John Gunning – Sumo’s Women Problem

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Noted sumo commentator and friend of Tachiai, John Gunning, bravely wrote another knock-out piece for the Japan Times.  This time, he took on the sumo tradition of barring women from the dohyo.  For sumo fans that somehow missed it, at an early jungyo stop in Maizuru, the town’s mayor collapsed while delivering the opening remarks from the dohyo. In the rush to render aid, two female medical professionals mounted the dohyo and began CPR. In an unfortunate mistake, the venue’s announcer began to admonish the women to leave the dohyo at once. As a result, the Japanese public responded with outrage, and hours later the story went world-wide.

First of all we have to ask what the purpose of the rule is. Women are not barred from the sport completely. They compete in amateur tournaments and play a large role in the management of professional sumo stables. The proscription is solely Shinto related and can be seen in other places “sacred” to the religion such as on Mount Omine in Nara.

I encourage our followers to read this well-thought-out piece of commentary.

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