One of the most memorable figures from the wrestling world, Mr. Fuji, has died. The WWE Hall of Fame wrestler and former manager, born Harry Fujiwara, was 82 years old. The cause of death has not been disclosed at press time.
Although Fujiwara was a native of Honolulu, HI., the Japanese-American played up his Japanese heritage for his character when he competed in the WWWF and as a manager for WWF, both the predecessors of WWE, during the 1980s. He is most notably remembered for his dapper outfit of a black derby hat, with a black suit and black bowtie to match. He completed the ensemble with a mustache and trimmed beard.
He began his career under the name "Mr. Fujiwara" on Dec. 15, 1965, in Hawaii, where he won his first wrestling championship a year later at the NWA Hawaii Tag Team Championship. He would soon shortened his name to "Mr. Fuji," and went onto win five more tag team championships during his time as a full-time WWF performer until his retirement in 1985.
Mr. Fuji was known for his expertise in ring psychology, and was widely known for throwing salt in opponent's eyes, which he would keep in small bag hidden under his tights during matches. After he retired, Mr. Fuji managed other wrestling superstars including George “The Animal” Steele, Kamala, Killer Khan, Demolition, The Powers of Pain, Yokozuna and “Magnificent” Don Muraco.
After leaving his managerial career behind in 1996, Fujiwara settled in Knoxville, Tenn. and opened up a training dojo in nearby Jefferson City and Dandridge until 2001. Fujiwara was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame on Mar. 31, 2007.
The WWE tweeted a remembrance after learning about the news of Fujiwara's death.
Also, if you grew up during the 1980s and watched Saturday morning cartoons, you may recall the WWE's own animated cartoon, which featured the league's superstars of that era, including Mr. Fuji in his signature attire.
Our condolences go out to the Fujiwara family, and all WWE fans who enjoyed watching Mr. Fuji in the ring.