Sumo wrestling, Japan, c 1925.

Sumo wrestling, Japan, c 1925.
2 7 c m
actual image size: 32cm x 19cm


A snapshot photograph of an open-air sumo wrestling match taken by an unknown photographer. The increasing influence of Europe on Japan in the early twentieth century can be seen in the mixture of Western and traditional clothing worn by the audience. Sumo wrestling is probably more than 1500 years old and is religious in origin, with prayers dedicated to the Shinto gods for a good harvest. Ritual still plays a large part in the sport. Originally a shooting term, the word 'snapshot' was first linked with photography in the late 1850s, when it was used to describe a photograph taken with a brief exposure. Over time, snapshot came to mean any amateur photograph taken with a simple camera.

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© Kodak Collection / National Science & Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library

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