Japanese Women Ordered To Leave Sumo Ring While Saving Man's Life

Japanese Women Ordered To Leave Sumo Ring While Saving Man's Life

The medics were among a number of people tending to Ryozo Tatami, the 67-year-old mayor of the Kyoto Prefecture city, who collapsed while making a speech Wednesday afternoon.

A jarring incident in a sumo ring has triggered a national conversation in Japan about how women are treated.

When two more women rose to the ring trying to join the first aid effort, announcements demanded the women get out of the ring.

According to sumo tradition, women can not enter the ring, believed to be sacred, because their presence is considered "unclean"-due the belief menstrual blood is "impure"-and would pollute it".

Several commentators on different channels argued that the referee should not have urged the women to leave the ring.

The two women rushed into action, leaping to the aid of the collapsed man lying on the ground and pumping at his chest, both evidently medically trained.

Mr Tatami, who reportedly suffered from a stroke, was taken by emergency services to a nearby hospital where his condition was not thought to be life-threatening. Eventually male firefighters arrived with a defibrillator and entered the ring.

"It was an inappropriate response in a life-threatening situation", Hakkaku said.

Sumo wrestling is one of Japan's most popular sports and it's deeply embedded in Shinto religious principles. "We extend a deep apology".

"Of course it is important to protect tradition, but the way it excludes women perhaps is out of step with the times, and that's how I feel as a woman", said Yurika Mita, a newscaster on a Fuji Television Network talk show.

Meanwhile, sumo officials threw large quantities of salt into the ring after the women had left, in an apparent bid to "re-purify" the sacred space, according to witnesses cited in local media.

The association had sparked controversy twice by barring female officials from entering the ring during award ceremonies.

The incident occurred at a gym in the Kyoto Preferecture hosting a Japan Sumo Association event on Wednesday.