Sumo is the national sport of Japan, and one that has come under recent criticism for match fixing, bullying, and public violence.
In all respects, the media has helped fuel the ire of the average joe suzuki fan...
And now this.
On April 4, 2018, Ryozo Tatami, 67, the mayor of Maizuru, a city of about 84,000 people in Kyoto prefecture, was giving a speech when he had a brain hemorrhage and collapsed.
A few male sumo staff members gathered around the mayor before a female nurse hopped up onto the doyo (the fighting area) and began to perform CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation . Three other women also rushed to help.
A male referee yelled into a loudspeaker telling the women—repeatedly— “Women, come out of the ring”.
He then asked that "Only gentlemen go up."
This caused the women to back off, causing confusion and scuffling around the patient, as now no one was helping the stricken mayor.
A man did take over the CPR until male emergency workers from the local fire department arrived.
Mayor Tatami was taken to a hospital for surgery, where he remains in stable condition.
Here... take a look at the video shot of the whole thing:
Holy fug, right?
To his credit, Japan Sumo Association (JSA) chief Hakkaku Nobuyoshi (surname first) publicly stated that the insistence for the women to leave the area was inappropriate, and apologized for it.
"It was an inappropriate response in a life-threatening situation," Hakkaku says.
There are a few reasons as to why women are forbidden from entering the actual sumo ring, none of which can be stated as the real reason, and of course offer no explanation as to why such outdated reasons continue to exist in the 21st century, other than is the way things are done in Japan.
Apparently sumo's origins had it linked to harvest rituals, which was itself part of ancient shinto religious tenet.
Religion. Women always get the shaft.. er, so to speak.
But why was it that way in sumo?
Historians say that originally sumo matches were held as a means of entertaining the goddess of the harvest, Inari Ōkami (稲荷大神), the goddess of rice and fertility. Or is it a god? There is some confusion on that.
Even still, I may be incorrect regarding the name of this goddess/god. I made a best-guess after researching all of the Japanese deities.
So... anyhow, the farmers somehow got it into their male heads that if a woman entered the ring, they would make the goddess jealous, and would cause her to get angry and spoil the harvest.
Sure. Why not?
Of course, the reason I had heard years ago, and read in a few books, was the women were not allowed onto the sumo ring because they bleed... menstruate.
Yes, because only women bleed, and menstruated blood was considered an impurity that women were getting rid of from their body, it was feared that the women would despoil the purity of the sumo ring, and thus cause the goddess to get angry and spoil the harvest.
Sure. Why not?
It's not like we haven't progressed in scientific knowledge, right?
As such... traditional traditions such as no women allowed on the doyo are archaic and a waste of time.
Gods and goddesses aren't responsible for spoiling a harvest. That's weather, poor farming techniques, human mistakes, etc.
Jealous goddesses and menstruation blood are not legitimate excuses for a country that thinks itself superior in science and robotics.
Not every sumo hall shuns women... some welcome them as sumo wrestlers, referees, and I'm sure as life-savers.
Besides, in my opinion, what's the big deal if you have a woman still capable of menstruating step in the ring?
The sumo wrestlers—on multiple occasions—each toss salt in the ring to purify it.
There... now it's "clean" again.
And what about women who are of an age where they no longer menstruate? And those too young to have started menstruating?
I'm pretty sure I've never typed (combined) those words out so many times in my life.
If an 100-year-old woman were to climb on to the doyo, what's the big deal? Let's say she stopped bleeding all over the place when she was 45-years-old... and let's say she began when she was 12-years-old... there was only a 34-year period where she might have been impure enough to have sullied the sumo ring. She certainly doesn't have it in her to do it now, and hasn't for 55 years... so where's the harm?
But again... that's not the point.
Why... why are women not allowed into the ring? Tradition? Some traditions are stupid. Some traditions need to be done away with. Some need to grow the fug up.
Unless the Japan Sumo Association can explain in 100 per cent clarity why women should not be allowed onto the doyo, it needs to officially alter its stance.
The JSA president merely stated that the women should not have been asked to leave—because it was a life was at stake. He did not say they shouldn't have been asked to leave because women ARE allowed... he said it was because saving a life trumps all.
So there's still work to be done there.
Now, I'm not just going to point the finger at Japan and wave it in an angry or disappointing manner... plenty of other countries continue to treat women as second-class citizens or worse... chattel... property to be used as the male wishes.
Golf courses in the U.S. were segregated until... what... 40 years ago... Jews and Blacks were not allowed on a golf course, except as a caddie...
There's a saying... and I'm pretty sure it's a joke, that golf is an acronym, meaning" Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden", but truth or not, it was also the norm for the sport for a stupidly long time.
While most golf clubs evolved with the times, a famous one in the U.S., did not.
Until 2012, the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia, U.S., did not allow female members... and still doesn't have any... but it has altered it stance a wee bit, and will, in 2019, host a female golf tournament, the Augusta National Women's Amateur Championship.
It took a long time, but at least that golf club has taken a step towards modern times.
Anyhow, the point is, Japan's sumo traditions need a good swift slap to the face.
Foreigners are now involved in the sport, and in a few cases, have been dominant forces in the national sport.
In other cases, traditional forms of bullying and punishment in sumo are now coming to the forefront and are being criticized as being barbaric... and while I'm unsure if the JSA reached that conclusion on its own, or if it was forced to after public outrage from media coverage, they have attempted to reform the way stables go about their business.
But women... fug... time to get into the 21st century, Japan.
Thanks to men Julien and Vinnie for telling me about this story.