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Girls barred from sumo ring at Shizuoka event

The Yomiuri ShimbunFemale elementary school students who were supposed to participate in a children’s sumo event on Sunday, when the Grand Sumo spring regional tour made a one-day stop in Shizuoka, were asked not to enter the dohyo ring, it has been revealed.

The request was made by an official from the Japan Sumo Association (JSA), who said, “We’d like to ask girls to refrain from [participating in the children’s event],” according to the organizing committee of the Fujisan Shizuoka Basho, as the one-day visit is known.

According to the committee and the Japan Sumo Federation’s Shizuoka prefectural branch, the Fujisan Shizuoka Basho and its predecessor have been held annually since 2013. The children’s sumo event was a popular segment in which professional wrestlers enter the ring to give children some training. Girls used to take part in the event.

This year, about five girls who belong to local sumo clubs were scheduled to take part in Sunday’s event, but the organizers received a phone call around April 4 from stablemaster Araiso from the JSA, who was in charge of the regional tour’s Shizuoka visit. He reportedly said the JSA would like the girls not to take part in the event — a request the organizers eventually accepted.

Stablemaster Shibatayama, the JSA’s public affairs director, said Thursday that its regional tours department made the decision sometime in September or October last year. “We reached the decision because it’d be bad if girls were injured and scarred or bruised on their face,” he said. “It all came from a security concern and has nothing to do with [the tradition under which] women are not allowed [to enter the ring].”Speech

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