Sunday, November 5, 2017

1912 Rikishi 0 Set (R121)

The Nihon Sumo Kyokai (NSK) has ran a fairly stable professional sumo organization for about the last 90 years.  Before 1926, however, there were actually two professional sumo associations in Osaka and Tokyo competing for wrestlers and a cut of the sumo pie.  Menko sets produced during this era would actually include wresters from both of these organizations which can make identification and cataloguing a challenge; especially when the menko are not marked with any sort of affiliation.  Fortunately, this 1912 set has both the Osaka (大坂) and Tokyo (東京) designations.  I have only seen these three examples from the R121: 1912 Rikishi 0 Set so the date could be plus or minus a few years.  These are gorgeous examples of a woodblock-printed set with vibrant colors.  Each menko is printed with 4 colors and has the name of the wrestler on the front of the mawashi.  The backs have the wrestler's rank, height, name, and association listed in black ink.  This particular set also has varying amounts of parallel red lines across the names on the back.....which I am not sure mean.  They measure about 2" x 2.75" and are on a somewhat thin paper stock.  Hopefully more of these pop up someday to get a more complete checklist, but for now here are the three:

Maegashira Isenohama (Future Ozeki) - Tokyo
Maegashira Omijuji - Tokyo
Maegashira Hidenoumi - Osaka



3 comments:

  1. These look amazing... especially for being over 100 years old.

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  2. This is one set that eventually belongs in a museum for sure.

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