Female first aiders ordered out of sumo ring

Laverne Mann
April 6, 2018

The head of Japan's sumo association has been forced to apologise after several women who were trying to save a man's life after he collapsed in the ring, were ordered to leave.

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.

The scandal-stricken sport of sumo wrestling was once again heaped in shame after the incident yesterday when the mayor of a town in Kyoto prefecture suddenly collapsed while giving a speech in the sumo ring.

Stablemaster Kasugano, who's in charge of sumo tours, also said the reaction was inappropriate even if the referee was upset during the emergency.

In a statement, Hakkaku said the announcement was made by an official who panicked after seeing the women in the ring, but did not mention the age-old tradition.

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"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.

The association had sparked controversy twice by barring female officials from entering the ring during award ceremonies.

According to JSA officials and locals, the women were among a number of police officers and other staffers who entered the ring to provide cardiac massage and other treatment soon after the mayor collapsed during the spring sumo event. A similar incident involving then-Chief Cabinet Secretary Mayumi Moriyama occurred in 1990 and in 1978 when a 10-year-old girl was barred from entering the ring for the final stage of a children's sumo tournament, The Japan Times reported. She too found herself banned from the ring.

Several women rushed into the ring, but as they tried to help the mayor, multiple announcements were made over loudspeakers asking them to leave the ring. The request was rejected.

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.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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