Oita, Japan – A politician has been banned from city council meetings until he takes off his “lucha libre” style wrestling mask.
Skull Reaper A-ji won 2,828 votes in the election after campaigning on a platform demanding education reform and better social welfare facilities, which was apparently enough to put him on the city council.
Since then, Japan’s Oita City Council has been trying to figure out what to do with A-ji, a grown man who wears a “lucha libre” style wrestling mask at all times. Before he was able to attend his first meeting, his peers said that it was inappropriate for a member of the council to wear a mask, concealing their identity.
But the 44-year-old Skull Reaper A-ji has more or less laughed in the face of requests that he reveal his secret identity and remove his red-and-black leather “lucha libre” mask (like those worn by wrestlers in Mexico).
“People find it easy to come up and talk to me because I have a mask on,” he said of his “superhero” alter ego.
Skull Reaper A-ji also said that he has worked in the community for over a decade, including visiting people with disabilities.
But council members don’t seem to care about his charitable service. They just want Skull Reaper A-ji unmasked and have invoked a rule suggesting that “a person taking the floor shall not wear items such as a hat.”
Skull Reaper A-ji called the decision “frustrating,” saying in an interview that he doesn’t plan to give in to council demands.
“If I take my mask off, I’m an entirely different person,” he told a Japanese newspaper. “I will not take it off.”
Believe it or not, Skull Reaper A-ji is not the first politician in a wrestling mask to be elected at the local level in Japan. A city council member named Super Delfin in Osaka and former professional wrestler The Great Sasuke of the Iwate Prefecture bot have similar gimmicks.
Do you think that Skull Reaper A-ji should take off his wrestling mask?