15:00-16:00 Monday, August 5, 2013
Member of the House of Councillors
Japan Restoration Party
Fresh from his election to the House of Councillors, wrestler turned politico Antonio Inoki will address the club on his return to Japanese political life.
In what promises to be a no-holds-barred discussion, Inoki is set to speak of his recent trip to North Korea, and how his affinity for the Communist state sits with his colleagues in the far-Right Japan Restoration Party.
Inoki shot back on to the political stage when he seized a spot in the upper house in the proportional representation section of last month’s ballot. He will be hoping that he can quickly shake off any ring rust in his return, and that his latest incarnation as a politician has a better ending than the last, when he failed to win re-election in 1995 under his Sports and Peace Party Banner.
At the height of his wrestling career, Inoki rose to international prominence in a 1976 bout against Muhammad Ali, during which Inoki stayed famously prone on the mat for much of the bout as he kicked away at Ali's legs.
The draw was seen in Western eyes as a farce, but according to fight fans in Japan, it established Inoki as a legitimate Asian hero who turned the tables on the best the West had to offer.
While Inoki combined wrestling and legislating in his first stint in parliament, this time the 70-year-old will be in a suit rather than his tights. But the former grappler's obvious ability to play the percentages could serve him well in his second life in politics.
The fledgling JRP is already racked by tensions stemming from the comfort women controversy engulfing its leader, Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto, so life in the Diet promises to be anything but dull for Inoki.
The same will go for his appearance at the FCCJ, so sign up to hear one of Japan's true originals.