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From the publisher:

Regarded as demigods in Japan, sumo wrestlers are also a source of fascination well beyond Japanese borders. But the world inhabited by these giants remains difficult for curious individuals to penetrate. Although it's possible to watch a match during tournament periods, very few people are authorized to enter the training rooms.

In his new book Sumographie, comic artist David Prudhomme takes us with him to follow in the footsteps of these extraordinary men and into the mysterious world of their everyday life. Set on glossy paper, it initiates readers into the subject through over 300 sketches done over many trips to Japan from 2012 to 2019. David Prudhomme initially intended for these sketches to be presented to the public in the form of several exhibitions, but ended up creating Sumographie, a collection of his drawings, accompanied by explanatory texts written by journalist Sonia Déchamps.

The pages reveal many images of these wrestlers, sometimes in color, sometimes in black and white, and in a variety of formats. Some pages unfold to reveal characters over 50 cm in size, while others take shape on very thin paper, which lends them an extremely fragile, delicate quality that contrasts to the depiction of these imposing, enormously heavy men.

The author also uses many drawing techniques. Ink and felt pen drawings appear alongside those done using charcoal or Chinese ink. This was a very carefully thought-out decision. ‘I decided to create a contrast by drawing these wrestlers with a fine, delicate and light touch. It seemed more interesting to me to provide a contradiction to the first idea that people might have of rikishi (the word used in Japan to refer to sumo wrestlers -- ed.)', explains David Prudhomme. ‘When you see them from very close up and watch them work and train, you see the extent to which they reconcile opposing ideas. They bring together power, speed and excess weight, and are constantly fighting against gravity. I tried to convey that by replicating it through visual art.'

But when looking at these giants fixed on paper, there are also some with surprising outlines, like the ‘bruiser' who is pale pink in color and whose body shape is almost reminiscent of the softness and fluffiness of a marshmallow. ‘I looked at lots of prints of sumo wrestlers, but I didn't think there was any interest to be found in simply copying those styles', explains the author. ‘But the drawings in the prints were very far from being a true representation of the anatomy, which gave me licence to take a very free approach to my drawings.'


Cet ouvrage spectaculaire, signé David Prudhomme et Sonia Déchamps, éblouira littéralement esprits et pupilles !

Peu d'expositions font l'effet d'un voyage... Parmi celles-ci figure l'exposition « SUMOS »de David Prudhomme. Le souhait éditorial a été de procurer, à travers cet ouvrage, cette même sensation en respectant au mieux la scénographie. Ce beau livre s'architecture en cinq parties distinctes : L'ENTRAÎNEMENT ; LES PORTRAITS (ces originaux ayant été réalisés sur papier fin, le cahier qui leur est consacré est proposé sur un papier plus fin que le reste de l'ouvrage) ; LES PRÉPARATIFS ; LES COMBATS (l'installation imaginée par David pour restituer l'idée d'un vrai combat est transposée ici sous la forme d'un leporello recto-verso qui se déplie vers le haut) ; et LES ONIRISMES (ces extrapolations graphiques et paysages permettent de faire le lien avec le monde extérieur). En 2012, à Fukuoka, David Prudhomme vit son premier contact avec le sumo. Le choc ! Il remplit un carnet pendant l'entraînement, un autre pendant le tournoi, presque surpris du plaisir qu'il prend à dessiner cet univers... Un univers spectaculaire dont il a su explorer, avec brio, les limites de l'imaginaire, soutenu avec justesse par les textes de Sonia Déchamps, journaliste indépendante oeuvrant pour plusieurs médias radio et télédiffusés.


David Prudhomme

Condition & Attributes

Very Fine in Very Fine dustjacket



Publishing Information


Physical Description

11.2 inches
11.2 inches
206 pages
color and black & white illustrations
pictorial boards