July 13, 1967 |
Kitakatsushika (present Yoshikawa City), Japan
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||Hisako Uno
|Billed height||1.68 m (5 ft 6 in)|
|Billed weight||60 kg (130 lb)|
|Trained by||All Japan Women's Pro-Wrestling|
|Debut||May 28, 1985|
|Retired||April 7, 2002|
Born Hisako Uno, Hokuto became a professional wrestler in the wake of the enormous popularity of tag team the Crush Gals (Chigusa Nagayo and Lioness Asuka), and was responsible for organizing the Bull Nakano fanclub. She joined the AJW dojo after quitting high school.
AJW and CMLL (1985–1995)
Debuting for All Japan Women's Pro-Wrestling (AJW) shortly before her eighteenth birthday, Hokuto immediately stood out from the crowd, winning AJW's Rookie of the Year award for 1985. The next year, she won the AJW Junior Championship, and participated in AJW's Match of the Year, paired with Yukari Omari in a losing effort against Chigusa Nagayo and Yumiko Hotta in the final of the annual Tag League the Best tournament.
In 1987, Hokuto won the AJW's top tag team belt, the WWWA World Tag Team Championship paired with Yumiko Hotta. Twelve days later, however, the two lost the titles to the Red Typhoons (Kazue Nagahori and Yumi Ogura) in a two out of three falls match. During the finish of the first fall, Hokuto took a tombstone piledriver off the second rope and broke her neck. She wrestled the entirety of the second and third falls holding her head in place with her hands. This gained Hokuto a reputation for toughness.
After a year of recovery, Hokuto returned with a new persona. She had bleached her hair blonde, and now called herself "Akira Hokuto", after popular wrestler Akira Maeda. Teaming with Suzuka Minami as the Marine Wolves, she won the WWWA Tag Team belts twice more.
In 1990, Hokuto was booked to win the Japan Grand Prix, AJW's annual tournament to determine the number one contender to the top singles belt, the WWWA World Heavyweight Championship. However, she once again suffered a severe injury. During a Grand Prix match against Manami Toyota, Hokuto performed a plancha and crashed her knee into the ringside metal barrier. She tore open her knee, and was rendered unable to walk. Crying, she tied a bandage around her leg, pulled herself back into the ring, and attempted to continue the match. It was clearly impossible, however, and she was removed from the tournament. Hokuto returned to singles competition during the early 1990s. She won the All Pacific Championship in 1991 and 1992, and sustained many more injuries. She earned the nickname 'the Mummy' since she so often came to the ring wrapped in bandages.
The year 1993 is considered by many to be the best year of her career. She feuded with Shinobu Kandori of the LLPW promotion during the inter-promotional period, where the major promotions active in women's wrestling in Japan at the time combined to run shows with dream match-ups that attracted some of the largest cards in history. At Dreamslam I on April 2, 1993, Hokuto defeated Kandori, which was given a perfect five-star rating by Dave Meltzer and is considered by some to be the greatest women's match in history.
Hokuto was subsequently defeated by Kandori in a tag match at Dreamslam II nine days later and in a singles match in December of that year. Also in 1993 she won the Japan Grand Prix and was granted another shot at the WWWA Championship, against champion Aja Kong on October 9. Hokuto was again injured in August of that year, and requested that the match be made a non-title match, since she felt wrestling in her injured state would insult the prestige of the belt.
Later that year, having married Mexican wrestler Antonio Gómez Medina who worked as "Máscara Mágica", Hokuto moved to Mexico. She continued her career in her new home, adopting the persona "Reina Jabuki"". On July 30, 1994, she defeated La Diabólica for the CMLL World Women's Championship, and carried it for over two years. Later that year, having divorced her first husband and returned to Japan, she defeated Aja Kong in the final of the interpromotional V*Top Woman Tournament at the Big Egg Wrestling Universe event, which drew a gate of 42,500 to the Tokyo Dome. Hokuto had one her last great matches for AJW on September 2, 1995, losing a thrilling 21-minute battle against Manami Toyota.
World Championship Wrestling (1995–1997)
On November 26, 1995, Hokuto made her U.S. debut at the WCW World War 3 pay-per-view event. Managed by Sonny Onoo, she teamed with Bull Nakano and defeated the team of Cutie Suzuki and Mayumi Ozaki. The same teams competed in a match on Monday Night Nitro the following night, with Hokuto and Nakano winning again.
Hokuto and several other GAEA wrestlers, including Chigusa Nagayo, KAORU, Meiko Satomura, and Sonoko Kato, came to America to compete in a tournament to crown the first WCW Women's Champion. Hokuto competed in the first round of the tournament twice, using both the Akira Hokuto and Reina Jabuki gimmicks. As Reina Jabuki, she lost in the first round to Madusa Miceli. Due to this TV appearance, she was stripped of the CMLL title. As Akira Hokuto, she won the tournament, defeating Madusa in the finals, held at WCW's Starrcade on December 29, 1996 in Nashville, Tennessee. Hokuto later defeated Madusa at WCW's Great American Bash on June 15, 1997, a match where Madusa was forced to 'retire' due to a stipulation. This was the last time Hokuto ever appeared in WCW and the Women's Championship was apparently dropped, as it was never defended or mentioned again. This made her the only WCW Women's Champion.
In 1996, she left AJW and joined Chigusa Nagayo's new promotion, GAEA Japan. Unlike most Japanese women wrestlers, who retire when they marry and start a family, she returned to the ring in 1999 and won GAEA's AAAW Tag Team Championship in 2000 with Mayumi Ozaki. The year 2000 also saw her induction into the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame in recognition of her skill and contributions.
For her retirement match on April 7, 2002, Hokuto teamed up with Meiko Satomura to face Ayako Hamada and Chigusa Nagayo. Hokuto was wrestling with a broken rib, but, just as she had done so many times before, she defied the pain, and scored the pin on Hamada with the Northern Lights Bomb. In the post-match retirement ceremony, some of Hokuto's colleagues entered the ring, gave her flowers, hugged her, and bowed to her. She even slapped a few of them, including Satomura, and Sakura Hirota (slapping is considered a way to transfer part of her fighting spirit). This was followed by a ten-gong salute before Hokuto was showered with streamers. She then walked up the walkway where she was met by husband Kensuke Sasaki and their son.
While retired from active competition, Hokuto has stayed busy raising her family, helping her husband Kensuke run his Kensuke Office/Diamond Ring promotion, and making occasional appearances on Japanese radio and television. She has also made occasional wrestling-related appearances, including serving as the figurehead chief executive officer of Hawaii Championship Wrestling for a period of time during a Japan vs. Hawaii feud, engaged in several squash matches against comedy wrestler Stalker Ichikawa, and becoming the first woman to appear in a match in All Japan Pro Wrestling, against Kendo Ka Shin, a match that Hokuto won in just 3 minutes with the aid of outside interference.
Kensuke Sasaki and Akira Hokuto were voted one of Japan's leading celebrity couples in 2006. Hokuto has also assisted her husband in various publicity and charitable activities in his position as Japan's Friendship Ambassador to Fiji for the year 2007.
She has made various media appearances as a "mother celebrity". In 2010, for example, she appeared in a television commercial for "Mama Gohan" (lit. "Mama Meal"), a co-product by Ajinomoto and popular women's magazine I Love Mama, along with three female gyaru-mother models.
Hokuto married Kensuke Sasaki on October 1, 1995, after Sasaki proposed to her on their first date. Hokuto became pregnant in early 1998 and gave birth to her first son, Kennosuke on November 6, 1998. Hokuto gave birth to her second son, Seinosuke in March 2003. In addition to their two biological children, Hokuto and Kensuke have formed a very strong, almost parental bond with Kensuke's protégé Katsuhiko Nakajima.
- Finishing moves
- Signature moves
- Corner foot choke
- Elevated chinlock
- Fallaway powerbomb
- Missile dropkick
- Multiple suplex variations
- Moolah Whip
- Shin breaker
- Spike piledriver
- Spin kick
- Two-handed chokelift
Championships and accomplishments
- All Japan Women's Pro-Wrestling
- AJW Junior Championship (1 time)
- All Pacific Championship (2 times)
- WWWA World Tag Team Championship (4 times) - with Yumiko Hotta (1), Suzuka Minami (2) and Mima Shimoda (1)
- Japan Grand Prix (1993)
- Tag League the Best (1988) – with Mika Suzuki
- Tag League the Best (1993) – with Manami Toyota
- AJW Hall of Fame (1998)
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards
- 5 Star Match (1991) vs. Bull Nakano on January 4
- 5 Star Match (1993) vs. Shinobu Kandori on April 2
- 5 Star Match (1993) with Manami Toyota vs. Kyoko Inoue and Toshiyo Yamada on December 10
- 5 Star Match (1995) vs. Manami Toyota on September 2
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame (Class of 2000)
- "Akira Hokuto profile". Online World of Wrestling. Archived from the original on 26 June 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-16.
- "Profile at Kensuke Office". Archived from the original on 7 June 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-16.
- "James Phillips' Japanese Women Wrestlers Website". Archived from the original on 3 July 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-16.
- "Akira Hokuto Profile at Wrestling101". Retrieved 2007-06-16.
- "Dave Meltzer's Five-Star Match List". Archived from the original on 2009-10-24. Retrieved 2007-06-16.
- "WCW Reports for Television and PPV for 1995". Archived from the original on 1 July 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-16.
- "History of WCW Title Tournaments". Retrieved 2007-06-16.
- "WCW Reports for Television and PPV for 1996". Archived from the original on 1 July 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-16.
- "WCW Reports for Television and PPV for 1997". Archived from the original on 1 July 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-16.
- "Kensuke Sasaki Appointed as Friendship Ambassador to Fiji". Retrieved 2007-06-16.
- "Akira Hokuto Donates School Supplies to Fiji". Retrieved 2007-06-16.
- "Popular gyaru-mama model & Akira Hokuto support mama's cooking", 16 June 2010, Model Press (Japanese)
- World Championship Wrestling, TNT (1997-06-09). "Malia Hosaka Vs Akira Hokuto(c) with Sonny Onoo". WCW Monday Nitro.
- World Championship Wrestling (1997-06-15). "Title Vs Career Match; Akira Hokuto(c) with Sonny Onoo Vs Madusa". WCW Great American Bash.
- World Championship Wrestling (1997-04-06). "Akira Hokuto(c) with Sonny Onoo Vs Madusa". WCW Spring Stampede.
- "The Best Tag Team League 1988". Pro Wrestling History. Retrieved 2013-03-28.
- "The Best Tag Team League 1993". Pro Wrestling History. Retrieved 2013-03-28.
- "All Japan Women's Pro-Wrestling Hall of Fame". Puroresu Dojo. 2003. Archived from the original on 12 November 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-09.
- 東京スポーツ プロレス大賞. Tokyo Sports (in Japanese). Retrieved 2014-01-20.