Home News These Ladies Are Defying Stereotypes In Sumo Wrestling

These Ladies Are Defying Stereotypes In Sumo Wrestling


Nana Abe, 12, is a real sumo champion: She has been practising since she was 8 years outdated and has not often misplaced a contest. In Japan, membership sports activities are a big a part of adolescence and what number of college students bond with their classmates. Sumo — a historic Japanese martial artwork and longtime favourite sport within the nation — is open solely to males on the skilled stage, however that doesn’t cease some ladies from practising it as a membership sport.

Tokyo-based photographer Yulia Skogoreva has been photographing ladies and younger girls who observe sumo for years. “The traditions in Japan are difficult,” says Skogoreva. “When folks come and go to the nation, that is a part of why they find it irresistible a lot, as a result of a lot of that custom remains to be intact. However there’s additionally the query of gender equality, and might we work out a technique to have each?”

Abe’s dream is to proceed her profession as knowledgeable, however proper now there isn’t a approach for girls to proceed after commencement from college within the present system. Feminine sumo wrestlers on the membership stage are passionate concerning the sport and provides their sweat and tears to show that they should compete. “I want that these ladies may have the chance to proceed their profession,” says Skogoreva. “For the time being even in Japan only a few folks know that feminine sumo exists. I hope that my mission will assist these ladies to get extra consideration and attain their purpose in the future.”

Skogoreva, who has lived in Japan for over 10 years, understands the dream {of professional} athleticism, and her purpose is to seize motion and house in a nonetheless picture. She grew up in Moscow and often went to see ballet. She ended up in Tokyo to check at Nippon Pictures Institute and continued to {photograph} dance. “I just like the pure state of individuals transferring,” Skogoreva says. “Dancers neglect concerning the digital camera, they simply do what they do. I began seeing dance strikes once I watched every kind of sports activities.”

She was particularly interested by sumo, which has many rituals forward of the fights that may usually appear to be dance — the skilled wrestlers typically strategy the ring in colourful costume that exhibits their rank, and rivals assemble on the dohyō (the raised ring) forward of the match to stomp and exhibit in a choreographed ritual ceremony referred to as the “dohyōiri.” Skogoreva was initially curious concerning the world of male sumo wrestlers, as a result of she had by no means heard of girls taking on the game. Then a buddy despatched her an article a couple of feminine sumo wrestler, and her curiosity was piqued. “It’s an extremely tight-knit and closed-off world. It took greater than a yr to get the permissions to {photograph} there. I reached out to Russian wrestlers, after which once I got here again to Tokyo with images of Russian wrestlers, it grew to become lots simpler.”

She plans to maintain engaged on the mission, photographing sumo wrestlers in Japan and elsewhere, in addition to persevering with to {photograph} Nana and her older sister, Sakura. “They’re rising and altering yearly. I might like to maintain photographing her till she graduates college, and possibly even after.”