"Women, Leave the Ring" during First Aid EffortsSumo Dilemma between Tradition and Life
"Women, please leave the ring." This announcement was made several times to the women who entered the sumo ring to administer emergency medical care when Ryozo Tatami, mayor of Maizuru City, collapsed giving a speech in the ring at Maizuru Grand Sumo Tournament held in Maizuru City, Kyoto Prefecture, on April 4. This situation has triggered criticism that "they put tradition above human life."
According to Nihon Sumo Kyokai, or Japan's sumo association, women are traditionally banned from entering the sumo ring. The association has not allowed women to step into the ring in the past, for example, refusing to let a female governor present the Governor's Prizes to champion sumo wrestlers.
Spectators' testimony and videos uploaded on online video platforms clarify that the hall announcement, "Women, please leave the ring," was made at least three times when two women ran into the ring from spectators' seats to administer heart massage, and when another two women tried to assist them. Moreover, there was also an announcement, saying "Only men step up, please."
A city worker who was present at the site said that the women pushed their way into the group of men around the mayor and performed cardiac compression in a very assured manner. When the surrounding people asked, "Are you medical professionals?" they replied, "We are nurses." Later, when a rescue team arrived with an AED, or automated external defibrillator, they gave way to the team. Reportedly, the women questioned the hall announcement, saying, "We are trying to save a life. How come they can say something like that?"
At that time, there were approximately 3,000 spectators, including citizens, in the venue. A woman in her 60s who saw the incident from her seat near the ring said in retrospect, "The women's actions on the spur-of-the-moment were great." Strongly criticizing the announcement, she said, "It was not what should be said in a situation where people are trying to save a life. It is intolerable."(Translated by Mie Hiuzon, Psyche et l’Amour, Inc.)