jalil_the_swan

Transgender in sumo

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The recent hype about transgender/non-binary people in sports makes me wonder about what happens if any NSK member whose responsibilities include dohyo entrance (rikishi, oyakata, gyoji, etc) actually comes out as transgender/non-binary.

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While I do think that your intention in creating this thread comes from benevolent curiosity about othr people's views, I personally quite disapprove of it.

For me this is nothing else than the "strongly discouraged" subjects politics and religion.

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14 minutes ago, yorikiried by fate said:

While I do think that your intention in creating this thread comes from benevolent curiosity about othr people's views, I personally quite disapprove of it.

For me this is nothing else than the "strongly discouraged" subjects politics and religion.

I must say that I agree that this is an inappropriate subject for sumo forum.  The obvious answer is that the person would be asked to leave immediately.  At this point, a huge political eruption will inevitably take place.  We need to nip this in the bud.

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Posted (edited)
18 minutes ago, Yokozuna Hattorizakura said:

lmao not in a million years will that happen, this isn't america

 

Please clarify.  If you are referring to what I said about a "huge political eruption", I wasn't referring to Japan.  I was referring to Sumo Forum.  Discussions of politics and religions are strongly discouraged.  If you are referring to someone in the sumo world "coming out", it would never happen publicly in Japan like it often is in the US.  It would be handled very discreetly as we all know.

Edited by sumojoann

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Mods?!?!

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Agreed, this is a hard no-go topic for the forum. Apologies to OP, but this is a bridge we mightn't cross even in the unlikely event we get to it.

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So, how about that Hakuho? Did he really watch judo during the Olympics??(Smokingpipe...)

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6 hours ago, jalil_the_swan said:

The recent hype about transgender/non-binary people in sports makes me wonder about what happens if any NSK member whose responsibilities include dohyo entrance (rikishi, oyakata, gyoji, etc) actually comes out as transgender/non-binary.

Japan being a not-so-great place for trans people + the whole women-on-the-dohyo thing == little or no chance of the situation being handled with any sensitivity. I'd guess that anyone trans in the NSK would realize that, and retire and leave before transitioning.

This is kind of out of the blue; what's bringing this up?

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39 minutes ago, Sue said:

Japan being a not-so-great place for trans people + the whole women-on-the-dohyo thing == little or no chance of the situation being handled with any sensitivity. I'd guess that anyone trans in the NSK would realize that, and retire and leave before transitioning.

This is kind of out of the blue; what's bringing this up?

 

3 hours ago, Seiyashi said:

Agreed, this is a hard no-go topic for the forum. Apologies to OP, but this is a bridge we mightn't cross even in the unlikely event we get to it.

Sue, FYI, the Mods don't want this topic to be discussed on the forum.  It can too easily degenerate into a political discussion, which is strongly discouraged. 

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I just want to say that I'm shocked to see this topic. I check daily for news and info from the sumo world and seeing this being the last commented topic on the "Ozumo Discussions" subforum, without any over exaggeration, stunned me for couple of minutes, making me stare at the monitor with an open mouth and asking myself "Did I enter a wrong website by any chance?". I ... I cannot describe this!

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Posted (edited)

In the absence of the mods being in a position to immediately remove this topic, I suggest a voluntary, self-imposed embargo on further posts forthwith. We appear to be skirting around the ban on political discussion to a dangerous degree, and I think it is apparent to all that this is not a topic that is suitable for discussion here.

Edited by Seiyashi
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I do like to watch the circus burn down, so let it burn. (Dribbling...)(W00t,w00t,w00t...)(Applauding...)

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9 hours ago, Seiyashi said:

In the absence of the mods being in a position to immediately remove this topic, I suggest a voluntary, self-imposed embargo on further posts forthwith. We appear to be skirting around the ban on political discussion to a dangerous degree, and I think it is apparent to all that this is not a topic that is suitable for discussion here.

Actually, I paste this from the Guidelines for Sumo Forum, the only item that seems relevant:

"2. Discussion of politics and religion that have no relevance to sumo
The forum is dedicated to our interest and love of sumo, and that shouldn't be clouded by heated and unresolvable discussions on those two heat-prone topics. Discussions that wander into religion and politics will be monitored and locked the moment discussion becomes anything less than polite and rational. All members are encouraged to let the moderators know if some topic seems precariously close to irrational discussion and flaming. Outright provocations and trolling on political and religious subjects will not be tolerated, and may end in banning."

I don't think the OP, or anyone else so far, has been very political in their questions or comments, and certainly not impolite or irrational. We've had much more heated discussions (LOL, I may have started one myself) on women and their exclusion from ozumo. Tradition is deeply integrated into the reality of the sport, particularly at the professional level. The manner in which sumo accommodates itself to the changing environment of the world in which it finds itself, seems to me a perfectly reasonable topic for the forum, as long as that conversation conforms to the rules stated for the forum's operation. 

I support a shift toward more egalitarian treatment of all human beings in sumo, professional and amateur, but I recognize the inherent difficulties on gender issues. Not only are there the strictures of Japanese society and of long-standing traditions in sumo, but there are also the considerations of life in the heya and that extraordinary culture that sets the stage for the professional world of sumo. I think Japan is more tolerant of transgendered folks than most other nations, but my impression is that it is still very much fringe (in some cases very frilly fringe). I've seen a few fascinating folks on the streets of Japan on my many trips there. Certainly not in the dohyo.

 

 

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39 minutes ago, Kaminariyuki said:

I don't think the OP, or anyone else so far, has been very political in their questions or comments, and certainly not impolite or irrational. 

I support a shift toward more egalitarian treatment of all human beings in sumo, professional and amateur, but I recognize the inherent difficulties on gender issues. Not only are there the strictures of Japanese society and of long-standing traditions in sumo, but there are also the considerations of life in the heya and that extraordinary culture that sets the stage for the professional world of sumo. I think Japan is more tolerant of transgendered folks than most other nations, but my impression is that it is still very much fringe (in some cases very frilly fringe). I've seen a few fascinating folks on the streets of Japan on my many trips there. Certainly not in the dohyo.

 

 

Your comment is a prime example of this being a political question. Read this statement of yours - "I support a shift toward more egalitarian treatment of all human beings in sumo ...". Not only I find this extremely political and populist, but above all I find it dangerous. If one is still questions the political nature of this topic, please read the quoted passage few times if needed.

 

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40 minutes ago, Chankomafuji said:

Your comment is a prime example of this being a political question. Read this statement of yours - "I support a shift toward more egalitarian treatment of all human beings in sumo ...". Not only I find this extremely political and populist, but above all I find it dangerous. If one is still questions the political nature of this topic, please read the quoted passage few times if needed.

 

I suppose if one is sensitive enough, most anything is political. I would interpret the guideline as meaning political in the context of national politics, Japanese or of any nation. I might be making assumptions, though, I confess. "Politics" certainly has a range of meanings. How is the topic the OP has introduced different from discussing women in sumo, or aspects of racism in sumo, which have been discussed in sumo forum in many threads? 

And, if you're going to quote me, it would be nice if you did not change my meaning by adding bold and underlined words. It's really no longer a quote at that point, IMO.

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it's already happened. Aoyama it's actually a transgender man.

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2 hours ago, Kaminariyuki said:

I don't think the OP, or anyone else so far, has been very political in their questions or comments

That might (?) be true. Nevertheless, the only reason for this is that I am probably not alone here in hiding my keyboard in the freezer in order to not become *very* definite on the subject. Like I would be, if the two topics stated in the rules would be tolerated. Then you could read here also something like this:

I believe that all [beep] people are pretty much [beep].

Also, everyone who follows the views of [beep] must be [beeping] [beep].

 

In the end, the topic started here is controversial not for its complexity (which it certainly encompasses), but for its weaponization in the current public discourse as it spilled over from the US to other Western countries. This includes the meta-phenomenon of assumed and/or demand for self-censorship of thought and word.

The last place I want to face this is on my sumo site TBH.

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22 hours ago, jalil_the_swan said:

The recent hype about transgender/non-binary people in sports makes me wonder about what happens if any NSK member whose responsibilities include dohyo entrance (rikishi, oyakata, gyoji, etc) actually comes out as transgender/non-binary.

While I don't know the answer to your hypothetical question, I would guess that they'd be drummed out of sumo if they came out on the subject. Transgender covers a fair bit of territory, and the likelihood of nobody currently being gay or transgendered within the 1,000 plus participants in ozumo (rikish, yobidash, gyoji...) is highly unlikely. There are very difficult, and apparently touchy, issues related to transgendered folks in sports. I suspect that there are no viable solutions to addressing the inequities, either for women or the transgendered among us. 

For those who aren't interested in the discussion, though, I should think it's fairly easy to ignore the topic. The OP did not hide his content from the title, after all. If one doesn't want to read spoilers, one doesn't open the basho topic.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Kaminariyuki said:

While I don't know the answer to your hypothetical question, I would guess that they'd be drummed out of sumo if they came out on the subject. Transgender covers a fair bit of territory, and the likelihood of nobody currently being gay or transgendered within the 1,000 plus participants in ozumo (rikish, yobidash, gyoji...) is highly unlikely. There are very difficult, and apparently touchy, issues related to transgendered folks in sports. I suspect that there are no viable solutions to addressing the inequities, either for women or the transgendered among us. 

For those who aren't interested in the discussion, though, I should think it's fairly easy to ignore the topic. The OP did not hide his content from the title, after all. If one doesn't want to read spoilers, one doesn't open the basho topic.

This is just my opinion, but I think one of the problems in allowing political or religious discussions is that the hostility that is easily stirred up can spill over into other threads.  It's best to head off potential flame wars before they start.  Otherwise, inevitably, you'll end up with Person A getting into a rage with Person B due to disagreements regarding Transgender and Sumo., for example. Then when Person B tries to post something, even innocuous, on a different thread, Person A, still angry with Person B, will attack him/her.  By then, the rage is mutual.  Obviously we don't need that sort of drama on SF.  Even though there are times when things do get a little tense, overall pretty much everyone rises above it.  That's what makes SF superior to other sites.  The rules/guidelines are there for a purpose.  Let the Mods use their wisdom and experience to decide these matters.

Speaking of the Mods, is there a reason they haven't indicated if they're going to keep or delete this thread?

Edited by sumojoann

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There have already been seven or eight posts in this thread asking mods to remove it. Since they haven't it's clear that they don't think the topic contravenes the "no politics" rule. The issue of women in sumo has been discussed several times on this forum from what we can see without triggering flame wars. This seems to be a relevant topic that, as the OP showed, does raise some interesting theoretical questions. Rather than endless calls for moderation or abstention, perhaps it's better if the people interested in discussing the topic do so, while those who aren't ignore it. 

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We haven't been on the forum long but after reading it lot of it over the past week, the relative civility of the vast majority of the posts stands out. If this is the result of heavy moderation then surely the mods will clamp down on this topic if it strays into heated arguments. If it's the result of the maturity of the members then there isn't an issue anyway.

 

We have never met any transgender rikishi but have known a couple of (non openly)  gay / bisexual JSA members. 

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My reluctant two cents is that given the communal stage of heya living which all rikishi and almost all gyoji and yobidashi go through, privacy is a rare commodity. That in turn makes it a disincentive for those struggling with their own identity to join ozumo, especially in a relatively conservative society where the odds of running into people who are supportive are statistically rarer. And considering the reliance on tsukebito by sekitori, this isn't necessarily something that will stop past the communal living stage, or that will go away if that stage is removed (cf. Araiso-beya).

That's not to say it won't happen, but quite a number of things have to go right for it to, and even then it's still likely going to be closeted (easier to get a heya's support than the entire NSK). Unfortunately, those are exactly the types of conditions that are going to cause a scandal when it comes out. I'm mildly reminded of James Barry, the English doctor, in this type of case.

I'm not ruling out someone joining ozumo after a very early (i.e. childhood, 4-5yo) change for whatever reasons, but I'd think that even if they had, that's not the kind of thing you'd want to be shouting from the rooftops. Rikishi don't strike me as being overly eager to share their personal life - or at least their privacy is respected enough that it's not surprising that a number of them announce their marriages after the fact (e.g. Endo and Goeido), so I would imagine it's a matter of "don't ask don't tell" - and I don't see people in Japan being too eager to ask either. 

Straying a bit closer to the politics side, while I agree with John's article that all humans need to be treated with the same degree of respect, it is unfortunate that that is an aspiration and not a reality at this stage of societal progression. And while I also agree that appeal to tradition is not a logically valid defence, surely one cannot expect an extremely conservative organisation to take the first step in this respect either. Any change, if it comes, will begin from outside of the JSK.

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