UW Today

October 26, 2012

Lost and Found Films: Sumo wrestling, but when?

News and Information

This time we present the shortest Lost and Found Film footage ever – about 12 seconds of sumo wrestling action from UW Libraries Special Collections’ Nippon Kan Theatre Collection.

Lost and Found Films is an occasional UW Today series where readers help identify and explain historic bits of film from the 1930s through the 1970s unearthed from the UW Audio Visual Materials Library by film archivist Hannah Palin. The films range from shadowy black and white snippets like this week’s entry to thoughtfully produced color home-movie style productions.

This clip, which really begins about 22 seconds in, shows two sumo wrestlers facing off in front of a large crowd, presumably at the Nippon Kan Theater.

Palin said, “We don’t know who shot it or why, although it is most likely a sumo wrestling competition at the Nippon Kan Theatre in Seattle, and the film stock does not have a date code, so we’re unable to date the film.” It’s a little unusual in that it has sound, she said, and she wonders what the announcer is saying.

So now you know pretty much everything Palin knows about this black and white, 16 mm film fragment. Palin added, “Any information about the film, the tradition of sumo wrestling in Seattle, who the participants might be, the era and the text in the title would be most welcome.”

If you’d care to wrestle with the identity of this intriguing Nippon Kan film snippet, leave a comment below.