On This Day, Feb 20th

in #todayinjapanlast year

Hello all you wonderful and amazing human beings. Welcome to your daily look at interesting anniversaries, events, and births related to Japan on this day in history.

It is Feb 20th in Japan. So, what happened on this day...

On this day, Feb 20th...

  • It's the birthday of Tochinishiki Kiyotaka, a Japanese sumo wrestler who became the 44th Yokozuna, which is the highest rank in the sport. At only 5 foot 9 (1.77 m) he was a small guy in the world of sumo. He made up for his small size, however, with amazing technique.

  • It's the birthday of Shigeo Nagashima, one of the most famous players of professional baseball in Japan. Born in 1936, he joined the Tokyo Giants in 1957 for the then astonishing salary of ¥18,000,000, which was around $161,000 at the time, or $1.4 million today adjusted for inflation. Alongside homerun king Sadaharu Oh, he led the Giants to a record 9 championships in a row.

  • It's the birthday of Antonio Inoki, Japanese wrestler, mixed martial artist, and politician. Born in 1943, he would go on to become one of Japan's most recognizable athletes. In the West, he is probably best known for his 1976 fight against world champion boxer Muhammad Ali. Ali had signed on expecting the fight to be an exhibition rather than a real contest. Only days before the event when he saw Inoki's intense training did he realize it would be a real fight. At this realization, Ali and Inoki's representatives began to renegotiate the rules. A list of restrictions was imposed on Inoki. He would not be allowed to throw, grapple or tackle Ali and could not land any kicks unless he had one knee on the mat. Ali's camp also demanded that the rules not be made public before the fight. As a result, Inoki spent nearly the entire match, laying down and kicking at Ali's legs, one of the very few moves he hadn't been forbidden from performing. As a result of the constant kicks, Ali's left leg was so badly swollen and bleeding that it led to an infection. He also suffered two blood clots in his legs affecting his mobility for the remainder of his boxing career. Despite the farce, which angered fans on both sides, Inoki and Ali would go on to become close friends.

And... that's all I have for you today. Have a great day everyone. If you think I missed any important Japan-related events, leave them in the comments.

Footnotes

†: Daily when I have time, anyway, which is usually not daily but sometimes is. In other words, it is daily except when it's not.

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