Hiroshi Hase (馳 浩 Hase Hiroshi, born May 5, 1961) is a Japanese politician who served as the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology under current Prime Minister Shinzō Abe. Prior to his appointment in the Cabinet, he also served as a member of the House of Representatives of the National Diet, representing the 1st district of Ishikawa Prefecture.
|Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology|
7 October 2015 – 3 August 2016
|Prime Minister||Shinzō Abe|
|Preceded by||Hakubun Shimomura|
|Succeeded by||Hirokazu Matsuno|
|Member of the House of Representatives from the First District of Ishikawa Prefecture|
|Assumed office |
25 June 2000
|Born||5 May 1961|
Oyabe, Toyama, Japan
|Political party||Liberal Democratic Party|
Kyoko Takami (m. 1994)
|Alma mater||Senshu University|
|Ring name(s)||Hiroshi Hase|
Viet Cong Express #1
|Billed height||1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)|
|Billed weight||105 kg (231 lb)|
|Billed from||Ho Chi Minh City, North Vietnam (as Viet Cong Express #1)|
|Trained by||Riki Choshu|
|Debut||February 28, 1986|
Hase is also a semi-retired professional wrestler who worked for New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) and All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW). During his affiliation with AJPW, he also served as the chairman for the Pacific Wrestling Federation (PWF), which is the governing body for all championships in AJPW. Among other title wins, Hase held the WCW International World Heavyweight Championship once.
Born from a poor family, Hase was abandoned by his biological parents and put for adoption home, where another family took him under their wings. Hase graduated from Senshu University in March 1984. He then became a teacher of classic Japanese literature in a high school in Ishikawa Prefecture, before pursuing a professional wrestling career in 1985.
Professional wrestling career
Early years (1986–1987)
Originally trained by Riki Choshu, Hiroshi Hase began his pro wrestling career in February 1986, at Carlos Colón's World Wrestling Council in Puerto Rico. Later that year, Hase went to Calgary, Alberta, Canada, where he was trained by Stu Hart and Tokyo Joe. He would wrestle in Stampede Wrestling, under a mask, in a tag team known as the Viet Cong Express with Fumihiro Niikura, with whom he held the Stampede International Tag Team Championship. By 1987, he started to wrestle under his name and unmasked in Stampede Wrestling. By the end of 1987, Hase would return to Japan.
New Japan Pro-Wrestling (1987–1996)
When he returned to Japan, Hase wrestled for NJPW's junior heavyweight division, winning the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship twice. He defeated Kuniaki Kobayashi on December 27, 1987 and held it until May 27, 1988, losing the title to Owen Hart. His second reign began by defeating Shiro Koshinaka on March 16, 1989, and held it until May 25, 1989, losing it to Jyushin Liger. In June 1989, Hase and Takayuki Iizuka went to the Soviet Union to be trained in sambo, where he learned one of his signature moves, the uranage. He would also become one of the only wrestlers, Japanese or American, to successfully graduate from the junior heavyweight to heavyweight class.
In the 1990s, Hase had many memorable encounters with famous Japanese talents first in New Japan, and later All Japan. In June 1990, Hase had a near-death experience in the ring, after being knocked out by a backdrop from Tatsutoshi Goto. Hase would form a successful tag team with Kensuke Sasaki in March 1990, winning the IWGP Tag Team Championship twice. On November 1, 1990, Hase and Sasaki defeated Masahiro Chono and Keiji Mutoh to win the title and held on to the titles until December 26, 1990, losing them to Super Strong Machine and Hiro Saito. Their second reign came by regaining them from Machine and Saito on March 6, 1991, but lost the titles on March 21, 1991, to The Steiner Brothers. Hase was involved in a classic December 14, 1992 encounter with The Great Muta, in which the "Muta Scale" was created, due to the incredible amount of blood shed by Muta, which was payback for Muta bloodying Hase on September 14, 1990.
Hase and Mutoh were also regular tag team partners; they won the IWGP Tag Team Championship twice. Their first reign began on November 5, 1991, defeating Rick Steiner and Scott Norton in a decision match. They would hold on to the belts until March 1, 1992, losing them to Big Van Vader and Bam Bam Bigelow. Hase and Mutoh won the Super Grade Tag League in November 1993, defeating The Jurassic Powers in the final. On March 16, 1994, Hase defeated Rick Rude to win the WCW International World Heavyweight Championship, and he re-lost the title to Rude on March 24, 1994. Hase and Mutoh won their second Super Grade Tag League in October 1994. On November 25, 1994, Hase and Mutoh defeated The Hellraisers to win their second IWGP Tag Team title. They would hold on to the titles until May 1995, as they vacated the titles after Mutoh won the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
The following year he announced his retirement from New Japan, only to jump to the rival All Japan Pro Wrestling, due to New Japan's politics and the death of a trainee named Hiromitsu Gompei at the hands of Sasaki. His last New Japan bout as a New Japan wrestler was against Kensuke Sasaki on January 4, 1996. He wrestled one more match for NJPW on July 26, 1996, teaming with Sasaki, losing to Riki Choshu and Yuji Nagata.
All Japan Pro-Wrestling (1997–2006)
After a brief hiatus, he made his return to pro wrestling in All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW) in January 1997. In All Japan, Hase did not contend for any top titles despite his name recognition, as he made politics his full-time job.
In 2000, he founded the multi-promotional Bad Ass Translate Trading stable with Mutoh, Taiyō Kea and Jinsei Shinzaki; Hase and Mutoh reformed their team to battle Jun Akiyama and Yuji Nagata on October 8, the rising stars of their respective promotions (NOAH and NJPW), and were defeated in a ceremonial passing of the torch match that highlighted the advancement of professional wrestling in Japan.
When Mutoh (along with Satoshi Kojima and Kendo Ka Shin) jumped to All Japan the following year, Hase was seen as having influenced them (if not Mutoh at least) in their decision. Antonio Inoki, who had once preceded Hase to the Japanese Diet, blasted Hase and suggested that he resign his position in the Diet, but nothing came out of this.
Hase's final match for 11 years occurred on August 27, 2006. He tagged with Katsuhiko Nakajima & Satoshi Kojima to face TARU, Kohei Suwama, & "brother" YASSHI of the Voodoo Murderers. The match was originally supposed to have Kensuke Sasaki in it to team with Hase and Kojima, but Kensuke was replaced with Nakajima following an eye injury. Sasaki was still a presence in the match, working ringside to keep Voodoo Murders' heelish antics at bay and entering the ring at one point. Hase pinned YASSHI with a Northern Light Suplex for the victory, ending his in-ring career after 20 years. A week later, he was elected into the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame.
On July 26, 2017, Hase returned to the ring at a Pro Wrestling Masters event, produced by Keiji Mutoh. Wrestling his first match in 11 years, Hase teamed with Riki Choshu and Tatsumi Fujinami to defeat The Great Muta, The Great Kabuki and TNT in a six-man tag team match. On August 5, 2018, Hiroshi Hase was revealed as the special partner of Riki Choshu and Jun Akiyama on an All Japan show, victorious against Naoya Nomura, Yoshitatsu, and KAZMA SAKAMOTO. His last match to-date came later that month on the 21st, as he teamed up with Taiyo Kea, Shinjiro Otani, and Jinsei Shinzaki for a special one-night BATT reunion on Keiji Mutoh's Pro Wrestling Masters; defeating the Heisei Ishingun team of AKIRA, Akitoshi Saito, Shiro Koshinaka, and Masashi Aoyagi.
On July 1995, Hase was elected into the Japanese House of Councillors, the upper house of the National Diet, as an independent candidate representing Ishikawa Prefecture. This made him the second professional wrestler-turned-politician to be elected in a parliamentary seat, the first being Antonio Inoki.
In 2000, he was elected as a member of the House of Representatives, representing Ishikawa Prefecture. From 2005 to 2006, he also served as the Senior Vice Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.
As a lawmaker, Hase has primarily focused on issues involving education, welfare, sports, and environment. He is a defender of the Hague Convention and supports legislation intended to ensure visitation rights between children and their parents separated through divorce or other marital disputes in Japan. In 2015, he also led a multiparty caucus intended to examine discrimination against the LGBT community in Japan, a move that is also intended to prepare the country for the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
On October 7, 2015, Prime Minister of Japan Shinzō Abe announced Hase as part of his cabinet, naming him the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. He replaced Hakubun Shimomura, who stepped down from the post after being accused of mishandling the main stadium project for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
In 1994, Hase married Kyoko Takami, the daughter of writer Jun Takami.
Championships and accomplishments
- Nikkan Sports
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- Stampede Wrestling
- Tokyo Sports
- World Championship Wrestling
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter
1The championship was won in Tokyo, Japan as part of an interpromotional card between New Japan Pro-Wrestling and World Championship Wrestling.
- "馳議員５６歳の現役復帰 継続参戦イケる！大暴れ". Tokyo Sports (in Japanese). 2017-07-27. Retrieved 2017-07-27.
- Meltzer, Dave (2017-11-05). "'Tokyo' Joe Daigo passes away at 75 years old". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved 2017-11-05.
- "Abe retains key ministers, shifts focus to economy". Nikkei Asian Review. 2015-10-07. Retrieved 2015-10-08.
- "Hase Hiroshi". Liberal Democratic Party of Japan. Retrieved 2015-10-08.
- "Inoki knocked out; Hashimoto skates to win". The Japan Times, Weekly international edition. 1995-07-31. ProQuest 218977866.
- Martin, James (2001). Calgary: The Unknown City. Arsenal Pulp Press. p. 69. ISBN 978-1551521114.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-07-07. Retrieved 2007-07-11.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "全日本プロレス6・30両国大会に佐藤光留緊急参戦！海外遠征の延長を申し出た真田は欠場！馳氏が正式にPWF会長辞任". Battle News (in Japanese). 2013-06-25. Retrieved 2013-06-25.
- "Cabinet Profiles: Abe Cabinet (Formed October 7, 2015)". The Japan Times. Retrieved 2015-10-09.
- "Lawmakers launch group to ensure visitations after divorce". Kyodo News International (via Global Post). 2014-03-18. Archived from the original on 2014-03-19. Retrieved 2015-10-09.
- Aoki, Mizuho (2015-03-17). "Multiparty group to examine LGBT discrimination". The Japan Times. Retrieved 2015-10-09.
- Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2000). "Japan: New Japan G-1 (Grade-1) Climax Tag Tournament Champions". Wrestling Title Histories. Archeus Communications. p. 374. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
- "2001 New Japan Awards". Strong Style Spirit. Retrieved 2011-04-28.
- "PUROLOVE.com". www.purolove.com.
- "Pro Wrestling Illustrated's Top 500 Wrestlers of the PWI Years". Wrestling Information Archive. Archived from the original on 2008-06-16. Retrieved 2010-09-15.
- "Stampede Wrestling Hall of Fame (1948-1990)". Puroresu Dojo. 2003.
- Official website of Hiroshi Hase
- Official Facebook page of Hiroshi Hase
- Profile from the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan
- Shining Road profile
Riki Choshu & Shinya Hashimoto
| Super Grade Tag League winner
1993 & 1994
With: Keiji Mutoh
Masahiro Chono & Hiroyoshi Tenzan