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Oki Shikina (1904-1983)

Real Name - Oki Shikina?

5'8" 210 lbs. - Honolulu, HI

Athletic BackgroundOkinawan Sumo, Judo, Karate, Boxing

Teacher(s) - Taro Miyake

Professional Background - none

Aliases - none

Peak Years - 1930s

Place in HistoryOki Shikina was one of the earliest Japanese pro-wrestling stars. While judoka-turned-pro Taro Miyake predated him, Shikina wrestled bigger stars during his prime in California. He grew up in the Hawaiian islands, competing in sumo. It was through this connection that he met Miyake and decided to relocate to New York City to become a pro wrestler in 1929. Though he was large amongst Japanese athletes, Shikina was small among the American and European grunt-and-groaners of the 1930s. He eventually headed back to the Pacific Coast and established himself strongly. Shikina frequently battled top notch heavyweights and stunned them with his foreign techniques. It was there he made a name for himself using his submission skill in battles with the likes of "Strangler" Lewis and Jim Londos. He strangled opponents with his "Oki Choki" chokehold and disabled them with his various nerve holds. Another innovation was Shikina's "judo jacket" matches, which often gave him an upper hand on larger foes. He was working the Japanese foreign menace gimmick in the 1930s, before World War II, before Japanese heels became staples in the American pro-wrestling scene and before pro-wrestling even caught on in Japan. After his prime, Shikina returned to Hawaii and opened a gym. One of his first turn-outs was puroresu legend Rikidozan, who paid him back by giving him a referee gig for years in the JWA.