[sumo] Female mayor visits JSA, seeks end to male-only sumo tradition
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Thu Apr 19 03:04:27 EDT 2018
Gaijingal wide awake with jet lag at 3:00am.
Female mayor visits JSA, seeks end to male-only sumo tradition
A female mayor of a city in western Japan visited the Japan Sumo Association on Thursday and asked the sport's governing body to reconsider its longstanding male-only rules and adopt gender equality.
Takarazuka Mayor Tomoko Nakagawa, who was refused entry into the dohyo ring on the grounds of gender, met with JSA public relations chief Shibatayama and asked that the "nyonin kinsei" (no females allowed) policy be tabled for discussion.
"Mr. Shibatayama said he heard me as a member of the board and said they will hold discussions. I hope that this takes us forward and tradition isn't used as an excuse to end talks," Nakagawa said.
The 70-year-old said she proposed changes to existing rules, such as one that prohibits female politicians from honoring winners in the ring.
At a local exhibition event on April 6, Nakagawa was forced to make her speech outside the ring despite seeing her male counterparts making speeches inside the ring earlier in the same week, and asked that she too be allowed access.
But the JSA rejected her request, just as it has done on previous occasions over the past 30 years when approached by female politicians. Nakagawa said she was told by the JSA to respect the tradition and make her remarks ringside.
The dohyo raised ring is regarded as sacred, and women have been banned from entering because they are considered "ritually unclean" in the male-only sport of sumo.
Nakagawa has served as mayor of Takarazuka city in Hyogo Prefecture since 2009.
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