MAYOR HAS STROKE IN SUMO RING, WOMEN RUSH TO HELP, REFEREE KICKS WOMEN OUT
The world of Sumo wrestling definitely has its own drama. Just recently, the ancient competition had a controversy that created quite a sensation in Japan. This took place in the city of Maizuru. The mayor, Ryozo Tatami, was giving a speech in the dohyo, which is the term for the sumo wrestling ring. There was a sumo tournament in a Maizuru gym. The mayor was giving his speech to a host of spectators when he simply collapsed. Several women immediately went into the dohyo to treat the 66-year-old mayor. But the sumo tournament referee asked them to leave several times. Reluctantly, the women did leave the ring. But what if that man was in danger, say, from a stroke? And the referee kicks them out? Hmmm.
ANCIENT SPORT NEVER ALLOWS WOMEN INTO DOHYO, OR RING
Traditionally, women are never, ever, allowed into the dohyo. Back in 2000, Fusua Ota, Japan’s first ever woman governor of Osaka, tried unsuccessfully to change the traditional ban. But the Japan Sumo association refused to allow her in to crown that year’s tournament victor. So far, more than one million people have viewed video of the incident. People have been especially critical of the referee on Twitter. They condemned his putting tradition ahead of possibly saving someone’s life. Many tweets seemed to think the event would harm sumo wrestling’s image. That seems apt, especially since the mayor had had a stroke. But there have been other issues.
MAYOR SURVIVES, BUT NO THANKS TO OLD SCHOOL REFEREE
A Maizuru official said that medics took the mayor to the hospital where he was treated. The stroke, fortunately, was not life threatening. The official also said, “We really appreciate the women who provided the first aid. We don’t know who they were, but would like to thank them directly.” Unsurprisingly, the Japan Sumo Association released a statement to apologize for the traditional referee not using better judgement. “During their treatment, the referee made announcement several times saying, ‘Could woman please step out from the ring.’ He called [them] out while he was upset, but it was an inappropriate response in a life-threatening situation.” The apologizing statement is likely from the association’s chairman. Whoever this person is, he is known only as Hakkaku. How’s that for mysterious? Why is he anonymous?
SPORT OF SUMO ROCKED BY THESE SCANDALS, LOSING MARKET
But recent scandals have rocked the Sumo sport. A few months ago, a former top ranked Sumo wrestler was forced to retire. For some reason, he assaulted a younger wrestler. Doesn’t this sound like a soap opera? Maybe Japan should have a Sumo reality show. Sumo kicks sumo in balls. But can anyone notice? Seriously. Think about the visual. The world of Sumo really is different. But attendance has dropped in recent years. Maybe women in the ring would be a good thing. But terrifying.