Woman mayor protests sumo sexism in off-ring speech at event

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Woman mayor protests sumo sexism in off-ring speech at event
Tomoko Nakagawa, mayor of Takarazuka City, delivers a speech outside a sumo ring at a sumo exhibition in Takarazuka, western Japan Friday April 6, 2018. A female mayor in western Japan has protested sumo's male-only tradition in her speech she was forced to make outside of the ring _ unlike her male counterparts who go inside _ seeking a change. (Yoshihiko Imai/Kyodo News via AP)

TOKYO (AP) — A woman mayor in western Japan has protested sumo’s male-only tradition in a speech she was forced to make outside of the ring — unlike her male counterparts who were allowed to go inside.

Takarazuka City Mayor Tomoko Nakagawa said Friday that she is frustrated and pained by the sexist tradition.

In sumo’s tradition, the ring is considered sacred and women are prohibited from entering. Sumo officials cited their male-only tradition when they rejected Nakagawa’s request to speak on the ring.

Japan Sumo Association caused uproar this week after asking women first responders to leave the ring as they attempted to revive an official who collapsed at another event in Kyoto. They apologized over the incident Wednesday.

Top government officials Friday asked the association for flexibility.