Sumo is exclusive to men. Women are not allowed to step on the dohyo, the sacred ring where sumotori wrestle. However, female sumo wrestlers do exist. Even if not yet acknowledged by the ranks of professional sumo, there are women sumo teams in Japan as well as in the rest of the world, challenging not only dominant ideas of sports, but also of femininity and gender roles. Over the past decade, there have been campaigns to have sumo recognized as an olympic sport. But before that happens, official sumo will have to end its centuries old women ban. As a woman in Japan today, it is possible to practice sumo only in amateur clubs within schools and universities. On the dohyo, the girls train together with their
fellow male team members, who outnumber them. With its nine female members, The Asahi University Sumo Club is currently the largest women sumo team in Japan.
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