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Mayor dies after 'unclean' woman doctor refused entry to sumo ring

06 April 2018
Mayor dies after 'unclean' woman doctor refused entry to sumo ring

According to reports, Maizuru city mayor Ryozo Tatami, 66, collapsed while he was addressing people.

Sumo wrestling is facing another scandal as female medics were asked to stop attending to a stricken official because of ancient law banning "impure" women from entering the "sacred" ring.

Japan Sumo Association chairman Hakkaku apologized late Wednesday for an incident in which a referee requested female medics leave a sumo ring where they were providing emergency treatment to the Maizuru city mayor who suffered a stroke while giving a speech.

"It was an inappropriate response in a life-threatening situation", Hakkaku said. His condition is stable and not life-threatening, one of his secretaries told The Japan Times on Thursday morning. "We offer a honest apology", said Hokutoumi, who is also known as Hakkaku, the name of the sumo stable he heads.

When two more women came to assist the first aid effort, all of the women were told to get out of the ring.

Sumo's male-only tradition has caused controversy in the past, with even top female politicians being prohibited from honoring sumo wrestlers.

According to witnesses cited by local media, sumo officials threw large quantities of salt into the ring after the women had entered, in an apparent bid to "re-purify" the sacred ground.

The incident occurred at a gym in the Kyoto Preferecture hosting a Japan Sumo Association event on Wednesday. Osaka Governor Fusae Ota requested in 2000 to be allowed to enter the ring to hand out a prize at a tournament, but the association denied her permission, forcing her to hand out the award on a walkaway next to the ring.

Shinto ceremony blessing the ring. But the association rejected her entry to the ring in the final round at the Kuramae Kokugikan, sumo's former home arena in Taito Ward, Tokyo.

The tradition drew public attention for the first time in 1978, when a 10-year-old girl advanced to the final round of a children's sumo championship.

Several women rushed into the ring, but as they tried to help the mayor, multiple announcements were made over loudspeakers asking them to leave the ring.