Daidozan in the Sumo Ring

By Toshusai Sharaku



Artist By Toshusai Sharaku
Period Edo period, 18th century
Materials and techniques Woodblock, oban-size, nishiki-e triptych
Size 36.6×24.8 each


Toshusai Sharaku is a mysterious artist who produced around a hundred forty pictures of Kabuki actors and Sumo wrestlers in the ten months from May of 1794 to January of the following year and then totally disappeared. A skillful artist, his pictures capture the distinctive facial features of both actors and Sumo wrestlers.
Daidozan was an extraordinarily large child born to a farmer, who at seven is said to be have been 120cm (about 4 feet) tall, weighing 80 kg (176 lbs). He made his debut as a sumo wrestler in November of 1794 at the age of seven at Ryogoku in Edo. He only appeared in the ring entering ceremony and did not wrestle, but he still became a favorite with the people of Edo. This triptych includes Tanikaze, a wrestler who died in January of 1795, so the print is believed to depict the November basho of 1794 when Daidozan made his debut. In the right picture from the back row left are Jinmaku, Tamagaki, Kumonryu, Seimizan and Wadagahara. In the center is Daidozan, and in the left picture from the back row left are Tanikaze, Raiden, Kachosan, Dategaseki and Miyagino.