Japanese Wrestling Companies Unite In Effort To Compensate Their Employees During The Pandemic

Japanese Wrestling Hiroshi Tanahashi

Photo by New Japan Pro-Wrestling/Getty Images

The promotions in  Japanese wrestling have united together to protect their employees during the global pandemic, including its wrestlers.

New Japan Pro-Wrestling, Pro Wrestling NOA, Stardom, All Japan, DDT, Pro Wrestling Diana and Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling met up with legend Hiroshi Hase and the Japanese Minister of Education, Culture, Sports Science and Technology to discuss what can be done to protect it’s employees financially as the country deals with a halt on running live events.

A joint proposal was made on behalf of the eight companies to have COVID-19 testing kits available to it’s talent if the supply initially meets the needs of the individual taking the virus head-on. In addition to that the promotions asked the Japanese government for assistance to help their employees that find themselves not garnering any income due to live entertainment being shut down. Hase as the spokesman for Japanese wrestling stated the following:

“Thank you to the representatives of the professional wrestling industry for sharing their plight, as well as to for the explanations from official bodies today. There are measures we can enact to assist enterprises, promotions and wrestlers during these times, and I would like to continue to discuss them further. This situation will not last forever. Speedy and accurate testing, effective treatment and medicinal development are all things the whole world is working together on. Professional wrestling has a huge and very important role in raising the flag of victory over COVID-19. I ask all staff members and all wrestlers to keep working to be in the best shape possible to spread joy to the fans with incredible matches very soon.”

Also in attendance happened to be be Hiroshi Tanahashi who stated that pro wrestling should be the last of the sports to return to live action:

“While events have been canceled, our wrestlers have been training diligently and maintaining their focus for an eventual return,” he said. “Yes, not being able to wrestle does make a lot of us concerned for our livelihoods, but in the world of sports, be that baseball, soccer or sumo, I feel that professional wrestling should be the anchor. I think it should be acceptable for professional wrestling to be the last sport to return to full activity. I want people to know that when professional wrestling is back, then and only then, it means truly that Japanese entertainment has property recovered.”

The EVP of Pro Wrestling NOAH Global Entertainment Naomichi Marufuji stated that it will also be the parent companies of the promotions feeling the effects and that this isn’t just a national problem for wrestling, but a global problem.

“If we don’t bring in revenues, they can’t pay us either,” he said.”

“We are not running any shows right now. We would like to create a new structure, such as running pay shows on social media, where we can bring in money into the company o we can get paid, our staff can get paid, the company can make money.”

The full list of the attendees are below:

List of attendees

  • Hiroshi Hase (lower house minister, Liberal Democratic Party)
  • Sports Board, Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry Representative (unnamed)
  • Takaaki Kidani (Company director, Bushiroad Group)
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi (New Japan Pro-Wrestling)
  • Naoki Sugabayashi (Chairman, New Japan Pro-Wrestling)
  • Suwama (All Japan Pro-Wrestling)
  • Takenori Fukuda (Representative Director, All Japan Pro-Wrestling)
  • HARASHIMA (DDT Pro-Wrestling)
  • Akira Takahashi (Operating Executive, DDT Pro-Wrestling)
  • Naomichi Marufuji (Executive Vice President, NOAH Global Entertainment)
  • Masashi Ishiguro (Head of Public Relations, NOAH Global Entertainment)
  • Mayu Iwatani (STARDOM)
  • Katsuhiko Harada (Representative Director, Bushiroad Fight)
  • Yuka Sakazaki (Tokyo Joshi Pro-Wrestling)
  • Tetsuya Kouda (Representative, Tokyo Joshi Pro-Wrestling)
  • Kyoko Inoue (World Women’s Wrestling Diana)
  • Taishi Fuwa (World Women’s Wrestling Diana)