: áNioarashi Isogor˘ (?? 磯五郎) in street attire (Marugame Genkai aratame Nioarashi Isogoro)

Date: c. 1830

Publisher: Nishimura Yohachi



Actors: Actor Ichimura Uzaemon XII as sum˘ wrestler Akitsushima Kuniemon (秋津嶋, left) and actor Arashi Kichisabur˘ III as sum˘ wrestler Onigadake Horaemon (鬼ヶ嶽, right) in the kabuki play Sekitori Nidai no Shobuzuke

Date: 9th month of 1850

Theater: Ichimura

Publisher: Tanba-ya Hanjir˘

Actors: Actor Arashi Rikan III as wrestler Hanaregoma no Ch˘kichi (放駒長吉, left) and actor Ichikawa Danjűr˘ VIII as wrestler Nuregami Ch˘gor˘ (濡髪長五郎, right)

Play: Futatsu ch˘ch˘ kuruwa nikki (双蝶仝曲輪日記, Diary of Two Butterflies in the Pleasure Quarters)

Date: 2nd month of 1852

Theater: Kawarazaki

Publisher: under a single mountain is identified as Hori Takichi of Yushima in Kuniyoshi by B. W. Robinson (Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1961), but as ďta-ya Takichi in Publishers of Japanese Woodblock Prints: A Compendium by Andreas Marks (Hotei Publishing, Leiden, 2011)


Title: Ikezuki Geitazaemon (生月 鯨太左ェ門), the big wrestler

Date: c. 1844 (censor Watanabe Sh˘emon)

Publisher: Hon-ya Genpachi


Note: Ikezuki Geitazaemon was not a skilled sum˘ wrestler, but was a giant who was brought to Edo about 1844 as a special attraction to conduct a ring entering ceremony (dohyo-iri).á


Wrestler: Ikezuki Geitazaemon (生月 鯨太左ェ門) in street attire

Date: 1844

Publisher: Sa (phonetic pronunciation of )


Wrestler: ďzora Buzaemon (大武左衛門)

Date: 1827

Publisher: Yamaguchi-ya Tobei


NOTE: ďzora Buzaemon had an unusually short sum˘ career.á He appeared only in the 1827 spring season, losing all seven matches, and retired immediately.


Description: The yearly wrestling meeting (Sumo Nenki), showing Raigen-dayu (?太夫), probably a veteran wrestler or an umpire, in a dark robe, seated with his hands in his lap.á The title cartouche is framed with symbols of longevity.

Date: 2nd month of 1858

Publisher: Yamaguchi-ya Tobei (山口屋藤兵衛)


Wrestlers: Kot˘zan Bunemon (湖東山文右エ門, left) and Iwamigata J˘emon (岩見潟丈右エ門, right)

Judge: Musashigawa (武蔵川)

Date: 1842 winter season or the 1843 spring season

Publisher: Fujioka-ya Hikotar˘

Wrestlers: Shiranui-emon (不知火右衛門, left) and Kagiyama Taniemon (劔山谷右衛門, right)

Judge: Shikimori Inosuke (式守伊之助, left) and Miyagino (宮城野, right)


Publisher: Fujioka-ya Hikotar˘

Subject: The ring-entering ceremony from the 1850 spring season held on the Honjo Ek˘in Temple grounds

Wrestlers: The wrestlers on the right are on the higashi (east side).á From the right, in descending order in ranking: Tsurugizan (˘zeki), Koyanagi (sekiwake), Goy˘boku (komusubi), I˘zan, Arakuma, Tomozuna, Kumagatake, Kumosayama, Musashino, Masuizan (stepping into the ring), Kumoudake (already standing in the ring).á Exiting to the left are the wrestlers on the nishi (west side), also in a descending order in ranking from the right: Kagamiiwa (sekiwake, still in the ring), Arauma (komusubi, stepping out of the ring), Tsuneyama, Inagawa, Itsukushima, Kaigatake, Kuroiwa, Kimigatake, Ichiriki, Amatsukaze.á The ˘zeki of the west side, Hidenoyama, is the large figure already off the ring, appearing behind the exiting wrestlers.

Date: 1850

Publisher: Tsujioka-ya Bunsuke

A later edition of the same triptych with different wrestlersĺ names and generally harsher colors.á This triptych represents the 1865 winter season, also held at Honjo Ek˘in.á The names on the right are for the east side and those on the left for the west side.á On the east side, they are from the right in a descending order in ranking: Kimenzan (˘zeki), Jinmaku (sekiwake), Chitosegawa (komusubi), Kajigahama, Arauma, Shiramayumi, Terugatake, Yanasedake, Minatogawa, Tsurugataki.á On the west side are, from the right to left also in a descending order in ranking: Shiranui (˘zeki), Onogawa (sekiwake), Washigahama (komusubi), Shushakayama, Chiganoura, Azumazeki, Ayanami, Musashigawa, Ry˘goku, Koshinoumi.

Subject: Ceremonial entry of wrestlers at the great wrestling match to raise funds for pious causes

Wrestlers: The umpire seated in the centre is Kimura Shonosuke

Date: 1847-1853