Keisuke, do something about it. …… I want you to get me out of here as soon as possible.”
Last July, Keisuke Inoki, 75, received a phone call from his brother Antonio Inoki himself, whom he had not heard from for more than 10 years.
How are you? Keisuke was at a loss for words when he received a feeble SOS from the “burning fighting spirit” who had continued to brighten Japan.
On September 12, the first memorial service for the late Antonio Inoki (passed away on October 1, 2010 at the age of 79) was held at Sojiji Temple in Yokohama’s Tsurumi Ward.
The remains of Antonio Inoki were placed in Sojiji Temple, the family temple of the Inoki family, at his own request. I think my brother is happy that the memorial service for the first anniversary of his death was completed without incident.
In fact, Inoki has another “grave. The “Antonio Inoki Family Grave,” located in the mountains near Tsuta Onsen (Towada City, Aomori Prefecture), was erected in May of last year. Inoki’s last wife, Tatsuko (62 years old), who passed away in 19 years, rests in this grave, and “Inoki’s remains will never be placed there,” Keisuke said.
“It was only in July of ’22, about three months before he passed away, that I was able to get in direct contact with my brother. Until then, for a long time, I, my relatives, and many of the sponsors and others who had long supported my brother were kept away by Mr. Hashimoto (Ms. Tazuko’s maiden name), and we could not meet, let alone talk on the phone. If you called them, they would immediately hang up on you. I could not understand why my relatives had to be torn apart for no reason. I don’t want to speak ill of the deceased, but I believe that my brother was brainwashed by that man in his later years.”
Tazuruko passed away before Inoki, but even after that, Inoki was surrounded by members who carried on her wishes, and no one was allowed to have contact with him except those whom Tazuruko had approved of before her death.
When Keisuke realized that his brother’s condition, affected by the intractable disease cardiac amyloidosis, had deteriorated considerably during the SOS at the beginning of his visit, he and Mr. Tsuyoshi Yukawa (Chairman and CEO of OSG Corporation), a long-time Inoki supporter, rushed to the apartment in Azabu Juban (Minato Ward) where Inoki was fighting the disease. Mr. Yukawa was also separated from Inoki.
When they managed to enter the room, they were met with a sight that made them doubt their eyes. Inoki was lying on a small bed in a small room only four and a half tatami mats in size.
When I got the call from my brother, my biggest concern was the sudden change in his health. Of course he was in bad shape, but he himself said, ‘It’s not my condition. I sensed that he was very dissatisfied with the way he was being treated now that he was separated from the outside world,” said Keisuke.
The rooms were separated by partitions, further reducing the living space. The apartment was 56 years old. Although there was a caretaker, he did not appear to be receiving adequate nursing care. Keisuke tells us.
It didn’t seem like the right place for my brother to spend his final years, who had reigned at the top of the pro wrestling world for so many years. I guess he was not in a financial position to receive the kind of care he needed.
As soon as possible, Keisuke signed a contract for a tower apartment in Shirokanedai, Minato Ward, Tokyo, and Inoki went there of his own volition. Inoki moved there of his own volition. After being “rescued” and moved to a room with a great view, Inoki seemed to regain his vitality.
Before he was moved, he was so weak that he could not even raise his arms by himself, but with the help of a team of caregivers and a doctor’s permission, he was able to eat his favorite foods, including steak. It was a miracle that my brother was able to appear on “24 Hour TV” (Nippon Television Network) on August 28 to recite his poem “The Way.
In September, a meeting was held between Inoki himself, Keisuke, the aforementioned Yukawa, and Mr. T, the manager of a local lodging facility who was close to Ms. Tazuruko and the manager of the “Antonio Inoki Family Grave” erected at Tsuta Onsen.
Inoki himself is said to have said, “My remains are going in.
Sojiji Temple is where (my remains) will be buried.
Inoki himself declared that his remains would be placed in Sojiji Temple in Tsurumi, rather than in the grave he and his beloved wife had built at Tsuta Onsen.
My brother was in favor of the separation of the bones, and I thought it would be good for Mr. T’s soul. However, after Inoki passed away after a battle with illness, his daughter Hiroko returned from the U.S. and told Mr. T. that she would not give even a single piece of her father’s remains to Aomori, so there was no more division of the remains,” said Keisuke.
Behind the “heartless notice” of Hiroko, the biological daughter of Mitsuko Baisho, 76, an actress and Inoki’s second wife, one can glimpse the accumulated feelings of the relatives who have been unreasonably excluded by Tazuruko.
Why did Inoki accept Ms. Tazuruko’s cutting off of his relationships with her?
She took care of everything around me and always lifted me up, even if it was blatant. My brother liked that kind of person. My brother was loved by too many people. This always caused jealousy around him, and he seemed to find it amusing. In the end, he managed to land on his feet, but I guess that is just like my brother,” said Keisuke.
After the funeral, Hiroko visited her mother, Mitsuko Baisho, at her home with the remains. At that time, she is said to have said to her mother, “You’re back, Anton ________.
You’re back, Anton. ……
Inoki rests in peace with his relatives, including Keisuke and Hiroko, and his last wife, Tazuruko,…… all of whom he owes a debt of gratitude to.
From the October 13-20, 2023 issue of FRIDAY
PHOTO： Etsuo Hara (Inoki on his sickbed) Hiroyuki Komatsu (Keisuke at Sojiji Temple)