Skull Reaper A-ji was elected as a councilor for the south Japan city of Oita in February, after his campaign included improving social welfare facilities and educational reform, but before he could sit in on his first council meeting, he has been landed with a ban!
Other councilors wanted Skull Reaper A-ji to remove his trademark black-and-red leather wrestling mask, arguing that it was not appropriate for a member of the assembly to wear a mask that conceals identity.
So far though Skull Reaper A-ji, 44, has refused their requests to take off the mask, which is similar to the “lucha libre” masks popularly worn by wrestlers in Mexico.
Speaking to a local publication, the Nishinippon Shimbun, the masked politician said: People find it easy to come up and talk to me because I have a mask on. He added that he had worked tirelessly for the community over the last decade, including visiting and campaigning for institutions that helped people with physical disabilities.
It seems though, regardless of Mr. Skull Reaper A-ji’s commendable, charitable efforts, the other councilors are refusing to budge and prohibited him from taking part in Monday’s meeting. They stated that he was in breach of a house rule that stated a “person taking the floor shall not wear items such as a hat.”
In an interview given after the decision was taken to ban Skull Reaper A-ji from the meeting, he said he found the situation frustrating. He said: If I take my mask off, I’m an entirely different person… I will not take it off.
Skull Reaper A-ji is not the first Japanese politician that has chosen to wear a wrestling mask. Several others have been elected at a local level in the country, including an Osaka councilor that goes by the name of Super Delfin and the former pro wrestler The Great Sasuke who was elected to represent Iwate Prefecture in 2003.
What do you think? Should Skull Reaper A-ji be allowed to wear his mask in meetings? Leave a comment and let us know.
Source: The Telegraph