Two Japanese women were shamed for entering a “sacred” sumo ring to provide first aid to a local mayor who collapsed during a speech, reigniting criticism about the tradition as discriminatory, it was reported Thursday.
Maizuru Mayor Ryozo Tatami, 66, collapsed Wednesday inside a Kyoto sumo ring from a hemorrhage, prompting people to rush to his aid, including two women, The Japan Times reported.
A long-held Japanese tradition considers the sumo ring a “sacred” place where women are forbidden so when they entered, a referee told them over the loudspeaker to stay out, even though they were trying to help, the outlet said.
The incident rekindled public criticism about the ban as discriminatory against women, prompting the Japan Sumo Association Chairman Hakkaku to issue an apology.
“The referee was upset and made the announcement, but it was an inappropriate response because the situation could have been life-threatening,” Hakkaku said in a statement.
“We extend a deep apology.”
He added the association “deeply thanks the women for giving first-aid treatment.”
Local Japanese media showed video of the event Thursday morning and commentators argued the referee shouldn’t have told the women to get out. The practice was also criticized on social media.
Credit: NY Post