This paper documents the important role of Western-style professional wrestling in the popular culture of Japan, focusing on the early years in which it was established, 1953-1963. These were also the years in which television achieved its phenomenal growth, and the symbiotic relationship between the “sport” and the medium is explored. The star of professional wrestling in Japan during these years was the former sumo wrestler Rikidôzan. He faced a steady stream of foreign wrestlers, mainly from America. The fact that he was actually of Korean origins was a well kept secret. It is shown that the great popularity of professional wrestling in Japan is related to its embracing of a powerful theme: Japan against the world, the West, America.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Sociology and Political Science