Japan: Women “Ritually Unclean” Not Allowed in Sumo Ring
Since the end of World War II they've started playing baseball the way we do, and we buy their cars, televisions and hundreds of other items. We'll even pay some of their baseball players fortunes to play over here. But for the most part, the Japanese are still the same deeply tried and true top to bottom cradle to grave patriarchy in which women and girls are largely considered second class. Geishas and housewives are essentially the two career choices open to the island nations women.
Even in 2018, it's rare to find a female executive of a large Japanese corporation while we've progressed far enough in the good ol' USA our women routinely run for presidential office and other high political posts. A 2017 article in the Japan Times says women have risen to 5.1% of the nations business executives, risen. Let that sink in a moment. As recently as 2012 the number was closer to 1.5%.
By comparison, worldwide women compromise nearly 16% of directorships at major global companies in 2016.
Chauvinism is so deeply set into the Japanese culture that even in a case of life or death women are not permitted to enter a Sumo ring. That's a circle drawn on the ground where fat guys try to bump each other out.
Last month at a Sumo event in northern Kyoto, while he was speechifying, the 67-year-old mayor of Maizuru collapsed while speaking from inside the ring. At ringside and in the crowd were paramedics who rushed into the ring to help save the mayor, only to be ordered out of the ring because they were all women.
What are tiny Japanese women to do when a 450 lb man in a diaper tells them to leave?
The women indeed left the ring, but only after stabilizing the mayor who'd had a stroke and survived due to the quick action of the ladies.
The incident received worldwide attention in Sumo circles (pun intended) and worldwide bite back and criticism, prompting the head of the Japan Sumo Association to apologize saying the Kyoto officials had made an "inappropriate" response.
Women are "ritually unclean" and thus banned from entering the ring.
The ring, or as it is known the 'dohyo' is considered a sacred place where men only are allowed to participate in the ancient ritual of defending the honor and sacred male traditions of their society for the right to a po-boy sandwich and cheesy fries.