Move over Dennis Rodman–it looks like you’ve got a serious Japanese successor for all of your sports diplomacy. North Korea’s state news agency announced on May 19 that Japan’s Antonio Inoki, a retired Japanese professional wrestler, will be teaming up with officials in the reclusive totalitarian state to host an international professional wrestling tournament in Pyongyang this August. The tournament will also include athletes from two nations that have never participated in a wrestling event in North Korea under Kim Jong-un’s leadership. Find out how all this came to be after the jump.

According to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), Antionio Inoki will collaborate with North Korean officials to host an international pro wrestling tournament in Pyongyang in August of this year. Inoki is a former pro wrestler himself and currently serves in the House of Councillors (the upper house of the National Diet of Japan) as a member of the Japan Restoration Party.

Inoki had visited North Korea in January of this year and met with the Workers’ Party of Korea’s Secretary Kim Yong-il, who is in charge of international affairs. The two discussed the idea of holding an international sports event in Pyongyang later this year. Inoki’s connection to North Korea runs deep, as he was the student of the “Father of Pro Wrestling” Rikidozan, also known as Mitsuhiro Momota. Rikidozan originally immigrated to Japan from what is now North Korea to become a sumo wrestler, but eventually became involved in professional wrestling after 1950. In addition, this is not the first time that Inoki has dabbled in sports diplomacy; he was also involved in organizing a similar wrestling event in North Korea in 1995. But this year, Japanese and American pro wrestlers are expected to be allowed to compete for the first time ever under Kim Jong-un.

With that news, we can’t help but wonder if any of these Japanese pretty boy wrestlers will be competing…and how the North Koreans would react to them. Regardless, they should get rid of that flower background first…

▼Also, Kim Jong-un and Dennis Rodman in the upcoming Glorious Leader! video game. Maybe they’ll have to add in a sprite for Inoki, too!


Source: NHK News Web
Images: YouTube, Moneyhorse