Former MMA Star Genki Sudo Takes on New Role as Pub Boss in Koto Ward, Shifting Away from Family Business | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Former MMA Star Genki Sudo Takes on New Role as Pub Boss in Koto Ward, Shifting Away from Family Business

Mixed martial artist, performer, sake taster, member of the House of Councilors, and more... This is the life of the "ever-changing trickster

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Even though it was just after opening, the restaurant was crowded with couples and regular customers. Plans to enhance the sake selection with the help of a sake taster

Right after the opening, despite being a short walk from Toyocho Station on the Tozai Line, as I passed through the noren of an izakaya with the name ‘Isokou’ written on it, a dark-skinned man with a twisted headband welcomed me, saying, ‘Welcome!'”

Formerly known for his cosplay dance performances as characters like Thousand-Hand Guanyin and Major Leaguers during his days as a martial artist, Genki Sudo, 46, has now transitioned into a real izakaya owner.

“My parents managed this place, but my mother passed away at the end of last year, leaving my father alone. Next year, the shop will celebrate its 50th anniversary. I decided to stand behind the counter because I didn’t want to break the chain of history.”

Sudo keenly felt the need for educational reform during his student days, leading him from being a martial artist to aspiring to become a politician. He admits that he had “avoided” taking over the family business of running an izakaya since childhood.

“As I grew up and tried my hand at business, I realized how amazing my parents were at running the shop. I owe my current position to them, who protected this shop. Even while grilling yakitori and washing dishes, I had realizations. Customers choose dishes down to the last 10 yen. In reality, the daily service item priced at 380 yen is the most popular.

They say, ‘It’s cheap and appreciated.’ That’s how tough the world is. Huge slush funds of politicians are making headlines, showing how far removed they are from the feelings of ordinary people. I am also a member of the Diet. I want to cherish a grounded sense and reality in both politics and business.”

He plans to introduce new menus unique to him as a versatile trickster.

Genki Sudo is now an “old man at an izakaya” in Koto Ward, Tokyo!

Genki Sudo’s book “Tax Cuts Save the Nation” (Gentosha) is now on sale.

From the March 22, 2024 issue of FRIDAY

  • PHOTO Hiroyuki Komatsu

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