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The Maki Itoh Night Thread (December 22, 2020)

Tonight’s thread is dedicated to the Fired Idol Who Likes To Fight, the screaming, head-butting goofball banshee of Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling, Maki Itoh.

The 25 year old draws her character from her previous career as a member of the Idol group LinQ, the dense strata of J-Pop culture and how it intertwines with women’s wrestling, or Joshi, in Japan, and how she intertwines her past failures and insecurities into her performances.

Unlike the usual edgy babyfaces and cool villains that populate the world of pro-wrestling, Maki is painfully emotionally vulnerable, desperate to be loved, crying with despair when she loses. Which she does, a lot.

Making her in-ring debut only four years ago, she split her time between wrestling and her pop career until she was unexpectedly fired from LinQ’s thirty-strong line-up. Joining TJPW full time, she began as an underdog, hiding her self-loathing by demanding the crowd accept her as the cutest wrestler in the world. She would bully others to disguise her inner belief that no one would want to team with her, let alone be her friend.

Whilst Maki uses social media to announce the latest English curse words she’s learned and pondering entering the world of FinDomming to make ends meet, she is painfully honest on both her online blog and in interviews, talking about dropping out of school and humiliating accidents that happened to her on stage. She’s explained that the pressure she felt to maintain her ‘Idol’ character made her feel blank inside. Since becoming a wrestler she realised that “constantly suffering” actually made her feel something!

No matter how many decades or centuries it takes, she’ll make it to the top. Or at least until she’s not so poor. With such a rich character and her innate charisma, she was ready to be a star in the West before Covid stalled the world. But if we return to a semblance of normality soon, 2021 will surely be her year to become a superstar.

I heartily recommend this episode of the Wrestlesplainia podcast where Kath Barbadoro and Rachel Millman discuss Maki’s character from a feminist perspective:

Have a great night, everyone!