Home News These Girls Are Defying Stereotypes In Sumo Wrestling

These Girls Are Defying Stereotypes In Sumo Wrestling


Nana Abe, 12, is a real sumo champion: She has been training since she was 8 years previous 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 degree, however that doesn’t cease some ladies from training it as a membership sport.

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

Abe’s dream is to proceed her profession as an expert, however proper now there isn’t any means for ladies to proceed after commencement from college within the present system. Feminine sumo wrestlers on the membership degree are passionate concerning the sport and provides their sweat and tears to show that they need to compete. “I want that these ladies may have the chance to proceed their profession,” says Skogoreva. “In the intervening time even in Japan only a few individuals know that feminine sumo exists. I hope that my mission will assist these ladies to get extra consideration and attain their aim someday.”

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

She was particularly all for sumo, which has many rituals forward of the fights that may typically appear like dance — the skilled wrestlers generally strategy the ring in colourful gown that exhibits their rank, and opponents assemble on the dohyō (the raised ring) forward of the match to stomp and showcase in a choreographed ritual ceremony known 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 ladies taking over the game. Then a good friend despatched her an article a few feminine sumo wrestler, and her curiosity was piqued. “It’s an extremely tight-knit and closed-off world. It took greater than a 12 months to get the permissions to {photograph} there. I reached out to Russian wrestlers, after which after I got here again to Tokyo with pictures of Russian wrestlers, it turned so much 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’d like to preserve photographing her till she graduates college, and perhaps even after.”