Within the Japanese establishment, there exists a great sense of pride that so little about the sport has changed in the past Millennium. Wrestlers still live by a strict code, in and outside of the dojo, and to commit to the sport requires complete devotion from an early age. Today, the Sumo association is struggling to recruit wrestlers to the sport with baseball and football being far more popular with the youngsters. As Japan has surged forwards into modernity, this corner of culture has remained anchored to the past.
Staying up late, watching Sumo wrestling on British television, the mystique of the bouts began to fascinate me. It was only a matter of time until I headed off to Japan to discover more. Sumo is a sport shrouded in secrecy and gaining behind-the-scenes access is notoriously difficult. A full year was spent knocking on doors and filling out endless paperwork. To my surprise, I was eventually granted permission to chronicle the lives of wrestlers; a world where history, culture, pride, and athleticism combine.
I witnessed the strict codes to which wrestlers adhere - the stringent dietary and training regimes which require enormous dedication and the many unique practices which make Sumo fascinating - a living, breathing showcase of ancient Japan.
2015 - ∞
Sumo Wrestling Photography — Lord K2
In its current format, Sumo is one of the oldest sports in the world, stretching back over 2000 years. During the past millennium very little about the sport has changed. Sumo’s governing body views itself as more of a cultural institution than a...