Japanese professional wrestler and mixed martial artist. He is known for being a promoter for the sport and won the Wrestling Observer Newsletter's award for Promoter of the Year in 2001. He founded New Japan Pro-Wrestling and was also elected to the Japanese House of Councillors in 1989.
He first began his career in wrestling through the Japanese Wrestling Association. He earned recognition by traveling to places such as North Korea for his fights. In 1972, he began his promoting career by founding New Japan Pro-Wrestling.
He was inducted into the World Championship Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2010. As a member of the Japanese House of Councillors, he successfully negotiated with Saddam Hussein for the release of several Japanese hostages.
He was born and raised in Yokohama, Japan but later moved to Tokyo. He has a daughter named Hiroko.
He is known for having fought against the world championship boxer Muhammad Ali in 1976 which was seen as a precursor to modern day Mixed Martial Arts.