[Image: Shunei Katsukawa "Yokozuna Awards" (1789) Sumo Museum Collection]

Color Sumo Wood-Block Prints and Edo Culture

Edo-Tokyo Museum


Shuntei Katsukawa, Shunsyo Katsukawa, Kuniyasu Utagawa, Kunisada Utagawa, Kunisato Utagawa et al.
During the Edo period, watching sumo wrestling became a popular form of entertainment for common people, and with the growing success of professional wrestlers, sumo flourished around the end of the 18th century. This was around the same time as the golden age of multi-colored nishiki-e woodblock printing. Following the development of prints of popular actors and beauties, new woodblock prints depicting the unique body shapes and facial features of each sumo wrestler started to appear—a departure in style from previous simpler sumo woodblock prints. Sumo woodblock prints, which realistically conveyed images of the wrestlers and the lively atmosphere of sumo wrestling, played a key role in supporting enthusiasm for sumo as entertainment and were essential in driving the popularity of star wrestlers. Presented with the cooperation of the Sumo Museum and the National Theatre, this exhibition will introduce the diverse appeal of sumo in the city of Edo, centering on nishiki-e woodblock prints of sumo.




Closed on July 19, August 10, and August 23.

Venue Hours

Saturdays closing at 19:30
Closed on Monday
Open on public holiday Monday but closed on the following day. Opens during the Sumo matches in Ryogoku. Closed during the New Year holidays.
FeeAdults ¥600; University Students ¥480; High School and Junior High School Students, Seniors 65 & Over ¥300; Elementary School Students and Under, Persons with Disability Certificates + 2 Companions Free.
VenueEdo-Tokyo Museum
Location1-4-1 Yokoami, Sumida-ku, Tokyo 130-0015
Access3 minute walk from the West exit of Ryogoku Station on the JR Sobu line, 1 minute walk from exit A3 or A4 at Ryogoku Station on the Toei Oedo line.