Magazine

Apr 13, 2016

The World Of Japanese Female Wrestling

The World Of Japanese Female Wrestling

Professional women's wrestling in Japan means body slams, sweat, and garish costumes. But Japanese rules on hierarchy also come into play, with a culture of deference to veteran fighters. The brutal reality of the ring is masked by a strong fantasy element that feeds its popularity with fans, most of them men.

The World Of Japanese Female Wrestling
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Members of the media take pictures of Holidead during a Stardom female professional wrestling show at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan, December 23, 2015. Professional women's wrestling in Japan means body slams, sweat, and garish costumes. But Japanese rules on hierarchy also come into play, with a culture of deference to veteran fighters. The brutal reality of the ring is masked by a strong fantasy element that feeds its popularity with fans, most of them men. THOMAS PETER/REUTERS

The World Of Japanese Female Wrestling
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Wrestler Kris Wolf receives ice spray treatment during her Stardom professional wrestling show at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan, July 26, 2015. THOMAS PETER/REUTERS

The World Of Japanese Female Wrestling
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Wrestlers Kris Wolf and Kimura Kyoko carry their fellow fighter Act Yasukawa after her last match before retirement during a Stardom female professional wrestling show at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan, December 23, 2015. THOMAS PETER/REUTERS

The World Of Japanese Female Wrestling
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Wrestler Act Yasukawa (R), jumps at Kairi Hojo during their Stardom female professional wrestling show at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan, December 23, 2015. THOMAS PETER/REUTERS

The World Of Japanese Female Wrestling
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A wrestler holds on to the rope during a Stardom female professional wrestling show at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan, July 26, 2015. THOMAS PETER/REUTERS

The World Of Japanese Female Wrestling
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Wrestlers Kris Wolf and Starfire fight during their Stardom professional wrestling show at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan, July 26, 2015. THOMAS PETER/REUTERS

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Io Shirai (top) performs a moonsault onto Mayu Iwatani during their Stardom professional wrestling show at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan, July 26, 2015. THOMAS PETER/REUTERS

The World Of Japanese Female Wrestling
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Stardom wrestler Kris Wolf greets fans as she enters the arena before her professional wrestling show at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan, July 26, 2015. THOMAS PETER/REUTERS

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A man takes pictures of ring announcer Fuka Kakimoto of Stardom, a Japanese female professional wrestling promotion, after a show at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan, December 23, 2015. THOMAS PETER/REUTERS

The World Of Japanese Female Wrestling
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Dancers leave the backstage area before a Stardom female professional wrestling show at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan, December 23, 2015. THOMAS PETER/REUTERS

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A man poses for a pictures as he sells High protein foods outside a Stardom female professional wrestling show at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan, December 23, 2015. THOMAS PETER/REUTERS

The World Of Japanese Female Wrestling
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Members of the audience watch female wrestlers fight outside of the ring during a Stardom female professional wrestling show at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan, July 26, 2015. THOMAS PETER/REUTERS

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The President of the Stardom female professional wrestling promotion Hiroshi "Rossy" Ogawa sells brochures before the start of a wrestling show at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan, December 23, 2015. THOMAS PETER/REUTERS

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Wrestlers fight during their Stardom female professional wrestling show at Shinkiba 1st Ring in Tokyo, Japan, December 6, 2015. THOMAS PETER/REUTERS

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Wrestler Io Shirai carries a metal beam that supports the ring after the Stardom female professional wrestling show at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan, July 26, 2015. THOMAS PETER/REUTERS

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Wrestler Jungle Kyouna is getting choked during her Stardom female professional wrestling show at Shinkiba 1st Ring in Tokyo, Japan, December 6, 2015. THOMAS PETER/REUTERS

The World Of Japanese Female Wrestling
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Members of the audience watch female wrestlers fight outside of the ring during a Stardom female professional wrestling show at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan, July 26, 2015. THOMAS PETER/REUTERS

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Wrestler Kris Wolf (C) and fellow wrestlers scatter across the ring during their Stardom female professional wrestling show at Shinkiba 1st Ring in Tokyo, Japan, December 6, 2015. THOMAS PETER/REUTERS

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People watch women fight during a Stardom female professional wrestling show at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan, July 26, 2015. THOMAS PETER/REUTERS

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Wrestler Kairi Hojo (top) jumps at her opponent Mieko Satomura as they fight in the stands during a Stardom female professional wrestling show at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan, July 26, 2015. THOMAS PETER/REUTERS

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Wrestler Mieko Satomura carries her opponent Kairi Hojo through the audience area during a Stardom female professional wrestling show at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan, July 26, 2015. THOMAS PETER/REUTERS

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Wrestler Kaori Housako jumps at her opponent Mieko Satomura during a Stardom female professional wrestling show at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan, July 26, 2015. THOMAS PETER/REUTERS

The World Of Japanese Female Wrestling
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Wrestler Kairi Hojo jumps at her opponent Mieko satomura during their Stardom female professional wrestling show at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan, July 26, 2015. THOMAS PETER/REUTERS

The World Of Japanese Female Wrestling
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Professional wrestler Kris Wolf (L) and co-guest Thomas Belfer talk about life in Japan as they record a video for the Huffington Post at its office in Tokyo, Japan, March 12, 2016. THOMAS PETER/REUTERS

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Stardom female professional wrestling guest fighter Chelsea (bottom) trains with a fellow wrestler at a boxing gym in Tokyo, Japan, October 1, 2015. THOMAS PETER/REUTERS

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Merchandize material is on display outside a Stardom female professional wrestling show at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan, December 23, 2015. THOMAS PETER/REUTERS

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Professional wrestler Kris Wolf (C) meets fans Eiichi Nakazato (R) and Eishi Matsumoto in a restaurant in Tokyo, Japan, March 12, 2016. THOMAS PETER/REUTERS

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Ticker tape confetti rains on wrestler Act Yasukawa after her last match before retirement during a Stardom female professional wrestling show at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan, December 23, 2015. THOMAS PETER/REUTERS

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