Take our user survey and make your voice heard.

Sumo chief apologizes after female medics asked to leave ring while tending to sick mayor


The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2018.

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

"Sorry Mr Mayor, but we'd rather let you die than having women come here."

Tradition forbids women from entering the ring on the grounds that it is sacred and their presence, considered "unclean", would pollute it.

That's the kind of things they'll have to change if they want to "rebuild" their reputation.

28 ( +30 / -2 )

This was not just inappropriate, it was also very dangerous. At least one of the ladies pushed their way to the front, which indicated she had medical training. People who have a stroke need urgent care. I'm glad to see that the women went back after momentarily hesitating on whether to comply with the instruction. But they shouldn't have had to make that decision.

29 ( +31 / -2 )

Sorry Mr Mayor, but we'd rather let you die than having women come here.


That's the kind of things they'll have to change if they want to "rebuild" their reputation.

If this makes international news, the whole country will have to rebuild their reputation.

I'd LOVE to see what John Oliver or Bill Maher would say about this.

16 ( +21 / -5 )

In the heat of the moment, superstitution comes before science. Interesting.

23 ( +24 / -1 )

Oh, cool.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

"Is there a doctor in the house. I mean, one who ain't a dame?"

16 ( +17 / -1 )

What’s it been... a week and a half since Sumo promised no more scandals? Time his irrelevant and sexist “sport” actually change or cease to exist.

14 ( +17 / -3 )

In 2000, then governor of Osaka Ms. Fusae Ota asked Sumo Association that she wanted to deliver the governor's trophy to the winner of the Osaka tournament but it was turned down by the association for the same reason. Until the Meiji restoration, I think, women were not allowed to climb Mt. Fuji. On this occasion, it should be changed. It is just silly.

15 ( +18 / -3 )

Wow... I'm speechless. It's worth remembering that if you prevent someone from receiving lifesaving medical assistance, you can be held criminally responsible for their death. Someone should probably remind the sumo announcer of that fact.

21 ( +22 / -1 )

What on earth were the officials thinking? I did notice a man on the left he had his hands in his pockets and actually checked his watch, then hands back in pockets helpful ! Another in blue just looking ! The only people who were doing anything were those "unclean" saviours that were saving this mans life. A telling tale about mentalities.

19 ( +20 / -1 )

Hakkaku and mayor Tatami (after appropriate recovery) should present the medics with some type award or honorarium in front of the Sumo community. It could go a long way in restoring grace back to the organization

12 ( +13 / -1 )

The sumo association is exempted a corporate tax as being a public interest organization and it is under the supervision of the Ministry of Education and Science. The government has an authority to let them change this silly tradition. They can summon the chairman of the association and order them to abandon the primitive tradition. The ministry can say If they do not follow the order, the government will stop giving them the tax exemption status.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

This sacred mud castle is demolished after the game has finished sooo can't be too sacred.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

I hope the mayor makes a full recovery.

What shocks me most about that video is the lack of general reaction from the crowd. The mayor is lying collapsed in the ring and almost nobody moves - even just to help him up.

Then, when the announment asking the ladies to leave the ring, I swear I can hear laughs.

It reminds me about a time when I was driving and saw a man lying in the road after being knocked off his bicycle. Three or four cars in front of me literally DROVE AROUND him and continued on their way. I stopped and attended to him, and people behind just drove around us too. Finally a young couple stopped and we waited with him until the emergency services came.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Had the man died, I'm sure his family would have been thrilled that he wasn't contaminated by a woman. Far better the grave than to be defiled by an X chromosome.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Hmm ... For all fans of the 'cultural exceptionalism' of ritual, rules, and authorities. maybe someone should refer to that announcer by his official Sumo name ... Jumbo - JAL 123.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Schopenhauer: “On this occasion, it should be changed. It is just silly”

No, on ALL occasions it’s not just silly, it’s sexist by definition. The sport should not be allowed until women are. If they want to say sexism is traditional, fine, let sumo die (like it basically is anyway). Agree with the government removing their tax exempt status, though.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

OK, we have had a lot of condemnatory comments

There can never be enough in response to stupidity like this.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

All I can do is shake my head.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Hmmmm..... what happened spoke volumes regarding sexism in Japan.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Says a lot about J sumo association.

This is inexcusable.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

When some would rather die than compromise their beliefs it is probably better to abide by their wishes.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Good for the women who simply ignored the calls for them to leave the ring.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I imagine they will have a Shinto priest come in and decontaminate the sacred ground. I'm a big sumo fan, but this incident was pretty rediculous. I can't wait to hear that the mayor says with he is better.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

If I fall ill and collapse, I would take medical assistance from anyone..period. Even a Martian.

PS-those shrine maidens. They are female, right? No problem there I guess.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

What a bunch of idiots. And if the mayor had died in the ring with life saving women medics at the ready? Wouldn't withholding medical aid constitute a crime? Sumo association doing its best to make sure the sport disappears

I like sumo just fine, but without henka moves, the scams, and superstitions. It's clearly seen better days and today is not that day

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@Aly Rustom - it's a major story in Canada's National Post. And I hope it's featured in other countries' national media.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Maybe Hakkaku can start by changing the rule of not allowing women on the dohyo. Secondly, the PA announcer should be named and shamed too. We can't go blame the entire sumo world for this. I am sure not all people would let a man die instead of having a woman assist.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Excuse me but there are guys running into the dohyo wearing what seems to be outdoor shoes (sneakers/trainers/gym shoes). Is this allowed? Even women are allowed inside apartments, but outdoor shoes are a big no-no.

This all reminds me of the sick white redneck in the old days, who refuses to be treated by a black doctor. Or that video of the Canadian women in a clinic and who only wants a doctor to treat her child if he or she is white.

This news has made it into the Daily Mail. You know you're in trouble with the plebs if it makes it to DM.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

it's a major story in Canada's National Post. And I hope it's featured in other countries' national media.

It's a major story in Japan, which is where it's really needed to be, if change is going to happen.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I love how the women push the men away who are just making things worse by getting in the way of real help and obstructing airflow by crowding around the patient just to look like they're doing something.

They know that just trying to look busy to impress people around you can actually make things worse. They could use a few women like that at every workplace.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

He should be asked to resign from his position for what he did.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

This treatment of female medics is deplorable. The training they are required to complete is impressive and to say they can't treat a person in need in a certain area is disgraceful and insulting. I didn't see any male medics rushing to provide CPR. In fact, I saw the one female push men out of the way in order to provide assistance.

The attitude of women as second class citizens or "unclean" in Japan must change. Advance with the times!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

A moment of change. A moment in time. Congratulations Mr Sumo Chief.

A high degree of common sense was shown by this man.

Another scandal in the sport would be disastrous.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

This story has made the international news - lots of pages on a Google search of the story.

I am waiting for the first Japan apologist to note that while it was wrong, the tournament should have had male medics on-hand so that women did not dirty the sacred mound.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Tradition forbids women from entering the ring on the grounds that it is sacred and their presence, considered "unclean", would pollute it.

The only unclean and dirty thing here is this tradition. I wonder where these men were born from if not women.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

For what it’s worth, at least the sumo assoc chairman and officials roundly rebuked the announcer who made the announcement.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

What surprised me most was when the woman ran into the ring and started performing chest compressions immediately without checking vital signs. My first aid training is a bit outdated, but i learned you check ABCs first (Airway,Breathing,Check pulse). if the person has a pulse, you needn't perform compressions. Have no qualms with a woman entering the ring, and her actions might've very well saved his life, but wished she showed more first aid prowress. Then, for a lack of better words, she would have really killed it.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Although it maybe seen as a fairly trivial story in that no one died luckily. It is however a blistering tell tale on the challenges facing the nation as a whole, where tradition, rules and hierarchy dangerously get in the way of common sense to the point of it being life threatening. The story has resonated around the world as a warning to all  when dogma is taken to the extreme people become stupid and blind. The nation as a whole is  living with these frustrations on some level day in and day out and this sort of in your face example SHOULD press all the buttons as a blatant reason why things have to change. Loud and clear.  Leave your fate in the hands of geriatric , institutionalised and weak minded people at your peril. If Japan can truly wake up and shed these terrible burdens I truly believe it could be once again a beacon of light in the region and even world. That's a big IF though.  Majide gambare Nippon!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This whole thing about throwing salt, purification, not allowing women onto the dohyo is just all mumbo jumbo, no better than voodoo. We need to move on with the times. Do we still need these nonsensical attitudes? The sky didn't fall and Amaterasu isn't weeping.

And why has the video disappeared? Too embarrassing?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@Aly Rustom - it's a major story in Canada's National Post. And I hope it's featured in other countries' national media.

It's been taken up by the UK media. I'm glad to see the story being covered in depth by the morning wide shows here.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites