February 24, 1929|
Goheung, Jeollanam-do, Korea
|Died||October 26, 2006
Seoul, South Korea
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||Kim Il
April 2, 1995 ceremony
Kintarō Ōki (Japanese: 大木金太郎, Korean: 김일, Hanja: 金一, February 24, 1929 Jeollanam-do, South Korea (then just Korea) – October 26, 2006 Seoul, South Korea) was a professional wrestler, also known by the ring name Kim Il or KIM Il during his career in the Japan Wrestling Association, All Japan Pro Wrestling and International Pro Wrestling from the 1950s to the 1980s.
Ohki had hopes of becoming a student of Japanese wrestling legend Rikidōzan, another Korean, and entered Japan illegally in 1958 to do so, but was arrested in 1959. After being released he was able to train with Rikidōzan and joined the Japan Wrestling Association, debuting in November 1959 under his real name. On September 30, 1960, Ohki defeated fellow rookie Kanji Inoki, later Antonio Inoki, who was making his debut along with Shohei Baba, later Giant Baba. Ohki, Baba and Inoki were considered a part of a rookie trio groomed to become the eventual successors to Rikidōzan himself. Ohki was also trained by Mr. Moto and Yoshinosato.
With Rikidōzan's murder in 1963 Ohki returned to his homeland to raise the profile of professional wrestling there, but returned to the JWA when Toyonobori and Inoki left the promotion, though he returned the next year. Also in 1967 Ohki became the top star in Korea with his defeat of Mark Lewin to win the World Wrestling Association World Heavyweight Championship. With this the JWA wanted to rename him to Rikidōzan but the plan never went through.
In April 1973 the JWA closed and was absorbed into All Japan, and though he competed for the new organization for a time he wrestled mostly as a freelancer in Japan and a main event star in South Korea, famously wrestling against his former fellow rookies Inoki and Baba in 1974 and 1975. He defended the NWA International title in IPW and South Korea until ordered by the NWA to vacate it in 1981.
Since then Ohki did not compete much, with his official retirement card on April 2, 1996 held at a weekly pro-wrestling magazine sponsored show at the Tokyo Dome in Japan. Wrestling legend Lou Thesz assisted the wheelchair-bound Ohki at this, his last public appearance in Japan.
During his career Ohki also held the Far East Heavyweight title, All Asia Heavyweight and Tag Team title four times each, NWA Texas Tag Team title and NWA International Tag Team title, also four times.
Championships and accomplishments
- Korean Wrestling Association
- Far East Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- World Wrestling Association (Los Angeles)
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards
- Kang, Seung-woo (26 October 2006). "Obituary". The Korea Times.