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Tomoki Momozono Captures a Distinguished Japanese Tradition Non-Traditionally

Tomoki Momozono is a photographer born in Japan and based in London, England, whose series of photographs on the culture and aura of sumo wrestling, one of Japan's national sports, is a detailed insight into a subculture that many outside of the country have trouble understanding.

Tomoki Momozono's photography captures the strength, tradition, and spirit that fuels the historical sport in Japan. He manages to take several shots that are more than just two heavyset men engaged in contact. One of my favorite images from the Tomoki Momozono sumo series features the nuanced close-up of a sumo star's hand, full of taped fingers and gnarled nails, resting uneasily on his thigh, waiting for the referee to send him to the center of the pit. The shot is like one of a major offensive lineman heading towards the field, or a warrior stepping out for battle.

The Tomoki Momozono sumo photographs show a photographer unafraid of utilizing decidedly "out-of-the-box" aesthetics while drawing outsiders deep into a subculture, managing to do it in a way that seems organic and eschews sensationalism. If Tomoki Momozono's sumo shots are any indication of his talent, we can only look forward to his next intensive photography series.