Visual Summary: Antonio Inoki

2019年12月17日 アントニオ猪木=都内

Portrait of Antonio Inoki, December 17, 2019 (Photo by Tokyo Sports/AFLO)

Antonio Inoki has recently passed away on October 1st, 2022 at the age of 79. He was a professional wrestler, martial artist (including mixed martial arts), politician, and a promoter of professional wrestling in Japan. We, at Nippon News, have compiled a collection of photos looking back on the life of Antonio Inoki.

Born in Yokohama, Japan, he moved to Brazil at the age of 14 along with his family. As a child he excelled at track and field. Even after emigrating to Brazil, Inoki has won regional championships in shot put, discus throw, and javelin throw. He has also won the All Brazilian championships in shot put and discus throw.

While in Brazil, at the age of 17, Inoki met Rikidozan, his mentor, who was famous in the Professional Wrestling scene. After meeting Rikidozan, Inoki went back to Japan for the Japan Pro Wrestling Alliance (JWA) as Rikidozan’s disciple.

外国人記者クラブ会見 異種格闘技戦のため来日したムハマド・アリ(右)は外国人記者クラブでの会見でアントニオ猪木にパンチを浴びせるポーズを決める(1976年6月日にち不明)ネガ番号一般スポーツB33-6-5ムハマド・アリ19760601外国人記者クラブ

In the picture above: Muhammed Ali (right) poses to punch Antonio Inoki at the Foreign Correspondents Club in Tokyo, Japan. The two fighters were there to for a press conference before the highly anticipated match. June 1976 (Photo by Nikkan Sports/AFLO)

異種格闘技戦 アントニオ猪木対モハメド・アリ 15回を戦い健闘をたたえ合うアントニオ猪木(右)とムハマド・アリ(1976年6月26日)ネガ番号一般スポーツB99-1-1 (ムハメド・アリ)19760626武道館

June 26, 1976 (Photo by Nikkan Sports/AFLO)

Antonio Inoki was most well known for fighting against Muhammad Ali in one of the first televised mixed martial arts matches. The match went on for 15 rounds.

1986年2月6日 新日本プロレス アントニオ猪木×藤原喜明 猪木??がヘッドバット、新日本×UWF=東京・両国国技館

February 6, 1986. (Photo by Tokyo Sports/AFLO)

In the picture above: Professional wrestling match at Ryogoku Kokugikan National Sumo Arena in Tokyo, Japan. Inoki headbutting his opponent, Yoshiaki Fujiwara.

1990年12月1日 新日本プロレス 到着し会見するアントニオ猪木参院議員(中)=イラク・バグダッド

December 1, 1990 (Photo by Tokyo Sports/AFLO)

Following in his father’s footsteps, Inoki entered politics in 1989. A year later, in 1990, he made a trip or an “unofficial one-man diplomatic mission” to Iraq to free Japanese hostages before the Gulf War. He was partially successful. Inoki was able to manage to free 36 captive Japanese nationals out of 41, after negotiating with Saddam Hussein. The picture above shows Antonio Inoki, as a member of the House of Councillors of Japan, making a speech at the press conference held in Baghdad, Iraq.

アントニオ猪木/Antonio Inoki, 「平和の祭典」 で イラク人、米国人 に 交じって 平和 の 叫び を 上げる アントニオ猪木 参院議員=1990(平成2)年12月2日、イラク・バグダッド市内のナショナル・シアター  19901202 イラク・バグダッド市内ナショナル・シアター 

December 2, 1990 (Photo by Nikkan Sports/AFLO)

In addition to attending the press conference, Inoki has attended a ‘Peace Festival’ in Iraq. This was to commemorate peace among Iraqis and Americans. 

2014年9月2日現地 IGFプロレス 高麗空港に乗り込むアントニオ猪木 北朝鮮

In the picture above: Antonio Inoki at Koryo Airport, North Korea. September 2, 2014 (Photo by Tokyo Sports/AFLO)

Inoki has made numerous trips to North Korea which totals to 38 times. The motive for these visits was to achieve diplomatic peace through the means of sports. Rikidozan, Inoki’s mentor, was born in a northern region which is now North Korea. This became a key contributing factor in Inoki’s future decision to travel to the country.

95年4月、19万人の北朝鮮の観衆の前で元NWA王者のリック・フレアー(右)と激闘したアントニオ猪木さん 撮影日19950429

“Festival of Peace” event in North Korea. Antonio Inoki along with former NWA champion Ric Flair (right) in front of 190,000 North Korean spectators. Special guest, Muhammed Ali has also made the trip with Inoki. April 29, 1995 (Photo by The Sports Nippon Newspapers/AFLO)


アントニオ猪木/Antonio Inoki, APRIL 4, 1998 - Pro-wrestling : Antonio Inoki (L) in action against Don Frye (R) during his last match at the New Japan Pro-wrestling Antonio Inoki retirement event at Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Yukio Hiraku/AFLO) [0722]

Antonio Inoki’s retirement match at Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan. His opponent was Don Frye. APRIL 4, 1998 (Photo by Yukio Hiraku/AFLO)


2008年8月15日 IGFプロレス 「不景気」を壊すという意味合いで、麩で出来たケーキを木槌で壊すパフォーマンスを見せたアントニオ猪木=東京・両国国技館

In 2008, during the Great Recession, Antonio Inoki can be seen hitting a cake in the sense of destroying the “recession”. The performace took place at Ryogoku Kokugikan National Sumo Arena in Tokyo, Japan. August 15, 2008 (Photo by Tokyo Sports/AFLO)


2010年4月4日 アントニオ猪木 引退試合 場所=東京ドーム

Antonio Inoki’s retirement match at Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan. April 4, 1998 (Photo by Tokyo Sports/AFLO)


All photos in this article can be licensed on Afloimages.