Kazuo Okamura

George Kazuo Okamura (岡村 一夫, Okamura Kazuo, October 11, 1911 – December 19, 1973) was a Japanese-American professional wrestler. Better known by the ring name The Great Togo, he was one of the first wrestling heels of Japanese descent in America after World War II.[1]

Kazuo Okamura
Birth nameKazuo Okamura
Born(1911-10-11)October 11, 1911
Hood River, Oregon, U.S.
DiedDecember 19, 1973(1973-12-19) (aged 62)
Los Angeles, U.S.
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)The Great Togo
Trained byTsutao Higami
Debutc. 1949

Early life and educationEdit

Okamura was born to Japanese parents in United States.[2] He studied philosophy at Oregon University before starting his wrestling career.[1]

CareerEdit

Okamura debuted in professional wrestling in 1949. Like many other wrestlers of Japanese descent at the time, he adopted a foreign heel gimmick and an Asian-sounding ring name, in this case "The Great Togo." He hailed himself as a martial artist with karate skills,[3] prayed in a small Buddhist altar before his matches,[4] and was assisted by a fellow Japanese valet named Hata who burned incense.[1] He became one of the most hated villains of the ring,[3][4][5] as well as one of the most feared wrestlers. Despite his technical skill, his matches often ended in disqualifications in order for his opponents to save face.[3][6]

During the 1950s, he started a long and heated feud with Argentine Rocca.[1] He later introduced his kayfabe brother Tosh Togo, who became his usual tag team partner. Their team would expand with more Japanese family members, Mas Togo (Kyokushin karate founder Mas Oyama) and Ko Endo (judoka Kokichi Endo).[3][7]

From the 50s to the 60s he played as Rikidozan's manager in the Pacific Coast area.[1]

Later life and deathEdit

After his retirement, he moved along with his wife to Los Angeles, where he died in 1973 due to a gastric carcinoma.[6]

Championships and accomplishmentsEdit

Film CreditsEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e Harris M. Lentz III (2003). Biographical Dictionary of Professional Wrestling. McFarland. p. 355. ISBN 978-0-7864-1754-4.
  2. ^ Teruo Takahashi (2011). G-Spirits, Vol.19. Tatsumi Books. ISBN 978-47-778089-2-2.
  3. ^ a b c d Teruo Takahashi (1993). Shiranakya yokatta puroresu kai no zannenna densetsu. Takarajimasha. ISBN 978-48-002892-1-6.
  4. ^ a b Samuel O. Regalado (2013). Nikkei Baseball: Japanese American Players from Immigration and Internment to the Major Leagues. University of Illinois Press. ISBN 978-02-520945-3-8.
  5. ^ Thomas A. Green, Joseph R. Svinth (2010). Martial Arts of the World: An Encyclopedia of History and Innovation [2 volumes]: An Encyclopedia of History and Innovation. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-15-988424-4-9.
  6. ^ a b Linda Tamura (1993). The Hood River Issei: An Oral History of Japanese Settlers in Oregon's Hood River Valley. University of Illinois Press. p. 102. ISBN 978-02-520635-9-6.
  7. ^ Svinth, Joseph R. "Harold Sakata: Olympic Weightlifter and Professional Wrestler". Retrieved October 27, 2007.
  8. ^ "International Television Tag Team Title (Los Angeles)". Puroresu Dojo. 2003.