Women seek to join sumo wrestling

Japan's first female governor has resumed her drive to be allowed to enter the all-male sumo ring, a request women have been denied for centuries because they are considered impure. Fusae Ota, governor of Japan's second-largest city of Osaka, is pushing for permission to present an award to the winner of a local sumo tournament, which begins on March 11. She formally asked the Japan Sumo Association on Wednesday, Osaka city spokesman is quoted by The Associated Press as saying. Ms. Ota made the same request last year, but backed down after sumo officials promised to reconsider the issue. She was elected in February 2000 to the governorship of Osaka, 250 miles west of Tokyo. Sumo's ancient roots are entwined with Japan's indigenous Shinto religion, and by custom the sumo ring is considered sacred. For centuries, only men have been allowed inside.

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