Professional wrestler Tajiri (53, real name Yoshihiro Tajiri) is considered one of the most successful Japanese wrestlers in the world. Despite his diminutive 5-foot-8-inch frame, his sharp kicks and spectacular aerial moves have made him a household name in Japan and the United States, the home of professional wrestling. He even had a long career with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), the world’s top pro wrestling organization, where he was a six-time champion.
The reason Tajiri was so popular in the United States was because he was a powerful villain. His piercing eyes and facial expressions, as well as the way he roughhoused his opponents, gave viewers the creeps. His so-called “Green Mist” move, in which he would spew a mysterious green liquid from his mouth at crucial moments, was feared by his opponents, who would be stunned into submission. Tajiri took advantage of this and landed a powerful kick to the head to secure the victory.
I recently met Tajiri in person in South Korea (he’s one of my favorite wrestlers). Born in 1970, he’s well past 50, but he’s still as muscular and fierce as ever. Even though we were meeting outside, he tried to stay in character. He was a born professional wrestler.
Tajiri turned pro in 1994 after competing in collegiate amateur wrestling and is still active today. He was active in WWE in the United States in the early and mid-2000s, and has been invited to wrestle occasionally since then. In 2016, he made his official return to WWE after more than a decade, but it was short-lived due to a knee injury. Since recovering from his injury, he has been meeting fans at various organizations, both large and small. She even participates in small tournaments in South Korea to inspire younger wrestlers.
I asked Tajiri what his signature move is, and he said “Green Mist. At first, I was surprised that he would choose a foul technique as his signature move when he boasts of his spectacular aerial skills and strikes. But after hearing his story, it made sense.
“I don’t think professional wrestlers are athletes, they’re performers. They’re artists who don’t fight their opponents directly, but express how they fight. I think pro wrestling is different from other sports – it’s a show sport. The techniques of hitting or throwing your opponent can be done in other sports. But the green mist is a move that only exists in professional wrestling. It doesn’t make sense from the outside, but at the same time it’s the most pro-wrestling move, so I think it’s my favorite move and it represents me.”
Even in his mid-50s, Tajiri still travels wherever there is a ring. Recently, he has been competing frequently in South Korea. This year alone, he has competed in several matches for a local organization called PWS and was crowned champion. In fact, Korean pro wrestling is usually played in front of a few dozen people, or 100-200 at most. This may seem like an unlikely setting for a “legend” who has competed in front of tens of thousands of people.
But Tajiri says it doesn’t matter how big the crowd is or how big the stadium is. “Honestly, I’ve done everything there is to do in pro wrestling, and I’ve made enough money,” he says, admitting that he’s lost interest in the sport itself.
Instead, he says he’s intrigued by the people who wrestle. He wants to encourage and empower younger wrestlers who compete under difficult circumstances and risk injuries. He has even published several novels based on professional wrestling to shed more light on their lives. The titles of the novels are “What Do Pro Wrestlers Show,” “Pro Wrestlers Are Traveling Artists,” and “The Boy and the Ring Staff,” among others. All of these works have become bestsellers in Japan.
Tajiri has been talking a lot lately to young wrestlers who dream of becoming professional wrestlers. He tells them
“I tell them, ‘If you want to do something, do it. If it doesn’t work out, you can quit, so just do it. You don’t know if it’s going to work or not until you try it, so I tell them to just do it.”
Tajiri also has a deep connection to Korean professional wrestling. He often met with the now-deceased Kim Il and Lee Wang-pyo to learn the sport firsthand. He even participated in several memorial matches for Kim Il. He spoke highly of the young Korean wrestlers who are carrying on the tradition of Korean professional wrestling. He also gave them some practical advice.안전놀이터
“In the future, it’s unlikely that we’ll see superstars like Kim Il-san or Lee Wang-pyo, who are known by the entire nation. That’s true even in Japan, where pro wrestling is highly popular. Instead, we have smartphones, the internet, and social media. It’s hard to become a national hero, but it’s a great time to meet fans who love you. If you work hard to meet and communicate with your fans and raise your profile little by little, you’ll be able to regain your popularity soon.”