Please view the main text area of the page by skipping the main menu.

Wrestler elected to city assembly in Japan to file suit over ban on 'Skull Reaper' mask

Oita Municipal Assembly member Skull Reaper A-ji stands in front of the entrance to the chamber in the city of Oita on April 21, 2021. (Mainichi/Tomohiro Tsujimoto)

OITA -- A professional wrestler elected to the municipal assembly of this southwestern Japan city intends to sue the city council for damages on the grounds of discrimination against his occupation by not allowing him to wear his wrestling mask in the chamber or committee room, the Mainichi Shimbun has learned from a source close to the wrestler.

    Skull Reaper A-ji, 52, is known as the only assemblyman in the southwestern Japan region of Kyushu who is also a professional wrestler.

    A-ji won the city's assembly seat in the 2013 election for the first time, and secured a third term in February this year. He has been forced to take off his mask in the chamber and committee room based on rules on order. However, there are masked wrestlers working as incumbent assembly members in the Osaka Prefecture city of Izumi and the city of Nagano, and apparently only the Oita city assembly does not allow wrestling masks to be worn in the chamber.

    "It is a suicidal act for a masked wrestler to show his real face in public," A-ji asserted. He added, "I have been discriminated against due to my occupation and have been harassed for eight years."

    Apart from the planned suit seeking damages, A-ji also intends to ask the Oita District Court for a temporary injunction on April 26 allowing photos of him in his mask to be published on the city council's website and its newsletters on the grounds that not doing so discriminates against his occupation.

    (Japanese original by Tomohiro Tsujimoto, Oita Bureau)

    Also in The Mainichi

    The Mainichi on social media