[Illustration of Sumo Wrestling Matches (Sumō Torikumi no Zu)
Painted by Katsukawa Shunshō [1782-1783] Tokyo Shiryō Collection 587-C40

This work is assumed to depict sumo wrestling matches which took place at the precincts of Ekōin Temple in Ryōgoku. In this picture, realistic portraits of sumo wrestlers who represented the Kansei era (1789-1800) are drawn, including Tanigawa Kajinosuke and Onogawa Kisaburō.

Katsukawa Shunshō is one of the major ukiyo-e artists in the Edo period, who is famous as a founder of Katsukawa school under which Katsushika Hokusai studied. He accomplished the feat of diffusing the portraits of actors and also painted many sumō-e (sumō pictures).
Good performances of three sumō wrestlers, including Tanikaze, Onogawa and Raiden, who were depicted in this picture, gave rise to the golden age of the ōzumō (grand sumō tournament) in the period between the Tenmei era and the Kansei era (1781-1800). In particular, Tanikaze Kajinosuke, a sumō wrestler for the Sendai domain (Miyagi Prefecture), was the first to be given a yokozuna license by the House of Yoshida Tsukasake in November 1789 (Kansei 1) along with Onogawa. In addition to his strengths, he won his popularity. His fair-faced gentle appearance with slit eyes attracted many audience.