Japan: Politician Banned for Wearing Wrestling Mask to Meetings

Spiderman, Batman and Iron Man all wear masks while helping their communities, but a local Japanese politician can’t attend council meetings while wearing his trademark mask.

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The Asahi Shimbun / Getty Images

Masked professional wrestler turned local politician 'Skull Reaper A-ji' stands at the entrance of the Oita City Assembly in protest against the assembly's decision to refuse his attendance unless taking off the mask while other members leave on March 11, 2013 in Oita, Japan.

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.

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