This book is impressive and very high quality. Although it is cataloged as a "paperback", it is the most impressive paperback I have ever seen. It is a large "coffee table" book. Everything about the book is quality, its feel, the cover, the thick coated paper, the ink, the photos, and the text.
There are brief descriptions at the beginning and end of SUMO that are well written and a good summary for the beginner about what Sumo is about. After reading these summaries, those interested in Sumo will want yet more information and details. The accompanying color pictures are excellent and whetted my appetite for the main photos on display in the body of the book.
The main body of SUMO contains many large, high quality close-up photos, some in color, most in black and white. These are artistic images of a hand grabbing salt, a wrinkled foot, a muscled shoulder blade, sweat dripping down a belly and faces grimacing. Picture after picture shows close up parts of Sumo wrestlers energetically pursuing their craft. I have no doubt that Makoto Kubota had unprecedented access to the wrestlers and their practice sessions. The book has lots of photos to prove it. Personally, I just don't care for the style and presentation of most of the pictures. Some may, but I don't and when I had completed my journey through the pages, I was disappointed.
In a couple of places, I was angry. For example near the beginning of the book, there is a 2 page spread color panoramic picture of a Sumo stadium, filled with spectators. The picture was taken from high up in the stadium darkness and looks down on the well lit Dohyo where the battles take place. It is a great picture and crystal clear. I'm sure Makoto worked hard to get the shot and he is very proud of it. The eyes of all the spectators are on the Dohyo. The center of attraction for the entire picture is the Dohyo and your eyes will be drawn to it too. The great tragedy is that in this book, the center of attraction falls between the pages, in the fold. How simple it would have been to offset this picture 4 inches to the right when printing the book. Someone wasn't thinking.
All and all, this is an impressive and interesting book and now part of my Sumo collection. This book is like an electric knife. It is not something I would buy for myself, but if I received it as a gift, I would keep it and show it off.