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Kintaro Oki (1929 - 2006)

      

Real Name - Kim Il
Lifespan2/24/1929 - 10/26/2006
185cm 122kg - Seoul, South Korea

Athletic Background - Sumo

Teacher(s) - Rikidozan

Professional BackgroundJWA(`59-`63), South Korea(`63-`81), WWA(Los Angeles)(`67), JWA(`6?-`73), Dallas(`70-`71), All Japan(`73-`80), IWE(`80)

AliasesKIM Il, Kantaro Oki

Peak Years - `62-`70
  
Place in HistoryKintaro Oki is the most legendary Korean pro-wrestler of all-time.  While other pro-wrestlers of Korean lineage such as Rikidozan, Riki Choshu and Akira Maeda garner greater legacies, Oki was openly Korean and gained a popularity in his homeland that none of them did.  His story,  while not widely known, is the stuff of legend.  He illegally entered Japan to train under Rikidozan, which he did after being detained.  He debuted alongside the future legends Antonio Inoki and Giant Baba.  After several years of moderate success in the JWA, he returned to South Korea to introduce pro-wrestling.  Oki was indeed successful and his efforts culminated with a match against Mark Lewin in front of nearly 50,000 in Seoul.  While a limited brawler known mostly for his headbutt, he became a popular star in Japan after returning.  Over the next fifteen years, he would be amongst the most popular supporting characters in the JWA and later All Japan.  Internationally, he continued to be successful, including main eventing a massive show in Bangkok, Thailand in 1969 and tag runs with Mr. Moto and Pak Song as partners in the States.  Oki slowed down over time and following a run with protege Kim Duk against Giant Baba and Jumbo Tsuruta, he largely left the spotlight and quietly bowed out.  He returned for a formal retirement ceremony in 1996 that is one of the more memorable in Japanese pro-wrestling history.
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