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Sumo wrestling is part religious ritual, part popular entertainment, and Japan's most unique contribution to the world of sport. Though sumo has long fascinated the West, its complex system of rituals and etiquette has made it difficult for outsiders to penetrate. Wrestlers undergo years of strenuous training--"and some pretty serious eating--"in order to compete in bouts that last minutes or sometimes seconds; the sweaty clash of huge bodies is but the final act in a prolonged contest of intimidation and concentration. In well over 100 rare and luminous photographs, "Sumo" offers an unrivaled close-up view of wrestlers in practice and in competition, complete with a brief history of the sport and an explanation of the various stages of a typical match. Photographers are seldom allowed such intimate access to the wrestlers, making this book a truly unprecedented document of the world of sumo. Japanophiles, sumo fans, and photography buffs alike will relish this rare glimpse of the inner circle where ritual, power, and bodies collide.
Makoto Kubota's photographs have been published in numerous books and magazines. He lives in Japan.