Japanese wrestlers, c 1885
© National Media Museum/Science & Society Picture Library
A photograph of a group of Japanese wrestlers, taken by an unknown photographer in July 1885. Not all sumo wrestlers are grossly fat, as these young Japanese men show. The man in the centre is proudly displaying his tattooed body. Traditionally, in Japan, only firemen or members of the criminal yakuza gangs wore tattoos. The photograph forms a part of the Ricketts Collection, a collection of prints, albums, ephemera and objects assembled by Howard and Jane Ricketts. The Collection concentrates mainly on 19th century British photography, but is also rich in documentary, topographic and ethnographic photography from around the world.