Nana Abe, 12, is a sumo wrestler: She has been performing since she was 8 years old and has not lost a competition. In Japan, club sports are a big part of youth and how many students get along with their classmates. Sumo – Japanese martial arts and the country’s longest-serving sport – is open to gay men at work, but it doesn’t stop other girls from playing the game.
Tokyo artist Yulia Skogoreva has been painting pictures of girls and girls doing sumo wrestling for years. “Cultures in Japan are difficult,” says Skogoreva. “When people come to visit in this country, this is why they are so loved, because so many traditions still exist. But there is a small question among men and women, and can we find a way to have them all? ”
Abe’s dream is to continue his professional career, but at the moment there is no way for women to continue after graduating from university at the moment. Women’s rights activists at clubs love the game and break out in a sweat and cry to make sure they have to compete. “I wish these girls had the opportunity to continue their careers,” says Skogoreva. “At the moment even in Japan very few people know that female sumo exists. I hope my work will help these girls to find interest and to achieve their goal one day. ”
Skogoreva, who has lived in Japan for more than 10 years, understands the dream of professional athletes, and his goal is to take movement and space into a sustainable image. She grew up in Moscow and loves going to ballet shows. She went to Tokyo to study at the Nippon Photography Institute and continued her dance career. “I like the culture of people moving,” says Skogoreva. “Players forget about the camera, they just do what they do. I started to see the movement of the dancers after watching all kinds of games. ”
He was particularly impressed with the sumo wrestling, which has a long tradition in front of fights that often seem like dancing – professional wrestlers sometimes approach the ring in elaborate costumes, and their rivals gather at the dohyō (high ring) in front of marching matches and showcases. on a ceremonial ritual written called “dohyō iri.” Skogoreva was initially curious about the men’s martial arts, as she had never heard of any women participating in the sport. Then a friend sent him a story about a female sumo wrestler, and his interest was thrown out. “It’s a surprisingly strong and closed country. It took more than a year for a permit to paint there. I reached out to Russian fighters, and when I returned to Tokyo to take pictures of Russian warriors, it was easy.”
He plans to continue the project, filming Sumo fighters in Japan and elsewhere, and continuing to photograph Nana and her sister, Sakura. “They are growing and changing every year. I would love to photograph him until he graduated from university, and maybe even later. ”