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Girls In Sumo: These Pictures Present The Battle Of Younger Women Who Dream Of Going Professional


Nana Abe, 12, is a real sumo champion: She has been training since she was 8 years previous 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 ladies from training it as a membership sport.

Tokyo-based photographer Yulia Skogoreva has been photographing ladies and younger girls who follow sumo for years. “The traditions in Japan are sophisticated,” says Skogoreva. “When folks come and go to the nation, that is a part of why they like it a lot, as a result of a lot of that custom remains 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 manner for ladies to proceed after commencement from college within the present system. Feminine sumo wrestlers on the membership stage are passionate in regards to 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 meanwhile even in Japan only a few folks know that feminine sumo exists. I hope that my mission will assist these ladies to get extra consideration and attain their objective someday.”

Skogoreva, who has lived in Japan for over 10 years, understands the dream {of professional} athleticism, and her objective 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 check at Nippon Images Institute and continued to {photograph} dance. “I just like the pure state of individuals shifting,” Skogoreva says. “Dancers overlook in regards to the digicam, they only do what they do. I began seeing dance strikes after I watched all types of sports activities.”

She was particularly fascinated about sumo, which has many rituals forward of the fights that may usually seem like dance — the skilled wrestlers generally strategy the ring in colourful costume 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 “dohyō iri.” Skogoreva was initially curious in regards to 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 after I got here again to Tokyo with images of Russian wrestlers, it grew to become rather a lot 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 might like to maintain photographing her till she graduates college, and possibly even after.”