Hiroshi Hase (May 5, 1961) is a retired Japanese professional wrestler who worked for New Japan Pro Wrestling and All Japan Pro Wrestling, prior to transitioning to a position in the Japanese parliament. He currently holds the position of chairman for the PWF, which is the governing body for all championships in All Japan Pro Wrestling.
Amateur wrestling career
1984 Summer Olympics
Hase started his career as an amateur wrestler, representing Japan at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. He placed ninth in the Greco-Roman wrestling tournament, making him one of the Top 10 Olympic wrestlers that year.
Professional wrestling career
Early years (1986–1987)
Originally trained by Riki Chōshū, 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 up to Calgary, where he was trained by Stu Hart and Mr. Hito, and wrestled 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 between December 27, 1987 and March 16, 1989. 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 is one of a handful of 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. Hase would form a successful tag team with Kensuke Sasaki in March 1990, winning the IWGP Tag Team Championship twice between November 1, 1990 and March 6, 1991. 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.
Hase and Keiji Mutoh were also regular tag team partners; they won the IWGP Tag Team Championship twice between November 5, 1991 and November 25, 1994, including a victory over The Steiner Brothers, and won the Super Grade Tag League twice in 1993 and 1994. As Mutoh became established as a singles wrestler through his holding of the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, however, Hase was left behind, and was only able to hold the WCW International World Heavyweight Championship (which briefly replaced the NWA World Heavyweight Championship) for eight days in March 1994.
In July 1995, Hiroshi Hase was elected into the Japanese House of Councillors as the Senior Vice Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. Hase is one of a number of professional wrestlers to transition into politics, other notables being predecessor Antonio Inoki, and later Atsushi Onita and Great Sasuke. The following year he announced his retirement from New Japan, only to jump to the rival All Japan Pro Wrestling. His last New Japan bout as a New Japan wrestler was against Kensuke Sasaki on January 4, 1996.
One of the main reasons Hase left New Japan Pro Wrestling, was because in 1995, he recruited a young amateur wrestler named Hiromitsu Gompei into New Japan Pro Wrestling, after convincing his parents that they will watch for their son's safety. Sometime after an altercation with Kensuke Sasaki at the Dojo, Gompei died, forcing Hase to be the bearer of bad news to his parents. Hase claimed there was a giant cover-up in the young man's death.
All-Japan Pro Wrestling (1996–2006)
After a brief hiatus, he made his return to the ring in All Japan Pro Wrestling in November 1996. In All Japan, Hase did not contend for titles again despite his name recognition, as he made politics his full-time job. In 2001 he was re-elected by his constituency in Ishikawa Prefecture. The same year 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 since it was permanently established in 1951.
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 occurred on August 27, 2006. He tagged with Katsuhiko Nakajima & Satoshi Kojima to face TARU, Kohei Suwama, & "brother" YASSHI of the Voodoo Murderers. He 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 10, 2007, Hase took over the duty of the PWF chairman, after Stan Hansen (who held the position since 2000) voluntarily resigned from the position. In August 2009, Hase lost his seat in the Japanese Diet, but regained his seat in a different block.
On October 7, 2015, Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe announced Hase as part of his cabinet, naming him the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.
- Finishing moves
- Signature moves
Championships and accomplishments
- New Japan Pro Wrestling
- IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship (2 times)
- IWGP Tag Team Championship (4 times) – with Kensuke Sasaki (2), and Keiji Mutoh (2)
- Super Grade Tag League (1993, 1994) – with Keiji Mutoh
- WCW International World Heavyweight Championship (1 time)1
- Tag Team Best Bout (2001) with Keiji Mutoh vs. Jun Akiyama and Yuji Nagata on October 8
- Nikkan Sports
- Match of the Year (2001) – with Keiji Mutoh vs. Jun Akiyama and Yuji Nagata on October 8
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- PWI ranked him #80 of the top 500 singles wrestlers of the "PWI Years" in 2003
- PWI ranked him #22 of the Top 100 Tag Teams of the "PWI Years" with The Great Muta in 2003
- PWI ranked him #27 of the Top 100 Tag Teams of the "PWI Years" with Kensuke Sasaki in 2003
- Stampede Wrestling
- Tokyo Sports
- Rookie of the Year (1988)
- Technique Award (1991)
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards
1The championship was won in Tokyo, Japan as part of an interpromotional card between New Japan Pro Wrestling and World Championship Wrestling.