The Yomiuri ShimbunTAKARAZUKA, Hyogo — A female mayor on Friday criticized the Japan Sumo Association for not permitting her to give an address from the dohyo ring to welcome a Grand Sumo spring regional tour, instead making her give her remarks ringside.
“It’s frustrating that I’m not allowed [to make this speech on the dohyo] because I’m a woman,” said Tomoko Nakagawa, mayor of Takarazuka, Hyogo Prefecture, during a one-day visit to her city by the sumo tour.
“While respecting tradition, I believe [the JSA] should change something that needs to be changed,” she said.
Nakagawa also delivered a speech from the side of the ring when the spring regional tour visited her city last year. At that time, the mayor said she had no hesitation when she accepted a request to speak from the side of the ring, which traditionally women are not allowed to stand on.
However, when Nakagawa learned that Ryozo Tatami, mayor of Maizuru, Kyoto Prefecture, suddenly collapsed Wednesday while giving an address on the ring, she asked the following day that the JSA allow her to make a speech from the dohyo.
The association rejected the request, asking her to respect the tradition and instead make her remarks ringside, according to the mayor.
“If the regional tour visits Takarazuka next year, I hope [the JSA] will allow me to give my speech from the dohyo,” she said.
At a press conference following her address, Nakagawa said she will send a written request to the JSA that it hold discussions on whether to maintain this tradition, taking into consideration opinions from outside experts.Speech