Famous People in Japan

Fujinami Tatsumi

Date of Birth 28 December 1953
Place of Birth Oita

Tatsumi Fujinami is a famous wrestler and he was very popular ten years ago. His rival was Riki Choshu and their struggle pleased many people.

Tatsumi Fujinami entered the New Japan Pro Wrestling organization after he graduated from junior high school. He respected Antonio Inoki and was apprenticed to him. After training for several years, he fought in some matches. Then he went to America. In America, he got the WWWF Junior Heavy class champion belt in 1978. He also won the NWA Inter Junior Heavy class champion belt in 1980. As a result, he became a wrestler who had a great future ahead of him. It seemed that he came from nowhere to somewhere close to the top. However, one man challenged him. That man was Riki Choshu.

Riki Choshu is of the same generation of wrestlers as Tatsumi Funinami. However, he was better than Fujinami because he took part in Olympic games on the Japanese national wrestling team. He entered the New Japan Pro Wrestling organization with fanfare. However, after some years the tables were turned. As a result, Riki Choshu tried to recover his position by challenging Tatsumi Funinami. They fought hard and every struggle became keener. Finally, Riki Choshu wrested his title from Fujinami and their struggles were over. Riki Choshu then left the New Japan Pro Wrestling organization.

After Choshu left, Fujinami aimed at a generation shift. To achieve it, he had to surpass his wrestling master Antonio Inoki. He challenged him many times, but he could not win him easily. Yet, an opportunity came, for Inoki relinquished his title because of an injury. Fujinami made a bid for the title and got it and raised his position further. Unfortunately, his back was hurt during a match. As a result he had to stop his wrestling activity for a long time to recover. While Fujinami had his back treated, Choshu, who came back to the New Japan Pro Wrestling organization again, became a central figure. After a time, he became the second strongest wrestler.

In January this year, Riki Choshu and Antonio Inoki, who are the same generation's wrestler, retired. Tatsumi Fujinami is also 45 years old and this is the downhill part in the career of a wrestler. Young wrestlers are aiming to achieve a generation shift as he did previously. Fujinami is still a heavy class champion of the New Japan Pro Wrestling organization. He defeated the young hopeful wrestler, Shinya Hashimoto, in June and is still defending his title .

I have been a fan of his since I watched him on TV in my childhood. I would like him to continue to wrestle as long as possible.

Reported by: Hayashi Hirotomo
Data verified by: Tokida Noriaki
Date of Report: July 1998

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