Guest Lecture: The Dharma of Japanese Sumo: Religion, Tradition, and the Female Taboo

Speaker: Lindsey DeWitt Prat (UGent)
When: Thursday, March 24, 2022
Venue: Auditorium 1, Jan Broeckx, Blandijnberg 2, 9000 Gent – Ghent University

This lecture is part of Ghent Centre for Buddhist Studies lecture series Permanent Training in Buddhist Studies.


Few icons of Japanese culture are more widely recognized than the sumo wrestler. He sports a loin cloth and a slicked back topknot. His hulking body is aimed to engage. And the sumo wrestler is always a man, in the popular imagination at least. The Japan Sumo Association, a quasi-governmental corporation, champions itself as the custodian of a divine affair cultivated by male deities and mortal men, and exclusive of women. Juxtaposing modern and contemporary sumo literature with historical documents and present-day practices, Dr. DeWitt Prat will peer behind the icon to show how the fantasies surrounding sumo obscure the richness and diversity of its cultural history, a history that includes women.


 Speaker: Lindsey DeWitt Prat