VIEW FROM THE RISING SUN
by Masanori Horie
In ancient times, Japanese were known to have lived their lives by the Twelve Signs of the Oriental Zodiac. They are related to the date, the time of day, and the compass directions. Analogous to astrological divination, these twelve branches were symbolized as animals, and people's fortunes were cast in relation to their times of birth. Twelve animals are representing the year in which he or she was born. When the sign of a particular year is the same as a man's birth sign, he is termed "toshi-otoko" (year's man), while a woman is termed "toshi-onna" (year's woman). 2000 is the YEAR OF THE DRAGON. For those of you born in 1952, 1964, 1976, THIS IS YOUR YEAR, where you may be carrying the notion of a new stage or change in your life.
We have a total of about 600 wrestlers here in Japan now, and there are over 30 wrestlers who were born in 1976, like Osami Shibuya (birthday: January 7 / office: Pancrase), Tanny Mouse (January 7 / NEO), Ikuhisa Minowa (January 12 / Pancrase), Chikayo Nagashima (January 24 / GAEA-Japan), Kengo Watanabe (January 31 / Pancrase), Dragon Kid (February 2 / Toryumon), Sayuri Okino (February 5 / LLPW), Yoshiko Tamura (February 6 / NEO), Ai Fujita (February 15 / ARSION), Muhammad Yone (February 23 / Battlarts), Calros Amano (March 16 / JWP), Ryuji Ito (April 8 / Big Japan), Ryuki Ueyama (April 17 / RINGS), Yuji Kito (May 2 / IWA-Japan), Yumi Fukawa (May 22 / ARSION), Kayo Nomi (June 4 / All Japan Woman), Sonoko Kato (June 11 / GAEA-Japan), Takao Iwasaki (July 7 / Eagle Pro), Ken-ichi Yamamoto (July 11 / UFC-Japan), Abdullah Kobayashi (July 22 / Big Japan), Saika Takeuchi (August 29 / GAEA-Japan), Miss Mongol (September 2), Yoshinobu Kanemaru (September 23 / All Japan), Takashi Uwano (October 3 / IWA-Japan), Emi Motokawa (October 4 / FMW), Kiuma Kunioku (November 12 / Pancrase), Hiroshi Tanahashi (November 13 / New Japan), Mitsunobu Kikuzawa (November 17 / DDT), Tomoaki Homma (November 18 / Big Japan), Super Cacao (December 17 / CMLL-Japan), Yoshiya Yamashita (December 21 / IWA Japan), Takumi Abe (December 24 / SPWF), and Massibu Ichi (December 26 / Pancrase).
The stardom is by no means easy to get. Some of these wrestlers have already won reputations, but most of them are still incomplete talents. They are training their hearts and bodies at Dojo, which is the Japanese wrestling training system and all-living facility. Its purpose is the training of young wrestlers into main-eventers while inculcating them with the strict etiquette, discipline, and special values of wrestling. However, some of them who work for smaller offices can't have Dojo, nor do they make good money. Of course, they have to perform routine duties, set up the ring, regulate the crowd as a second, etc. It is very tough work. There are all sorts of people and lives, but their motive power must be respect, love, and the dream of pro wrestling itself. This week's View From The Rising Sun (No. 77) will spotlight six wrestlers who were born in 1976. You can check out what happened in 1976 in "History of Puroresu" by Great Hisaharu Tanabe.
Mitsunobu Kikuzawa, 168cm / 90kg, was born in Ikuno-ku, Osaka City, Osaka on November 17, 1976. He has been captivated by pro wrestling since boyhood, and he decided what he would be when he attended a live wrestling show for the first time, seeing All Japan at Osaka Furitsu Gym on April 16, 1990. The main event was a tag team match between Jumbo Tsuruta & Kenta Kobashi and Stan Hansen & Danny Spivey (18:26 Hansen beat Kobashi). He longed to become like Kobashi and trained at Masanobu Kurisu's Gym in Osaka. He debuted as a pro wrestler against Akihiko Masuda (The Great Takeru) in Goro Tsurumi's independent show in Yokohama City, Kanagawa on May 14, 1994, when he was 17 years old. Since then, he has worked for Goro Tsurumi, FULL, Tokyo Pro, IWA-Japan, Big Japan, CMLL, DDT, Osaka Pro, and Atsushi Onita. He not only mixes Lucha Libre with Japanese style wrestling well, but he is also a daredevil who is never afraid of blood. He will go to the USA as a member of Atsushi Onita's group, when Onita's group vs. Zandig's Combat Zone Wrestling with Terry Funk will be held at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on June 25, 2000. Kikuzawa, like a weed, has survived in this business, but nobody can dig him up.
Yumi Fukawa, 152cm / 53kg, was born in Yokosuka City, Kanagawa on May 22, 1976. She had an audition at All Japan Woman Pro's office on January 17, 1993, and passed a pro test at Korakuen Hall on October 10, 1993. She debuted as a pro wrestler, teaming with Kumiko Maekawa against Chikako Shiratori & Miki Yokoe at Korakuen Hall on November 12, 1993 (9:05 Shiratori beat Fukawa), when she was 17 years old. Unfortunately, she had to be absent until April 15, 1995, because she broke her right collarbone in her second match on November 17, 1993. She started over at Korakuen Hall on April 16, 1995. She is always counted as one of the most lovely woman wrestlers here in Japan, but she was never a wrestler of ability in those days. She quit All Japan Woman Pro after a match at Nippon Budokan on August 20, 1997. Then, she joined a new office named ARSION. ARSION wrestlers trained in their Dojo every day and also attended Pancrase's Dojo every Monday, and Battlarts' Dojo every Friday, to learn much more about pro wrestling, Lucha Libre, and shoot style wrestling in those days. Fans were surprised when she drew with Candy Okutsu in ARSION's Grand Opening show at Korakuen Hall on February 18, 1998. She has gained confidence in herself through very hard training. She can be counted as a good wrestler today.
Yosuke "Abdullah" Kobayashi, 175cm / 110kg, was born in Koushoku City, Nagano on July 22, 1976. He was just a Mr. Nobody in the Dojo house when he joined Great Kojika's Big Japan in 1995. He will never forget those "crying and vomiting" days, when he was trained by an "old school" style coach, Kendo Nagasaki, at Big Japan Dojo in Yokohama City, Kanagawa. He debuted as a pro wrestler against Yuichi Taniguchi (Viking Taniguchi) at Hamamatsu City Gym in Shizuoka on May 29, 1995, when he was 18 years old. He was a plain and quiet wrestler. His little brother and sister are really proud of their brother. One day, his sister cried and rushed into the dressing room when her brother's forehead was cut by Mr. Pogo's knife. He showed remarkable progress after teaming with Mr. Pogo in 1998 and Abdullah the Butcher in 1999. He learned a lot from Butcher and started to take a positive attitude as a pro wrestler. He had a great match with BJW Death Match Heavyweight champion Tomoaki Homma in a barbed wire board & ladder death match at Korakuen Hall on February 22, 2000. He split with Butcher and started a bloody "Abdullah vs. Abdullah" feud in 2000.
Ai Fujita, 160cm / 58kg, was born in Gifu City, Gifu on February 15, 1976. She did gymnastics for 12 years and, actually, being a cross talk comedienne was her target before becoming a pro wrestler. She, as a PURORESU fan, attended "WrestleFest '97" (Terry Funk vs. Bret Hart) with us at Tri-State Fairgrounds Coliseum in Amarillo, Texas on September 11, 1997. She trained in Mexico and Jaguar Yokota's Jd' woman pro wrestling in 1997 and joined ARSION in 1998. She debuted as a pro wrestler teaming with Candy Okutsu against Ayako Hamada & Mika Akino (AKINO) at Korakuen Hall on April 14, 1999 (12:32 Fujita beat Akino). She showed huge potential. ARSION pushed Candy Okutsu, Ayako Hamada, AKINO, and Ai Fujita as an unit named "CAZAI" (Cat's eye). She is a good, aspiring woman, and she will be one of the best flyers here in Japan in the near future.
Tomoaki Homma, 181cm / 102kg, was born in Higashine City, Yamagata on November 18, 1976. No doubt, he is a "treasure" of the Japanese indy scene today. He trained at Animal Hamaguchi's Gym in Asakusa, Tokyo, and joined Great Kojika's Big Japan in 1997. He debuted as a pro wrestler against Hideyuki Takahashi (Crusher Takahashi) in Mashiko-cho, Tochigi on May 18, 1997. He beat Ryuji Yamakawa to win the BJW Death Match Heavyweight title in a barbed wire & spike nail double board death match at Korakuen Hall on January 2, 2000. He and Shadow WX (Satoru Shiga) beat Jason the Terrible & Shadow W*inger (Takashi Okano) at Yokohama Bunka Gym in Kanagawa on December 5, 1998, and he and Ryuji Yamakawa beat Kamikaze (Shoichi Maruyama) & Shumme Matsuzaki at Osaka Furitsu Gym #2 on January 7, 2000. He didn't have any sports background before becoming a pro wrestler, so he made every effort he could do. He has a great heart to have death matches like "fluorescent lamp" death matches, and he always shows flashes of genius in such a death match. He will become a major superstar in PURORESU someday, but he won't forget where he is from.
Aki "Miss Mongol" Kambayashi, 154cm / 65kg, was born in Sapporo City, Hokkaido on September 2, 1976. She was trained with Sugar Sato (Toshie Sato / GAEA-Japan), Kiyoko Ichiki (Big Japan), and Genki Misae (Misae Watanabe / NEO) by Kotetsu Yamamoto at a wrestling school for a TV program. Then, she was hired by Atsushi Onita's FMW. She debuted as a pro wrestler against Yukie Nabeno in Joetsu City, Niigata on October 25, 1995, when she was 19 years old. Young woman wrestlers usually idolized Japanese "super heroines" like Chigusa Nagayo, Manami Toyota, or Aja Kong, but she was different. She was a big fan of American style women wrestlers like Leilani Kai & Judy Martin. Since leaving FMW in February 1998, she is constantly going back and forth between Tokyo and Victor Quinones' IWA in Puerto Rico, where some of the WWF's developmental wrestlers are wrestling now. She will follow her dream to have her name up in the USA until it comes true.
You can find out your birth sign to see if you are either of these:
NE (Rat) 1948 1960 1972 1984 1966
USHI (Ox) 1949 1961 1973 1985 1997
TORA (Tiger) 1950 1962 1974 1986 1998
U (Hare) 1951 1963 1975 1987 1999
Tatsu (Dragon) 1952 1964 1976 1988 2000
MI (Serpent) 1953 1965 1977 1989 2001
UMA (Horse) 1954 1966 1978 1990 2002
HITSJI (Sheep) 1955 1967 1979 1991 2003
SARU (Monkey) 1956 1968 1980 1992 2004
TORI (Crock) 1957 1969 1981 1993 2005
INU (Dog) 1958 1970 1982 1994 2006
I (Boar) 1959 1971 1983 1995 2007
Please address all questions and comments about Japanese wrestling to Masanori at
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