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

06 April 2018

The incident happened in Kyoto after Maizuru City Mayor Ryozo Tatami collapsed while delivering a speech.

A jarring incident in a sumo ring has triggered a national conversation in Japan about how women are treated.

According to sumo tradition, women can not enter the ring, believed to be sacred, because their presence is considered "unclean"-due the belief menstrual blood is "impure"-and would pollute it".

In the video, which has gone viral in Japan, the announcer at the sumo stadium features an announcer telling the women repeatedly over the loudspeaker to leave the ring. Then a woman rushed into the ring and apparently told the men that she was a doctor.

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

Sumo Association Chairman Hakkaku issued an apology later in the day, calling the referee's response inappropriate.

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.

This is not the first time that the tradition banning women from entering the "sacred" area has been criticized as discrimination. While the woman was doing her job, a judge from Japan Sumo Association was saying over and over on the public-address system, "Please could the women leave the ring".

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More medics, including at least three women, entered the ring to assist in the life-saving efforts. Fusae Ohta, the female governor of Osaka from 2000 to 2008, was forced to present the governor's prize to the champion of the annual Osaka tournament on a walkway next to 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 auto accident in central Japan.

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

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