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Published: Fri, April 06, 2018
Tech | By Dwayne Harmon

Sexist sumo? Ref orders female EMS out of sacred ring after collapse

Sexist sumo? Ref orders female EMS out of sacred ring after collapse

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.

In Japanese culture, women have historically been banned from entering or even touching the sumo ring.

They ran into the ring when Maizuru city mayor Ryozo Tatami collapsed while giving a speech.

The head of Japan's Sumo Association, Nobuyoshi Hakkaku, later responded to many people's outrage by apologising to the women and thanking them for their quick thinking.

Footage of the incident, which was broadcast widely in Japan, showed a number of women hesitating on the fringes of the ring as the announcement was repeated before staying to assist.

"Ladies, please get off the ring", a sumo referee said. Eventually male firefighters arrived with a defibrillator and entered the ring. Then a woman rushed into the ring and apparently told the men that she was a doctor.

The mayor was transferred to a hospital where he was diagnosed as having suffered a stroke and underwent surgery, but his condition is said to be not life-threatening, Maizuru city officials said Thursday.

"The judge was upset and made the announcement, but it was an inappropriate response because the situation could have been life-threatening", Hakkaku said in the statement.

Sumo wrestling is one of Japan's most popular sports and it's deeply embedded in Shinto religious principles. "We deeply apologise", the statement reported by local media said.

The actions of the judge drew criticism from television commentators and on social media in Japan.

Former Osaka governor Fusae Ota, who was Japan's first female prefectural leader, was turned down for five years from 2000 to 2004 when she asked the association to allow her into the ring to present the trophy to the champion wrestler.

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

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