On April 5th, 2018, a mayor from Kyoto was delivering a speech on a ring at a Sumo competition.
Then without any warning, he collapsed. The man was suffering a subarachnoid hemorrhage.
As onlookers looked confused, an announcement was made asking for “anybody” with medical background to attend to the fallen man.
As some people rushed to the ring to give first aid, about 4-5 of them were women. Some of the women worked immediately to give the man first-aid. One of the woman took off the fallen mans necktie to increase circulation, airway, and breathing while another lady was administering CPR to the collapsed man. From the video at the bottom, it seems they were running the show to helping the man. Then out of nowhere, an announcement was made ordering the women to get off the “sacred” ring.
From my perspective, even when tradition dictates, if anyone is having a medical emergency and people including women have the ability and skills to save life, they should be free to do whatever is necessary to save life.
When this made the news, many people in Japan were shocked and a global debate ensued about the sternness of Japan’s attitudes toward women. It is shocking to most because in this day in age, in a relatively free society, such hard headed thinking exists in some places in Japan. Some ponder if Japan is really progressing as a nation despite it’s cultural history. Is it?
Japan today can still be a culturally sexist country. In some special cases, I’ve seen the difference in treatment between a man and woman. I’ve seen the sexist attitudes in some families where daughters are not treated equally to their brothers and wives are not equal to their husbands. Not to digress but I want to share a time during a home stay program in which I participated in, the house where I stayed in had a room where no women were allowed to enter. The room was strictly forbidden to his wife and daughters. One might think he had a stash of crazy porn in there but it was just a typical room with a couch, TV, and some newspapers. So why women were not allowed to enter this room I asked. He said because they were women. WTH?
On the video, you can see a lady applying chest compression to the fallen man. Fortunately, the man was saved thanks to the early actions by the men and women who helped the man. Life for women in Japan must be harder given the circumstances.