As is often depicted in nishiki-e (color woodblock prints), some Edo Period (1603-1868) leading sumo wrestlers, such as the yokozuna (grand champions), were employed by daimyo and allowed to wear swords. Japanese swords also signified a sumo wrestler's status and authority, with some of them, including tachi (long swords) used in ring-entrance ceremonies, being made by well-known swordsmiths.
The aesthetics and significance of swords in sumo is explored in this exhibition, which also covers techniques of swordsmiths. Sumo-related documents, woodblock prints and keshomawashi (decorative aprons) worn by yokozuna will also be on display. (Yukari Tanaka)