MATERIAL: Hand-Written/Painted
TYPE: Manuscript
DIMENSIONS: 13 X 18 1/2 inches
CONDITION: Fair shape for the age.
NOTES: Previously unseen and very rare original.
REFERENCE EXTERNAL LINKS: Museum of Ikitsuki Island

ITEM ID: 3598
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Japanese Hand-Painted Manuscript of Sumo Wrestlers

Century: 19th (1801-1900)

Previously unseen and very rare original Japanese hand-painted manuscript HANSHITA-E (preliminary painting for a woodblock print) of Sumo wrestler IKEZUKI GEITAZAEMON wearing his KESHOMAWASHI emblazoned with his name “Ikezuki,” with a “life-sized” hand print, purportedly taken in his 18th year.  Ikezuki was seven feet tall and one of the largest Sumo wrestlers of the time.   A rare Sumo print preliminary Hanshita-e painting in fair shape for the age.In the courtyard of Tomioka Hachimangu Shrine in Tokyo’s Koto-ward stands the well-known Yokozuna Memorial monument erected by the 12th yokozuna Jinmaku Kyugoro (1829-1903).  Jinmaku etched all known yokozuna names from Akashi Shiganosuke to his time and currently it has the names up to the 45th yokozuna Wakanohana Kanji (there is also a new stone starting with the 46th yokozuna the third Asashio Taro). There are other monuments surrounding the yokozuna stone – an Ozeki monument, a Tegata monument and then there is a Giant Rikishi monument.  On the monument, legendary tall rikishi names are etched.  One is Shakadake Kumouemon (1749-1775) who stood 226 cm tall.  Another was Ikezuki Geitazaemon (1828-1850), who was reputed to be 230 cm tall (give or take several centimeters).

According to scholar Rômulo Ehalt, “According to Wikipedia, Ikitsuki was a wrestler for about six years, but most of the time he was just paraded to show his size and attract fans. Although he was registered for 12 tournaments, he actually wrestled only 5 times (won 3, lost 2) and rested 115 times.”

According to scholar Martin Nogueira Ramos, “Thank you for sharing this antique. I’m wondering if the reading of his name is not “Ikitsuki,” because this wrestler came from Ikitsuki (an island situated in the north of Nagasaki prefecture) where whaling was the most important economic activity (Kujira/gei 鯨 of Geitazaemon means whale).

By the way, at the Shima no Yakata (museum of Ikitsuki island), there is a corner about Geitazaemon, with many interesting artifacts. There are also a few Edo prints on display showing Geitazemon at the Matsura Historical Museum of Hirado (a bigger island between Ikitsuki and Kyushu).”