Kintarō Ōki

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Kintarō Ōki
Kintarō Ōki in 1962
Birth nameKim Tae-sik
Born(1929-02-24)February 24, 1929
Goheung, Jeollanam-do, Japanese Korea
DiedOctober 26, 2006(2006-10-26) (aged 77)
Seoul, South Korea
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)Kim Il
Kintarō Kongo
Kintarō Ōki
Tetsurō Sato
Billed height185 cm (6 ft 1 in)[1]
Billed weight120 kg (265 lb)[1]
Trained byRikidōzan[1]
Mr. Moto[1]
Yoshino Sato[1]
DebutNovember 1959[1]

Kim Tae-sik (February 24, 1929 – October 26, 2006) was a South Korean professional wrestler and Ssireum player, better known by the ring names Kintarō Ōki (Japanese: 大木金太郎) and Kim Il (Korean: 김일; Hanja: 金一). His professional wrestling career spanned from the late-1950s to the early-1980s.[2]

Professional wrestling career[edit]

Kim was originally a Ssireum player, but he had hopes of becoming a student of Japanese wrestling legend Rikidōzan, another Korean. He 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 (JWA).

Kim debuted in November 1959 under the ring name "Kintarō Ōki". On September 30, 1960, Ōki defeated fellow rookie Kanji Inoki (later Antonio Inoki), who was making his debut along with Shohei Baba (later Giant Baba). Ōki, Baba and Inoki were a rookie trio groomed to become the eventual successors to Rikidōzan himself. Ohki was also trained by Mr. Moto and Yoshino Sato.[3]

Upon Rikidōzan's murder in 1963, Ōki returned to his homeland to raise the profile of professional wrestling there. In 1964 and 1965 he went to Texas, where he competed for Big Time Wrestling in Dallas as "Kintarō Ōki" and for Dory Funk's Western States Sports promotion in Amarillo as "Tetsurō Sato". He'd return to Amarillo in 1970 under the ring name "Kim Il", along with another Dallas tour.

In 1964, Ōki faced NWA World Heavyweight Champion Lou Thesz in what turned into a legitimate shoot contest. Originally scheduled for three falls, Ōki shot on Thesz in the first round. Ōki's move to shoot on Thesz ended things fast, as Thesz wounded him to the point that Ōki was stretchered off.[4]

After a brief JWA return in 1964 as "Kintarō Kongo", Ōki returned to the JWA when Toyonobori and Inoki left the promotion, though he returned the next year. In 1967, Ōki became the top star in Korea with his defeat of Mark Lewin to win the Worldwide Wrestling Associates World Heavyweight Championship. With this, the JWA wanted to rename him to "Rikidōzan", but the plan never went through.[3]

Ōki trained Kim Duk, who debuted in 1968.[5] The duo went on to team together, winning the NWA International Tag Team Championship twice and several awards.

Inoki and Baba left the JWA in 1972 to found the All Japan Pro Wrestling and New Japan Pro-Wrestling promotions respectively in 1972, letting Ōki become the JWA's top star, winning the NWA International Heavyweight Championship.

In April 1973, the JWA closed and was absorbed into All Japan Pro Wrestling, and though Ōki 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 Heavyweight Championship in International Wrestling Enterprise and South Korea until ordered by the NWA to vacate it in 1981.[3]

Following then Ōki did not compete much, with his official retirement card on April 2, 1995, held at a Weekly Pro-Wrestling magazine sponsored show at the Tokyo Dome in Japan. Wrestling legend Lou Thesz assisted Ōki at this, his last public appearance in Japan; Ōki was in a wheelchair at this time.

During his career Ōki also held the Far East Heavyweight Championship, All Asia Heavyweight Championship, and All Asia Tag Team Championship four times each, the NWA Texas Tag Team Championship four times, and the NWA International Tag Team Championship four times.[3]


Ōki died in the Eulji General Hospital in Seoul on October 26, 2006, of a heart attack brought on by chronic kidney disease and kidney failure.[6] In 2020, he was reburied in the Daejeon National Cemetery with the approval of the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs.[7]

Professional wrestling style and persona[edit]

Ōki's finishing moves were a headbutt and a figure-four leglock.[1][5][7]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

  • Korean Wrestling Association
    • Far East Heavyweight Championship (1 time)


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Kreikenbohm, Philip. "Kintaro Oki". Retrieved 11 August 2023.
  2. ^ 박치기왕 임종 이틀 전…“내 머릿속 큰 돌멩이 좀 빼줘” (in Korean). 7 January 2018. Retrieved 28 January 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d "Kintaro Ohki". Puroresu Dojo.
  4. ^ Lutzke, Andrew (30 December 2014). "When S*it got Real: Incidents of Pro Wrestling becoming a "Shoot" Vol. 4". Culture Crossfire. Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  5. ^ a b Saalbach, Axel. "Kintaro Oki". Retrieved 24 August 2023.
  6. ^ Kang, Seung-woo (26 October 2006). "Obituary". The Korea Times. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016.
  7. ^ a b c Boram, Kim. "Late S. Korean pro wrestler Kim Il to be buried in nat'l cemetery". Yonhap News Agency. Retrieved 24 August 2023.
  8. ^ "Champion Carnival 1976". (in German). Archived from the original on 25 September 2022. Retrieved 3 March 2023.
  9. ^ "Open Tag League 1977 « Tournaments Database « CAGEMATCH - The Internet Wrestling Database". Archived from the original on 9 August 2020.
  10. ^ "Real World Tag League 1978". (in German). December 1978. Archived from the original on 7 April 2022. Retrieved 3 March 2023.
  11. ^ "Real World Tag League 1979". (in German). Archived from the original on 3 March 2023. Retrieved 3 March 2023.
  12. ^ Will, Gary; Duncan, Royal (2000). "Texas: NWA Texas Tag Team Title [Von Erich]". Wrestling Title Histories: professional wrestling champions around the world from the 19th century to the present. Pennsylvania: Archeus Communications. pp. 275–276. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
  13. ^ "NWA Texas Tag Team Title [E. Texas]". Retrieved 27 December 2019.
  14. ^ "東京スポーツ プロレス大賞:選考経過(1974~1979)". Tokyo Sports (in Japanese). Retrieved 14 December 2017.

External links[edit]