Masked wrestler enters assembly ring

Kyodo

The Great Sasuke attended the Iwate Prefectural Assembly on Tuesday for the first time since he was elected late last month, and already his mask is causing a stir.

The assembly plans to hold a meeting of its steering committee Wednesday afternoon to discuss whether it should take action or express an opinion about the mask worn by the 33-year-old wrestler, whose real name is Masanori Murakawa, assembly members said.

Murakawa wore a new dark-colored mask with the prefectural emblem. He had it made to replace the flashy masks he usually wears in the ring, to show respect for the assembly.

Iwate Gov. Hiroya Masuda earlier expressed opposition to Murakawa’s plan to wear a mask at the assembly, saying voters judge politicians by seeing their faces.

But Masuda backtracked after Murakawa said he would make the new mask, which shows more of his face than the old version.

Murakawa campaigned under his ring name wearing a mask. After being elected, he said revealing his real face would be a breach of his policy pledges.

The prefectural branch of the Liberal Democratic Party has expressed opposition to allowing someone hiding his face to attend the assembly.

There is no rule in the assembly prohibiting a member from taking part in a session wearing a mask. But there are rules stipulating that members must respect the dignity of the chamber.

Backed by the Liberal Party, Murakawa received 16,286 votes, the most of any candidate in the Morioka constituency, in the April 27 election.

He established the first local wrestling game organizer in Japan, Michinoku Pro Wrestling (Northeastern Wrestling), in 1993.