Akira Hokuto – Lonely at the Top

If there’s a royal family of Japanese pro wrestling, Akira Hokuto is the Queen. Her career is filled with legendary matches, iconic moments, and historical achievements.

Since 1995, she has been married to Kensuke Sasaki, one of the most decorated champions in puroresu.

In addition to their two sons, they helped train a group of young wrestlers who would go on to rule the modern landscape: Masa Kitamiya, Kento Miyahara, and Katsuhiko Nakajima.

And through their eldest child, married to joshi wrestler Rin Kadokura, they welcomed their first grandchild in 2023.

For being one of the greatest wrestlers to ever live, nowadays Akira Hokuto has shed the aura of the black lipstick badass and bears the image of a happy housewife. She has a Youtube channel, a few lifestyle books published, and an ever present smile on her face.

People don’t often think of legends before they were iconic. Before she was a grandmother, or a mother, or a wife, or even a wrestler, there once was a lonely young girl named Hisako Uno who questioned everything about her very existence.

Akira Hokuto Cards | Trading Card Database
(Photo: Akira Hokuto – 2003 BBM Trading Card)

Akira Hokuto: No Regrets for Our Youth

Aoi sanmyaku (1949) - IMDb
(Photo: IMDB: Aoi Sanmyaku, 1949 – A film about young women challenging rural values)

On July 13, 1967, Akira Hokuto was born as part of the Shinjinrui. The so-called “new breed” was a generation that did not personally know the horrors of World War II, the struggles of postwar shortages, nor the humiliation of the American occupation.

They grew up with television in their homes and pop culture in their lives. Japan’s past was behind them, and a wide-open future was theirs to create.

The child who would become famous as Akira Hokuto was born as Hisako Uno in a long line of farmers from Saitama prefecture, a rural area outside of Tokyo.

In her autobiography, she believes that the bitter memories of her childhood are more vivid than the happier times. The story of her name is how the first chapter opens.

Her mother Matsue was 18 years old when she married the eldest son of the Uno family, Seiichi, and the birth of Hisako’s older sister was celebrated as the first grandchild of a new generation.

When Hisako was born two years later, her grandparents and great-grandparents were not as thrilled. An old farming family needed a male heir, not a second daughter.

The way she tells it is that there was so much strife, that her mother went straight from the hospital to live with her own parents for a month.

With her baby seen as unnecessary and unwanted, Matsue named her “Hisako” after a childhood friend who was said to be smart, beautiful, and loved by everyone.

(Photo: The Leader-Post, 1954 – “Sadako Igari draws a yelp of pain from Hiroe Hojoji.”)

As Matsue felt friction with her mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law, it’s important to realize how much the place of women was changing in Japan. The strict, patriarchal society that the elders would have grown up in was changing.

After the destruction of the war, the nation was being remade in a Western image. Women were given the right to vote in 1945 and joined the workforce in greater numbers to contribute to what would become a miraculous economic recovery. 

In 1948, Japanese women participated in wrestling years before Rikidozan made it big. The forgotten names of Sadako Igari, Katsumi Tayama, and Hiroe Hojoji grappled over garter belts to entertain soldiers in vaudeville shows promoted by Igari’s brothers.

One of the few anecdotes that survived this unrecorded era was that Sadako was hospitalized when a young Japanese man threw a milk bottle at her head during a match. He said he did not appreciate that she was being so rough and mean.

In November 1954, with the likes of Godzilla and Rikidozan changing popular culture, the most famous female wrestler in the world, Mildred Burke, came to visit Japan for an all women’s tour.

The joshi pioneers like Sadako Igari were involved with these shows, which led to a boom in homegrown women’s promotions rising up.

Perhaps in part due to the fractured landscape, as opposed to the singularity of Rikidozan’s JWA, the craze of joshi wrestling died down around the turn of the decade. The industry ebbs and flows in every era and territory.

Akira Hokuto: House

(Photo: Criterion – House, 1977 – A film about young women visiting a haunted house)

Akira Hokuto recalls her childhood as lonely, growing up in the riverside town of Yoshikawa during the 1970s. According to her book, she felt like her older sister was treated as the favorite child while she remained as the disappointment.

Kyoko was quiet and nice. Hisako experimented on dolls. Add a third baby sister and the family dynamics become even more familiar.

The person she describes as the most kind to her was her grandfather. Always giving gifts. Never scolding. But something seemed off about him.

One day, the young girl asked the taboo question: why does grandpa look so much younger than grandma? The secret was out. Her paternal grandmother had indeed married her biological grandfather, but that man was killed in the war.

A wife’s status back then was weak, let alone being a widow with two young children. A levirate marriage is custom in many cultures, including Japan, so her grandmother was remarried to the youngest Uno brother, a recent junior high school graduate 15 years her junior.

On June 4, 1968, All Japan Women’s Pro Wrestling was formed by the Matsunaga brothers as a 2nd attempt to organize the scene under one roof.

By 1972, an article from Inside Wrestling magazine chronicled that “girl wrestling” (as it had always been called in English, with the term “joshi wrestling” being a literal translation) was beginning to emerge from the shadows.

Two decades old and women’s wrestling was still seen as dishonorable and unladylike, especially by the older generation.

(Photo: Wrestling Revue magazine, October 1973)

But these young women disagreed with their parents. For they had come of age under Americanization, student protests, and the radical 1960s. They wanted a life of excitement, rather than just being an office secretary.

Although AJW was broadcast on TV, it was still not covered by the press very much or received by the public with respect.

“You know Japanese women have this tradition of being fragile and gentle and sweet,” one joshi wrestler explained.

“But we’re not all like that. Some people think we’re still living in the 18th century.”

– Inside Wrestling magazine, September 1972

It would only be a few years later that another wave of popularity struck. And as usual in the history of this industry, it took one breakout star to burst the dam.

Mach Fumiake, a tall multi-talented teenager, captured the public’s attention from atop the foundation of those such as Aiko Kyo, Jumbo Miyamoto, and Miyoko Hoshino, among many others.

Though she only spent three years in the business before becoming a mainstream actress; the era of singing, dancing, and beauty had begun.

Akira Hokuto: Female Prisoner Scorpion

Sukeban Deka II: Shôjo tekkamen densetsu (TV Series 1985–1986) - IMDb
(Photo: IMDB – Sukeban Deka, a 1980s franchise about young women fighting crime)

Hisako Uno had never been a studious child. And by the time her teenage years came, she realized just how physical she had become.

Walking and biking to school in her rural town over vast distances helped her develop an athletic form, Akira Hokuto believes in retrospect. And by the time she entered junior high, the sukeban subculture had swept up the nation’s youth.

Girl gangs and badass women became popular in the media, reflecting the age-old relationship between art and life.

For young Hisako, who thought she could never excel with brains or beauty, a world where she could rise to the top through toughness was one she embraced.

Like any fad, her days of pulling hair to win cigarettes lasted only a year or two. But her spirit of competition had awakened. She had been participating in track and field before switching to softball because a boy she liked played baseball.

Though the crush didn’t work out, her speed and athleticism made her a demon on the diamond. She helped lead her school to success and received some consideration from scouts.

Without having to worry about rigorous high school entrance exams, she accepted the offer to be a softball player.

Red-Hot Youth (1977) - IMDb
(Photo: IMDB – Red Hot Youth, 1977 – a film starring and about the Beauty Pair wrestlers)

Akira Hokuto attended an all girls high school in Tokyo that required her to wake up before sunrise and take a 2 hour train just to make softball practice before class.

Without any of her old friends going with her, the loneliness found her once again in the big city. Expectations weighed heavy on her young shoulders.

The difficult training left her injured during that first year, allowing her more free time. She and her classmates would hangout after school: talking, shopping, smoking.

One of her friends didn’t like such seedy places, and suggested they go somewhere even more fun than the disco: a place called Korakuen Hall.

A golden age of joshi wrestling was happening from the late 70s into the early 80s. After Mach Fumiake, the Beauty Pair of Jackie Sato and Maki Ueda stoked the fires of popularity for tag team wrestling.

Golden Pair. Black Pair. Queen Angels. The camaraderie between partners extended to the young women in the crowd and created an atmosphere unlike any other.

Legions of teenage girls would attend the shows, cheering and yelling for their favorites like they were popstars. The sheer decibel count remains unmatched.

It took some convincing before Hisako went to see her first match. Wrestling was not something her circle of friends talked about. Her older sister Kyoko had been a fan, with a New Japan poster hanging in their home.

She caught Hisako looking at it one day and taught her the names and characters. There was Antonio Inoki, the founder of NJPW. There was Kyoko’s favorite Riki Choshu.

And there was one the boys from school used to say Hisako looked like. The wrestler Kyoko hates the most: Akira Maeda.

(Photo: Weekly Pro Wrestling – Akira Maeda fights through a submission, May 1988)

The way Akira Hokuto reflects on this summer night in 1983 is magical. She was scared at first, but once the crowd’s voices crescendoed into one wave, she surrendered herself to the atmosphere.

Everyone was united around pro wrestling. The main event was a tag match with Akira Maeda and Riki Choshu on opposite sides. Their auras made them stars.

Choshu had Maeda in the Sasori-gatame and Hisako wondered why this man wouldn’t quit. The image of his face, gritted teeth to fight through the pain, was burned in her heart. 

The two friends continued to watch wrestling whenever they could. AJW rookie Bull Nakano seemed to catch Hisako’s eye and made her a fan. They would even stop by the New Japan Dojo in hopes of seeing their favorites outside.

As her focus on softball waned, so did her motivation to attend high school. Losing out on her prospective career, the fear of becoming a dropout, and renewed anxiety about the circumstances of her birth weighed heavy on Hisako’s mind. But her obsession with Akira Maeda gave her the fighting spirit.

A chance meeting with Kuniaki Kobayashi outside the NJPW Dojo sparked her idea to become a wrestler. He commented that the taller than average Hisako had a body for the business.

Her friend helped her with the research. All Japan Women held tryouts every January, but the date in 1984 had just passed.

Instead, she could pay to train at the dojo and take the test next year. Her plan was set. All she had to do was tell her family and officially withdraw from school. Out of everyone, it was her beloved grandfather who was most upset.

The argument became physical and would become one of her deepest regrets. She had already signed up when she told them and, at 16 years old, changed her life forever.

Akira Hokuto: Grave of the Fireflies

Crush Gals – 東京爆発娘! (1985, Vinyl) - Discogs
(Photo: A Crush Gals vinyl single, August 1985)

All Japan Women in 1985 was at a peak. The Crush Gals and Jumping Bomb Angels were megastars. Jaguar Yakota and Devil Masami were champions.

And the dojo was about to produce a number of legendary talents in the next few years. On January 15th, the company held its annual audition, testing 700 young women out of 35000 applicants.

It was a miracle that Hisako Uno even made it to the office that day and became one of the ten who passed.

Of the friends she had made training every Saturday, she was the only one who was accepted. There had been something unifying about that group of misfits: the dropouts and the dreamers.

It rained the day she moved out of her childhood home and into the AJW dormitory. Her life soon became consumed with the duties of a trainee. To clean, to practice, and to do whatever she was told by her teachers and elders.

After a year of working at a convenience store to pay for her lessons, Hisako was once again surrounded by people her own age.

New friends, rivals, and senpai formed the kind of educational environment where she could thrive.

The ups and downs of her experience would crater in May when a fellow trainee she considered a friend collapsed and died at the age of 15. Akira Hokuto blamed herself for not recognizing her failing health.

The fear of flunking out of the dojo if one could not meet the standards was a real danger. Hisako made her wrestling debut in June after a few months of exhibitions.

Though she progressed well enough, she also compared herself to her classmates. Yumiko Hotta had a karate background.

Akemi Sakamoto, who beat her in the finals of the December rookie tournament, was so much more physically imposing. But even still, Hisako Uno was awarded the AJW Rookie of the Year for 1985.

(Photo: Hisako Uno vs Akemi Sakamoto – December 12, 1985)

1986 brought a new host of challenges. Now that she had become a wrestler, what followed was the process of gaining fans and going after titles.

Another rookie class was coming in to try and outrace her, a group which included a young Aja Kong. In March, Hisako Uno won the AJW Junior championship and lost it a few months later.

Later she teamed with a respected senpai Yukari Omori in the round robin tournament called Tag League The Best. They lost in the finals: which ended up being chosen as the AJW Match of the Year.

1987 changed everything. Hisako and classmate Yumiko Hotta were made into a team, hyped up as being the second coming of the Crush Gals.

In April they ran through a gauntlet of other duos and won the WWWA Tag Team titles in a bloody match. The fact that these inexperienced girls had gained these old, prestigious championships did not sit well with some.

Akira Hokuto recalls a divided locker room, nasty rumors, and schoolyard bullying in the next few days. She persevered for the sake of her parents, but the tears could not be dammed.  

She ran away from the tour and considered quitting pro wrestling altogether. 12 days after winning the titles, she returned to drop them, if only doing it for Yumiko Hotta.

They faced the Red Typhoons in a two out of three falls match. In the closing of the first fall, Hisako was hit with a tombstone piledriver from the 2nd rope, and her neck was broken.

While the tension in the locker room at the time may seem suspicious, the style of the era included plenty of dangerous moves and a normalization of the piledriver. Not to mention Hisako’s taller than average height.

(Photo: Hisako Uno undergoes towel traction after breaking her neck and before continuing the match – April 27, 1987)

Time froze as Hisako laid in agony with the referee trying to pull her neck back into place with a towel. The match resumed with Hotta leading them to victory in the second fall.

But as the minutes passed Hisako did get involved more and more, taking bumps and all as she held her neck together with one hand. In the end: they lost the championships, Hisako went unconscious, and she was taken to a nearby hospital.

Once the adrenaline wore off, a nightmare ensued. Numbness in her lower limbs. Multiple cranial surgeries. Pills just to sleep or quell the pain.

She spent months in the hospital wearing a halo device and learning how to walk again. Some of her friends made meaningful visits: Yumiko Hotta, Fumie Kanzaki, who had dropped out of wrestling, and even Yumi Ogura, whose move it was that injured her.

As Ogura profusely apologized, Hisako blamed herself for not working on her neck exercises enough.

Just as the road to physical recovery was hellish, so was dealing with her own emotions. Despite all the stories of hope and inspiration she was being told, the consideration of suicide had entered her mind.

The window of her second-floor room was where she could jump. On the day she attempted it, pigeons flew to the windowsill looking for the bread she would often feed them. The commotion brought the attention of the nurses and Hisako was brought back to her bed. 

Pro Wrestling / Gokuaku Doumei Dump Matsumoto (極悪同盟 ダンプ松本) - Games - SMS  Power!
(Photo: Gokuaku Domei Dump Matsumoto, 1986 – A video game featuring top heel Dump Matsumoto and her Villainous Alliance stable)

As she rehabbed to walk without crutches, various ideas began to crystallize. She was like a newborn learning for the very first time. A rebirth of sorts. Step by step, she had one clear destination to reach.

With her priorities broken down to such a basic level, one thing became clear in her mind. She loved professional wrestling and nothing would take that away from her. Hisako Uno was out of the hospital by the end of the summer.

She asked the All Japan Women office to let her back in the ring, but Chairman Matsunaga refused. Instead, she worked with the trainees by day and trained in the dojo alone at night.

When AJW returned to Osaka, the site of her accident, Hisako was flown out there and greeted by a legion of fans wanting her back. The Chairman told her if she got 10,000 signatures he would reconsider the decision.

Through tireless work, 80,000 signatures were collected. In December, Hisako returned to wrestling at Korakuen Hall.


(Photo: Mika Suzuki and Hisako Uno before the Tag League Finals – October 10, 1988)

When the mandatory retirement age for AJW was 25 years old, missing 8 months was a huge setback for the 20 year old Hisako.

The days of the previous generation of Devil Masami and Dump Matsumoto were gone while her classmates were outpacing her towards the main event. Even Yumiko Hotta had found a new partner with the Fire Jets team in hopes of becoming the next Crush Gals.

After a tearful conversation with classmate Mika Suzuki about falling behind, a new tag team was born for Uno. Hisako had been an ordinary wrestler in her earliest years.

When she wasn’t getting beat up, her repertoire was mainly limited to dropkicks, crossbody attacks, and body slams.

Her first accomplishment in winning the AJW Junior title came through simply forcing her opponent’s shoulders to the mat, as redundant as that may sound. By the end of 1988, she had honed her craft a bit more and won the Tag League, beating the Fire Jets in the Finals.

With a taste of success, the new team had gone from makeshift to main event. When it came time for their music single, because every duo needed to emulate the Beauty Pair, it was decided that they needed new branding.

They would become the Marine Wolves. Mika Suzuki would become Suzuka Minami. And to match the main characters of an Ultraman TV show from the 70s, Minami (meaning “South”)  needed to be partnered with a Hokuto (meaning “North”). 

Hisako Uno received her new first name from Akira Maeda: the shooter, the black sheep of puroresu. At this point, he had kicked Riki Choshu in the face and left New Japan to blaze his own trail.

People had always teased Hisako that she looked like him. Somewhat flat-faced and grumpy. She had even adopted “Akira” as a moniker on her tights after returning from injury.

Maeda was the hottest name in the industry with the UWF. He was the wrestler who made her fall in love with the sport. He inspired her to endure pain and keep on going.

(Photo: Weekly Pro Wrestling – Akira Maeda leads the Newborn UWF, November 1989)

Though she gained her legendary name in 1989, the success and fame that Akira Hokuto sought eluded her still. With the retirement of the Crush Gals, the last vestiges of the early to mid-80s phenomenon were gone.

Japan itself was changing. The Showa era was over and the Heisei era rang in the new year. Emperor Hirohito was dead. The bubble economy was on the verge of bursting. And time marched on.

The Marine Wolves won the WWWA tag titles twice, holding them for over 300 days through most of 1990. But the business of AJW wasn’t the only thing that was depressed.

Despite a slight change in ring gear and hair color, Akira Hokuto was largely the same wrestler she was in her rookie year presentation-wise. Short hair. An unassuming aura. A one piece swimsuit attire of the previous generations.

Those making a name in joshi were the beautiful and athletic Manami Toyota and the monster heel Aja Kong. 

Akira Hokuto needed something more than simply changing her primary color from red to blue. During the big summer tournament of 1990, the Japan Grand Prix, she faced off against Manami Toyota in the 1st round.

When Hokuto attempted a flying cross-body from the top turnbuckle to the floor, her right knee smashed into the guard rail. The pain was obvious.

The match stopped while she tried multiple times to walk. As she screamed in agony and defiance, the victory was awarded to Toyota, the eventual tournament winner.

A newer evolution was occurring in Akira’s journey as a wrestler. The qualities that had carried her throughout her life and career were tolerance and tenacity. Suffering would not stop her now. She added wild flips and insane leaps off the top rope to her repertoire.

Crazy bumps to the floor became her normal. And injuries followed. Even into 1991 she still had her bad right knee wrapped up, contributing to her legend as “the mummy” due to her myriad of bandages.

(Photo: Akira Hokuto wrestling with her arm and knee in bandages – January 11, 1991)

On January 4th, 1991, Akira Hokuto challenged Bull Nakano for the prestigious WWWA singles title: Mildred Burke’s belt.

The challenger took numerous high-angle drops onto her shoulders and neck, kicking out again and again as the crowd cheered her on with chants of “Akira, ganbatte!” Nakano even recreated the 2nd rope tombstone that almost killed her, but Hokuto kicked out.

Even though she lost, Akira Hokuto begged for more. The Wrestling Observer Newsletter rated the bout five stars, saying

“I would be very surprised if there is a better match on television anywhere in the world in 1991.”  

A week later, Akira Hokuto challenged for another championship with her arm essentially wrapped in a cast. The one-armed woman kicked ass and got her ass kicked.

Though she failed to take the All Pacific title from Manami Toyota when her Marine Wolves partner threw in the towel on her behalf, it would be the very same Suzuka Minami who won the white belt in March.

Akira was busy that night getting destroyed by Aja Kong, who marveled at how tough she was.

In April, the Marine Wolves imploded over that white All-Pacific belt. The story was much of the same (pain endurance), but this time, Akira Hokuto took home the victory with the Northern Lights Bomb.

It was her first singles achievement since her rookie year and she was ecstatic. She defended the secondary title for five months, even getting a win over her old partner Yumiko Hotta.

Dropping the belt back to Minami in October, it was clear that Marine Wolves were done for now. It was in August that Akira aligned with Bull Nakano and fulfilled her own desire to become a heel.

Although hitching herself to the AJW Ace brought success, something was still missing in her heart. Akira Hokuto wasn’t the bruising brawler that Bull was or the fearsome powerhouse that Kong was.

She didn’t change her appearance at all, even to include facepaint like the other heels. They did well enough to make it to the semi-finals of the Tag League, only to lose. With her 25th birthday coming up in 1992, Akira felt like there was nothing left for her.

The age rule could technically be delayed until one’s 26th birthday. And a Joshi promotion, JWP, had been founded in response to such expulsions. For months in the lead-up, Akira Hokuto simply wanted to quit and retire.

Akira Hokuto: Sonatine

Manami Toyota & Akira Hokuto vs. Kyoko Inoue & Toshiyo Yamada (November 21,  1991) - YouTube
(Photo: Akira Hokuto and Manami Toyota at Wrestlemarinepiad, November 21, 1991)

Bookending the breakout year that was 1991, Akira Hokuto lost to supernova Kyoko Inoue in a championship match on January 4th 1992. “Always the bridesmaid, never the bride” was the story of her life.

In the WON Awards, she was voted honorable mention in Most Outstanding Wrestler (the highest woman to rank), 5th in Best Technical Wrestler (above Mr. Perfect and Bret Hart), and 2nd place in Match of the Year (January 4th, against Bull Nakano).

Despite the recognition from hardcore tape traders in the West, her own self-perception was at a sharp contrast. During March it was decided that Akira Hokuto was to be sent to Mexico for some time as part of an ongoing exchange program with EMLL.

She viewed it as the promotion not needing her around, notably during the biggest show of the year Wrestlemarinepiad. But still, the chance to go sightseeing on the company dime was not one she would pass up. 

In Mexico, Akira Hokuto was faced with having to simplify her wrestling character and convey it to the Spanish speaking audience. Together with her companion Etsuko Mita, their names were shortened to simply Akira and Mita.

She was adorned with a Hannya mask, a kimono, and a wooden sword while her partner wielded the Japanese flag. Thus, Las Cachorras Orientales were born. T

he language barrier has never stopped the booing of foreign heels. And in a way, she finally got the exact reaction she wanted.

(Photo: The entrance gear that Akira Hokuto adopted in Mexico – July 22, 1992)

She wrote about visiting the Teotihuacan pyramids. Standing at the top under an open sky, after braving the steep climb, felt freeing. And what was lucha libre if not a “free struggle.” She was raised in a small country, in one company, in the niche of joshi wrestling.

To be a face was to sing and dance like the Crush Gals. To be a heel was to copy the charisma of Dump Matsumoto and Bull Nakano.

As a Mexican ruda, she could be rid of these limitations governing her since birth. Hisako Uno was truly reborn as Akira Hokuto in Mexico.

When she returned to Japan, the Dangerous Queen who would become an icon had arrived. With her famous entrance gear, she started to grow her hair long and adopted that stark, unmistakable makeup.

Her devil may care attitude remained: hitting the tope con giro from the top rope to the floor, dropping her opponents on their head with the Northern Lights Bomb, and getting injured all the time.

She picked up a win over her senpai Bull Nakano in July, a win over her classmate Suzuka Minami in September, and a win over her kouhai Kyoko Inoue in November to reclaim the All Pacific title.

Akira Hokuto carried the white belt for well over 200 days. Meanwhile, AJW was entering a boom period in the mid-90s.

Alongside Aja Kong, Manami Toyoya, and many other women from the uprising of independent promotions, they wrote their names into pro wrestling history.

The scene was so hot that interpromotional feuds broke the ceiling. Together with JWP, LLPW, and the women of FMW, AJW put on a pair of all star shows called Dream Slam.

Akira Hokuto
(Photo: Akira Hokuto in her final form at Dream Slam 1 – April 2, 1993)

April 2, 1993: Yokohama Arena was sold out with numbers not seen in 40 years anywhere in the world since the glory days of Mildred Burke.

Midway through the 5 hour spectacle, former champions and big names from the past were brought into the ring to honor All Japan Women’s 25th anniversary.

From Jumbo Miyamoto to Mach Fumiake to Dump Matsumoto, their history throughout the 70s and 80s was well represented.

In the semi-main event match, Akira Hokuto fought against LLPW’s judo wrestler Shinobu Kandori in a frenzied feud that had taken the public by storm. This 30 minute bloodbath is the crowning achievement for the Dangerous Queen.

Kandori was the monster and Hokuto was the woman who just wouldn’t die. In the end they knocked each other down at the same time and Hokuto just managed to crawl on top for the victory.

With her bleach blonde hair dyed red, she had received the bloody crown and established her legacy.

1993 was the defining year for Akira Hokuto. The Kandori match. Winning the Japan Grand Prix. Winning Tag League the Best. And the story goes on from there.

Working in front of 30,000 at the Tokyo Dome. Working in front of 100,000 in North Korea. So many more matches and memories to experience for one of the greatest wrestlers of all time.

And it all might never have happened for Akira Hokuto, if it wasn’t for Hisako Uno. The young girl who fought pain, depression, and danger. Victory through fighting spirit.

(Photo: Akira Hokuto after her match at Dream Slam 1 – April 2, 1993)