Can women save sumo? The crossroads facing Japan’s national sport

The ancient Japanese ritual of Sumo is in crisis. Only last week, a Mongolian wrestler was forced to retire after assaulting a teammate – but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Years of controversy and scandal, coupled with the country’s declining population, have greatly impacted the sport’s ability to attract new talent. The Guardian visits Tokyo’s Ryōgoku district, the birthplace of Sumo, to see how this iconic institution is adapting to life in the 21st century, and why – despite women being banned from the ring itself – young female fans are flocking to watch it like never before

Subscribe to The Guardian on YouTube ► is.gd/subscribeguardian

Today in Focus podcast ► www.theguardian.com/news/series/todayinfocus

Support the Guardian ► theguardian.com/supportus

Sign up for the Guardian documentaries newsletter ► www.theguardian.com/info/2016/sep/02/sign-up-for-the-guardian-documentaries-update

The Guardian ► www.theguardian.com

The Guardian YouTube network:

Guardian News ► is.gd/guardianwires
Owen Jones talks ► bit.ly/subsowenjones
Guardian Football ► is.gd/guardianfootball
Guardian Sport ► bit.ly/GDNsport
Guardian Culture ► is.gd/guardianculture

Reflect on this video: