大盤石 — Japan’s heaviest power stone
Lying in the precincts of a small and peaceful shrine in Okegawa, Japan, is a gigantic power stone weighing a colossal 610kg (1,345lbs)! The stone is known as 大盤石 (daibanjaku) meaning ‘huge stone’.
This is one of the heaviest lifting stones that we know of. It’s also the heaviest lifting stone in Japan, measuring 1.25m long, 0.67m wide, and 0.4m thick.
For some, it might come as a huge surprise that Japan has lifting stones. But the reality is that Japan likely has the largest number of lifting stones in the world, with over 10,000 known power stones.
三ノ宮卯之助 (Sannomiya Unosuke), was a Japanese Strongman who traveled the country performing feats of strength. He was born weak but grew to become the strongest man of the Edo period, reaching the ōzeki rank in the Edo strength ranking — the highest possible. Sannomiya Unosuke was a prolific stonelifter. He lifted the enormous stone in 1852 at age 45 on the day of the Inari Jinja festival to an amazed audience.
Many will immediately argue that lifting the 610kg stone is an impossible feat. After all, the heaviest Atlas Stone ever lifted is 286kg (630lbs), and the heaviest deadlift is 501kg (1104.5lbs).
So how did he do it? Unlike the traditional style of stone lifting — where the lifter picks the stone from the floor — Sannomiya Unosuke lay on the ground and had the stone lifted to his feet. From there, he performed a dangerous feat of strength where he supported the stone’s weight with his powerful legs.
Sannomiya Unosuke was famous for dangerously lifting absurdly heavy stones with his feet. However, he also lifted dozens of heavy stones in a more traditional manner. He’s responsible for lifting at least 39 other significant stones — more than anyone else in Japan. Seven of the stones he lifted are designated tangible cultural properties, including the 610kg 大盤石, which was designated on December 13th 1975.
Sannomiya Unosuke sadly died a mysterious death a few years after his immense feat at just 48 years old.
This massive stone is located at the Okegawa Inari Shrine in Saitama, Japan, and is relatively well known in the area. A traditional Japanese sweet shop a short walk from the shrine even sells manjū replicas of the stone!
The stone’s location is on our map.
大盤石 (だいばんじゃく) daibanjaku: huge stone
三ノ宮卯之助 (さんのみや・うのすけ) Sannomiya Unosuke
2023-07-21: Sannomiya Unosuke was not a sumo wrestler