Recently I started giving private English lessons to a 74 year old business man in Roppongi, Tokyo, Japan. Through lots of conversational practice, I began to learn much about Japanese history and culture and these times became very special to me. After working together for one month, we decided to have dinner together. He took me to a bar owned by his friends. The charming husband and wife team have owned their bar for 29 years and prepared for us a several course meal.
That night I learned that the owners are passionate sumo fans. I noticed a beautiful framed poster featuring intricate brush calligraphy and a detailed layout. After asking about it, I was told that it is a chart ranking different sumo wrestlers and information about each. The owner then happily gave me a printed copy of the poster to take home.
The beauty and detail of this poster has so inspired me that I decided to prepare a photo series highlighting some of its intricacies. Please enjoy the following images.
More information: "A banzuke (番付), officially called banzuke-hyō (番付表) is a document listing the rankings of professional sumo wrestlers published before each official tournament or honbasho. The term can also refer to the rankings themselves. The document is normally released about two weeks before the tournament begins. On the banzuke wrestlers are divided into East, which is printed on the right, and West, which is printed on the left. Each wrestler's full shikona (ring name), hometown and rank is also listed. The top of the page starts with the highest ranked makuuchi wrestlers printed in the largest characters, down to the wrestlers in the lowest divisions which are written in much smaller characters. The names of gyōji (sumo referees), yobidashi (ushers/handymen), shimpan (judges), oyakata (elders of the Japan Sumo Association), and occasionally tokoyama (hairdressers) are also listed." - Wikipedia