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'Impure' women helping stroke victim ordered out of sumo ring

06 April, 2018, 02:00 | Author: Lydia Fleming
  • 04_04_Sumo

In February, a sumo wrestler was arrested on suspicion of indecent assault, and last month, Egyptian sumo wrestler Osunaarashi was arrested for allegedly driving without a licence when he got into a vehicle accident in central Japan.

The Japanese Sumo Wrestling Association has apologised after women who were helping in a medical emergency were ordered from the ring because they are considered "ritually unclean" in the sport.

In the latest incident, Maizuru Mayor Ryozo Tatami, 66, was giving a speech in the ring when he collapsed due to subarachnoid haemorrhage - or bleeding in the area between the brain and the tissues that cover it.

But a referee repeatedly told them "Ladies, please get out of the ring", according to the translation provided by Japanese broadcaster NHK-the message was heard loud and clear across the gym's public speaker system.

One woman told the men attending him that she was a doctor, at which point they moved and she began performing CPR on the man.

The Japan Sumo Association subsequently issued an apology. The incident can be seen in this video; the voice on the recording is a match judge telling the women over and over again to leave the ring.


Eventually some male firefighters arrived with a defibrillator machine and took control of the situation.

"It was an inappropriate response in a life-threatening situation", Hakkaku said. "I am deeply sorry", the association's chief Nobuyoshi Hakkaku said in a statement.

"Of course it is important to protect tradition, but the way it excludes women perhaps is out of step with the times, and that's how I feel as a woman", said Yurika Mita, a newscaster on a Fuji Television Network talk show.

In 2000, then-Osaka Gov. Fusae Ota asked the sumo association to allow her to enter the ring so she could present the winner's cup to the champion at a local tournament, but the association rejected the request.

Sumo traces its origins back 2,000 years to a time when it was an integral part of Shintoism.

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