Ladies Sumo Wrestlers Dream Of Going Professional


Nana Abe, 12, is a real sumo champion: She has been working towards since she was 8 years outdated and has hardly ever misplaced a contest.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 women from working towards it as a membership sport.

Tokyo-based photographer Yulia Skogoreva has been photographing women and younger girls who apply 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 continues to be intact. However there’s additionally the query of gender equality, and might we work out a approach to have each?”

Abe’s dream is to proceed her profession as an expert, however proper now there is no such thing as a manner 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 need to compete. “I want that these women might 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 undertaking will assist these women to get extra consideration and attain their purpose at some point.”

Skogoreva, who has lived in Japan for over 10 years, understands the dream {of professional} athleticism, and her purpose is to seize motion and area in a nonetheless picture. She grew up in Moscow and steadily 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 overlook concerning the digital camera, they only do what they do. I began seeing dance strikes once I watched every kind of sports activities.”

She was particularly desirous about sumo, which has many rituals forward of the fights that may typically appear to be dance — the skilled wrestlers typically method 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 exhibit in a choreographed ritual ceremony referred to as the “dohyō iri.” Skogoreva was initially curious concerning the world of male sumo wrestlers, as a result of she had by no means heard of girls taking over the game. Then a pal 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 once I got here again to Tokyo with pictures of Russian wrestlers, it grew to become so much simpler.”

She plans to maintain engaged on the undertaking, 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 maintain photographing her till she graduates college, and perhaps even after.”



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