Tatsumi Fujinami: “Handwritten Poem” received from Antonio Inoki just before his death
Eternal fighting spirit! 190cm, 105kg!
Ring announcer Kero Tanaka’s voice echoed as “Flame Fighter Inokibombaye,” the entrance song from his active days, played in the background.
On October 14, a funeral service was held at a funeral hall in Tokyo for Antonio Inoki (real name Kanji Inoki), who died of heart failure on October 1 at the age of 79. The 358 people who gathered for the ceremony included those involved in the pro wrestling business and his relatives. Wrapping a red towel with Inoki’s trademark “fighting spirit” around his neck, the attendees carried his coffin to the hearse to say their final goodbyes.
Nobuhiko Takada, Seiji Sakaguchi, Seikatsu Funaki, Kazuchika Okada, Yoshiaki Fujiwara, and other big names in the pro wrestling world were in attendance. The pallbearer was his younger brother Keisuke. He recalled being called by Mr. Inoki the day before he passed away, and told the press, “I had no power, and I was mumbling. I was mumbling without strength. I think he wanted to say ‘thank you’ to everyone. His eldest daughter Hiroko, who lives in the U.S., was also at the funeral hall.
The Deep Meaning of the Buddhist Precepts
The day before, a wake was held, and the altar was decorated with red roses. On the right, a figure poses with “1, 2, 3 dah! on the right, and a picture of him doing a swastika on Tiger Jet Singh on the left.
The preceptor’s name is “Toukan-in Kikon Kando-kunshi,” which translates to “The Fighting Spirit” in Japanese. I thought it was a powerful name that was typical of Mr. Inoki, with its motif of “fighting spirit,” the meaning of his real name “Kan-ji,” and the poem he performed at his retirement match, “Michi. Mr. Inoki’s management company is planning to hold a memorial event in December, and New Japan Pro-Wrestling is planning to hold a memorial event at Tokyo Dome in January next year.
Mr. Inoki was loved by many people for his soulful and loving slaps and blackmail. Two days after the funeral, Tatsumi Fujinami (68), one of his favorite disciples, revealed his secret story in an interview with “FRIDAY Digital. He revealed a secret story.
I probably got slapped the most. I have been with him since I was 16 years old, but he was also a warm man. I’ve had his autograph twice. The first time was right after I got married in December 1981. I appeared on a TV program, and Mr. Inoki came as a guest. When I asked him for his autograph, he shyly wrote, “Why for me? I was so happy that I gave it to my parents as a gift.
The second time was about two months before Mr. Inoki passed away. He called me to his hospital room and handed me a handwritten poem. It was written as follows. Whether a flower blooms or not, being alive is a flower. And. For me, that’s an invaluable and precious talisman.”
Fujinami continued to talk about the greatness of Mr. Inoki.
Fujinami continued, “He was a man who always showed his fighting spirit. Until just before he passed away, he was showing his true colors on his YouTube channel, ……. Normally, you don’t want to show your declining figure. That courage is amazing. I can’t replace Mr. Inoki, but I think I can carry on his beliefs. I will continue to step into the ring with Mr. Inoki’s thoughts in my heart.
Let the fiery fighting spirit that left many great footprints be eternal!
Photographed by： Shinji Hasuo