Japanese Women Ordered To Leave Sumo Ring While Saving Man's Life
The Japanese Sumo Wrestling Association has apologised after women who were helping in a medical emergency were ordered from the ring because they are considered 'ritually unclean' in the sport.
The women - one of whom is a physician - were trying to give medical care to the mayor of Maizuru, Ryozo Tatami, who was giving a speech in the ring when he was taken ill.
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.
The mayor suffered a subarachnoid haemorrhage (a bleed between the brain and its membrane) in the middle of his speech and the women rushed to his aid.
One woman told the men attending him that she was a doctor, at which point they moved and she began performing CPR on the man.
Several women also entered the ring to provide assistance, but were repeatedly told to leave the ring.
Eventually some male firefighters arrived with a defibrillator machine and took control of the situation.
The ring is a sacred area in sumo wrestling due to the sport's Shinto religious background. Women are not allowed to enter.
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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.
He said: "The judge was upset and made the announcement, but it was an inappropriate response because the situation could have been life-threatening,
"I am deeply sorry,"
Leaving aside the fact that his statement seems to suggest that were the mayor not going to die then it would have been an appropriate response, this is a clear sign of the challenges that face women in Japanese culture.
Just last week a woman was disciplined by her boss because she became pregnant when it was not 'her turn'.
A lot of companies in Japan have attracted criticism for telling women when they are allowed to marry and have children.
A gender expert from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo, Chelsea Szendi Schieder, told the Washington Post: "Japan wants to meet global standards, but at the same time there are these traditions and these gendered spheres.
"Things are changing for women in Japan, but it feels like one hand gives and the other takes away."
According to local media, the mayor was taken to hospital to have surgery to stop the bleed on his brain.
Featured Image Credit: Kyodo/YouTube