'Little Miss Sumo' wrestles sexism in Japan's ancient sport
A young wrestler dubbed “Little Miss Sumo” is fighting sexism in the ancient Japanese sport, hoping to inspire other women to step into the ring and elevate sumo to Olympic status.
Hiyori Kon is the focus of a new Netflix documentary “Little Miss Sumo”, which tracked her attempts to take on sporting inequality in a society that lags on all manner of women’s rights.
Popularly regarded as Japan’s national sport, sumo pits two giant wrestlers, clad only in loinclothes, in a test of brawn and skill waged - with crouches and charges - inside a ring floored with clay and edged with straw bales.
But tradition in a sport that began more than 1,500 years ago forbids women from entering the ring as the space is sacred and any female presence is considered a pollutant.
“Even if you are faced with someone who is big and strong - it’s not something to run away from, but engage with - like in the sumo way,” said 22-year-old Kon when asked how other wannabe but wary women wrestlers should take up the sport.
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