Yulia Skogoreva


SALT AND TEARS: The story of Nana

Horikawa Oike Gallery

“Salt and Tears” is a long-term photography project that shines a spotlight on female sumo wrestling in Japan.
While sport is considered an arena where gender should encounter no boundaries, there are still many gender gaps that remain. It’s not widely known that sumo—a centuries-old martial art and Japan’s “national sport”—exists only for males at the professional level. Blocked by a thick layer of stereotypes and strong patriarchal beliefs, female sumo in Japan is only accepted at the amateur level. It can take the form of a school or university club activity, but after graduation there is no way for female sumo wrestlers to continue pursuing their sport. In spite of this, female sumo wrestlers exist and thrive. They are passionate about sumo and give it their sweat and tears, even though they know that their effort and ambitions will meet a dead end.
Yulia started this project in 2019, documenting the lives of female sumo wrestlers on the dohyou (the ring where sumo bouts take place), during training sessions, and at home. During the same year, she met Nana, a young wrestler from Niigata whose dream is to become a professional sumo wrestler. Nana started sumo when she was 8. She is now 14, and the strongest wrestler in her age category, and has been one of the main inspirations for this project.

Yulia Skogoreva is a fine arts and documentary photographer based in Tokyo. She majored in Japanese studies at Moscow State University, where she worked as an interpreter for butoh dancers. This experience pushed her to start using photography as a means of portraying dancers. Yulia’s artistic approach is formed on the idea of capturing movement in a still image. Her practice involves many creative collaborations with artists from different disciplines.

Horikawa Oike Gallery

11:00 - 18:30

Open: 4/15-5/14 11:00-18:30
Closed: Mon.

Horikawa Oike Gallery

238-1, Oshiaburanokoji-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, 604-0052

Subway Tozai Line "Nijojo-mae" station. 3 min on foot from exit 2

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