They came to No.3: Takanofuji


Over the past three centuries, a host of famous (and sometimes infamous) characters have visited No.3 St James’s Street. In 1991, one larger-than-life personality stepped on the scales: a sumo wrestler called Takanofuji

Takanofuji was the shikona or ring name of Tadao Yasuda, a Japanese sumo wrestler, who is the heaviest person to ever be weighed on our scales. He was one of 40 sumo wrestlers who came to London in 1991 to take part in a tournament being held at the Royal Albert Hall – the first sumo competition ever to be held outside Japan.

Given the sumo wrestlers’ weight and size, the Royal Garden Hotel – where they were housed during their stay – had to weight-test their lavatories, reinforce the beds and chairs, and fit special showers as the existing showers had too small a spray to cover the athletes’ bodies.

Around the same time, we had just started selling Cutty Sark to Japan, so we invited Takanofuji into the shop to be weighed, with the aforementioned Scotch providing the counterweight. Towering at 6’3½’’ (height is an advantage, giving sumo wrestlers a higher centre of gravity), he reportedly weighed in at 21 stone 6lbs – or 108 bottles of Cutty Sark. This surprisingly modest weight seems trifling in comparison to one of the other wrestlers who fought at the Royal Albert Hall, and the main attraction, Hawaiian Konishiki – the heaviest sumo wrestler ever, nicknamed the “Dump Truck” – who weighed an extraordinary 37½ stone.

Takanofuji is one of the customers feature on our new tote bags, illustrated by John Broadley.