In professional wrestling, it’s known as kayfabe.
It’s the long-lost art of maintaining the illusion that wrestling is a legitimate competition, and that the wrestlers truly want to bash each other’s brains in.
In the olden days of Killer Kowalski and Bobo Brazil, bad guys would glare menacingly at good guys in airports and hotel lobbies, lest keen-eyed fans figure out that their feud was all a charade.
Kayfabe essentially died in the 1980s — Vince McMahon conceded that his WWF was “sports entertainment,” and the Internet spoiled most of wrestling’s secrets — but apparently kayfabe is alive and well in Japan.
A politician in the southern Japanese city of Oita has been banned from council meetings because he refused to remove his full-face wrestling mask.
His name: Skull Reaper A-ji.
Much like Jesse “The Body” Ventura — and a number of other Japanese wrestlers such as Super Delphin and The Great Sasuke — he successfully transitioned from the wrestling ring to the political arena.
Councillor Skull Reaper was elected to office last month, likely earning the requisite 2,828 votes because of his popularity from his wrestling career.
But wearing the mask to council meetings apparently contravened a rule that states “a person taking the floor shall not wear items such as a hat.”
To remove his mask, Skull Reaper claims, would change his identity and be a disservice to the voting public.
“If I take my mask off, I’m an entirely different person,” he told the Nikkan Sports newspaper. “I will not take it off.”
Kayfabe is dead? Long live kayfabe! Arigato, Skull Crusher-san.