Color Sumo Wood-Block Prints and Edo Culture

Edo-Tokyo Museum

poster for Color Sumo Wood-Block Prints and Edo Culture
[Image: Shunei Katsukawa "Yokozuna Awards" (1789) Sumo Museum Collection]

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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.

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from July 17, 2021 to September 05, 2021
Closed on July 19, August 10, and August 23.

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