A Japanese politician has been banned from attending his local council meetings. His offense: refusing to take off his wrestling mask.
The man, who goes by the moniker Skull Reaper A-Ji, was elected in February in Oita, a city in southern Japan, after campaigning, masked, on a platform of educational reform and improved social welfare facilities, reported the Telegraph.
But before A-Ji could attend his first meeting on Monday, his fellow councilors told him that the mask had to go, declaring it inappropriate to conceal his identity. The politician’s red-and-black leather mask is similar to “lucha libre” masks worn by wrestlers in Mexico.
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A-Ji disagrees. “People find it easy to come up and talk to me because I have a mask on,” he said, according to the Telegraph. His peers countered that he was violating a rule that states “a person taking the floor shall not wear items such as a hat,” the Telegraph noted.
A-Ji described the decision as “frustrating,” the Huffington Post U.K. reported. “If I take my mask off, I’m an entirely different person,” he said.
Remarkably Skull Reaper A-Ji isn’t the first masked Japanese politician elected at the local level. According to the Daily Mail, there was a masked councilor who goes by the name “Super Delfin” in Osaka. And the former professional wrestler Masanori Murakawa, otherwise known as “The Great Sasuke,” was elected as a councilor in 2003.