Sumo judge orders ‘ritually unclean’ women trying to save man’s life out of wrestling ring

A photo grab from a Youtube video shows women climbing up a sumo ring to treat Maizuru city mayor Ryozo Tatami, who collapsed while making a speech in a gym in Maizuru, Kyoto prefecture, Japan April 4, 2018 in this photo released by Kyodo. (Kyodo/via REUTERS)

Video of a sumo judge ordering women, including a doctor, out of the wrestling ring as they tried to administer CPR to a city mayor who had collapsed in the ring mid-speech has gone viral in Japan. Maizuru Mayor Ryozo Tatami, had been giving a speech from the ring on Wednesday when he suffered a subarachnoid hemorrhage and collapsed. A woman who said she was a doctor then rushed into the ring and began to perform CPR on the mayor while several other women came to assist her. But even as the women worked to save Tatami’s life, a judge from the Japan Sumo Association could be heard demanding that the women “leave the ring” through the stadium’s PA system until male firefighters eventually arrived with a defibrillator.

The head of the Japan Sumo Association, Nobuyoshi Hakkaku, apologized on Thursday for the judge’s actions, but appeared to suggest that the judge might have been justified in ordering the women out of the ring — had the mayor’s life not been at risk. According to Shinto traditions in the all-male sport, a sumo ring is rendered “ritually unclean” if women enter it.

“The judge was upset and made the announcement, but it was an inappropriate response because the situation could have been life-threatening,” said Hakkaku. “I am deeply sorry.”

In a similar case that highlighted the obstacles faced by women’s rights activists in Japan, a 26-year-old woman was forced to apologize to her employer after she got pregnant ahead of the schedule drawn up by her boss. The woman, who works for a private childcare center, was reportedly reprimanded for “selfishly breaking the rules” by getting pregnant before more senior staff. The childcare center director had also allegedly created “shifts” that dictated when women staff were allowed to marry or have children.

Watch video of the incident below.

Read the full story at The Washington Post.


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