Tha Sports Junkies 101

Japanese Wrestler Antonio Inoki in North Korea

Antonio_Inoki Tokyo Fashion via Flickr


Antonio Inoki 

Antonio Inoki, now 74, is a politician, retired professional wrestler, founder of New_Japan_Pro_Wrestling (NJPW), WWE Hall_Of_Famer (Class 2010) and martial_artist.

He also wrestled under the ring names Little Tokyo, Tokyo Tom, among others. He publicly reveals about converting to Islam in 1990, and took the name Muhammad Hussain Inoki.

One of the Most Respected Sport Celebrities of Japan

Inoki is famous for trying to “shootBruno Sammartino during a tag match in Osaka 67’. He also has his mixed martial arts match against boxer Muhammad Ali in 1976.

In 1979, Inoki defeated WWF Heavyweight Champion Bob Backlund in Tokushima, Japan to win the title.

During the 70’s and 80’s, he had some matches with the late great Andre the Giant.

In 1995, he headlined two shows with Ric Flair, for Japanese and North Korean governments’ two-day wrestling festival for peace in Pyongyang, North Korea.

Inoki faced Don Frye in the final match of his professional wrestling career.

From Wrestler to Politician

Following his father’s footsteps, entering politics, and was elected into the House_of_Councillors to represent of his own Sports_and_Peace_Party in Japanese_House_of_Councillors_election, 1989.

He successfully negotiated with Saddam_Hussein for the release of Japanese hostages before the outbreak of the Gulf_War. But he failed to win re-election in 1995, and left politics for the next eighteen years.

He is better known these days as an oddball diplomat trying to avert war, with North_Korea. He has visited the North over 30 times, despite from hardliners determined to enforce sanctions on the authoritarian state.

Stepping back into Politic

In 2013, Inoki won the election to return to Japan’s Upper House as an MP. But he was stripped of his parliamentary membership for 30 days after an unauthorized North_Korea trip.

He was reportedly considering running for governor of Tokyo in 2014 following another visit to North Korea.

Antonio Inoki heads North Again.

Undeterred, he is heading back to Pyongyang, in time for celebrations of the North’s Foundation_Day, September 9th 2017.

His friends say he wants to help diffuse a crisis that has raised the threat of thermonuclear conflict.

Though critics retort that

“He is at a best naive exhibitionist and at worst a traitor, Japan’s version of Dennis Rodman, one of the few Americans to have met North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-un.”

Hope to Acheive

A phrase he repeats often,

 “World peace through sports”

In 2014, he told a business magazine that

 “He is doing things that the Japanese government cannot do”

Arriving Pyongyang

Inoki and Ri Su Yong, a vice chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea who formerly served as foreign minister, shook hands and hugged when they met in Pyongyang.

“I welcome you”

Ri, a trusted confidant of leader Kim Jong Un, told Inoki, who doesn’t represent Japanese Government nor belong to any political party.

They did thier meeting  a day before North Korea marks the 69th anniversary of its founding.

This is his 32nd visit to Pyongyang. And he said one of the trip’s other main purposes is to help promote “sports exchanges” between Japan and North_Korea, which have never established diplomatic relations.

The former pro-wrestling star visits North_Korea one year ago also for its national foundation day, when its fifth nuclear test is being handle.

He is schedule to stay in North_Korea until Monday and may disclose some elements of their discussions afterward.

The Japanese Government has expressed concern over the visit, just days after its sixth nuclear test.


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