Women, Aiding Collapsed Mayor, Told To Leave 'Sacred' Ring

04_04_Sumo

Women, Aiding Collapsed Mayor, Told To Leave 'Sacred' Ring

The Japan Sumo Association issued an apology for the incident today.

Kyodo news agency reported that Maizuru city mayor Ryozo Tatami collapsed while making a speech in a gym near Kyoto on Wednesday and after several women rushed to help the prone official a referee repeatedly asked them to leave the dohyo.

"Ladies, please get off the ring", a sumo referee said.

On Wednesday, women who rushed to save a man who collapsed were ordered to leave the ring because of the sport's tradition that women are "impure" and can not enter it, reports the Japan Times.

Sumo wrestling is one of Japan's most popular sports and it's deeply embedded in Shinto religious principles. We deeply apologise, ' Hakkaku said.

This is not the first time that sumo's ban on women has caused controversy.

Meanwhile, sumo officials threw large quantities of salt into the ring after the women had left, in an apparent bid to "re-purify" the sacred space, according to witnesses cited in local media.

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.

When two more women came to assist the first aid effort, all of the women were told to get out of the ring.

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.

Mayumi Moriyama, then the head of the labor ministry's bureau dealing with the welfare of children and women, lodged a protest alleging discrimination. The two women were attempting to perform a CPR, but multiple announcements were made over loudspeakers asking them to leave the ring, as told to AFP.

Not all have criticized the tradition as discrimination.

The men-only tradition is considered "a core part" of Japan's national sport, and the sumo world itself should make any decisions on the matter, Uchidate wrote.

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