The Japan Sumo Association is admitting that a referee was out of line when he repeatedly asked two women to leave the ring despite their attempts to administer life-saving help on Wednesday. The incident happened in Kyoto after Maizuru City Mayor Ryozo Tatami collapsed while delivering a speech.
The judge’s announcement, aired through loud speakers at the gymnasium, rekindled the public criticism and prompted Japan Sumo Association Chairman Hakkaku to later issue a statement of apology.
“The judge was upset and made the announcement, but it was an inappropriate response because the situation could have been life-threatening,” Hakkaku said in the statement.
NHK World has the video and it’s really quite something.The referee twice asks the women to leave, while they seem conflicted about obliging.
Reuters explains the sport’s very serious rule permitting only men into the arena: “Tradition forbids women from entering the ring on the grounds that it is sacred and their presence, considered unclean, would pollute it.”
Tatami was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries, according to city officials.