Legendary Inoki Honored in Yokohama: A Tribute to Wrestling’s Icon

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A special ceremony took place at the Sojiji Temple in Tsurumi, Yokohama on September 12 to commemorate the first anniversary of the passing of legendary wrestler Antonio Inoki. In addition to honoring his memory, the ceremony also unveiled a remarkable statue at the temple.

The unveiling was attended by notable representatives from New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) including Tiger Mask, Satoshi Kojima, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Yuji Nagata, Hiroshi Tanahashi, and Kazuchika Okada. Seiji Sakaguchi, an NJPW consultant, was also present. Representatives from All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW) and Pro Wrestling NOAH (NOAH) were in attendance as well. Inoki’s students, such as Yoshiaki Fujiawara, Masahiro Chono, Kazuyuki Fujita, Naoya Ogawa, and others, were also part of the ceremony. Overall, approximately 120 people attended the event.

The ceremony began with the burning of incense as part of a traditional Buddhist ritual. Naoya Ogawa, representing the Inoki Genome Federation (IGF), led a spirited chant of ‘1,2,3, Daa!’ Following this, a special statue called the ‘Burning Fighting Spirit’ was unveiled at the Inoki family grave. Sakaguchi, Chono, Fujiwara, Ogawa, Okada, Kaito Kiyomiya of NOAH, and Kento Miyahara of AJPW had the honor of unveiling the statue.

The bronze statue was created to be 110 percent of Inoki’s actual size during his lifetime. Kazuchika Okada, one of NJPW’s top stars, served as the model for the statue’s physique, capturing Inoki’s powerful presence and legacy.

Currently, Inoki’s cremated remains are in the possession of his daughter, Hiroko, who resides in the United States. They will be laid to rest in Yokohama when she returns to Japan later this year. The grave and statue are now open for public viewing, allowing fans and admirers to pay their respects to the wrestling icon.

For more information and to view photos from the ceremony, please visit prowrestlingwars.com.

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