Asuka is an extremely talented professional wrestler, but "The Empress of Tomorrow" doesn’t only excel at wrestling. While her in-ring talent is heavily celebrated, her life outside of the ring deserves just as much recognition. She has a range of expertise that has led her to work in a variety of different industries that may surprise you!
Asuka has been a WWE revelation since joining the company back in 2015. She’s had a streak that surpassed Goldberg’s, a record-breaking NXT Women’s title reign, became a main roster star, won the inaugural Women’s Royal Rumble, had one of the top matches at WrestleMania 34, won the SmackDown Women’s Championship, she’s held the WWE Women’s Tag Team Champion with Kairi Sane in The Kabuki Warriors. Asuka is also the only woman to be a Grand Slam winner, a Royal Rumble Winner, and a Money in the Bank winner. The only other wrestlers that share this honor are Edge, Randy Orton, and Seth Rollins.
Asuka began her career in 2004 before having to abruptly retire in 2006 due to chronic nephritis. To save you a Google search, "Nephritis is inflammation of the kidneys and may involve the glomeruli, tubules, or interstitial tissue surrounding the glomeruli and tubules."
Luckily the love she had for wrestling did not fade, and she returned when she was healthier the following year.
Before her professional wrestling career began in 2004, she worked as a graphic designer. During her year-and-a-half off from wrestling, she returned to her graphic designing, this time taking it a step further and opening up her own graphic design agency. If that wasn’t enough, she also wrote articles for Xbox Magazine. Asuka is a very keen gamer and designed graphics for the Nintendo DS. Her credentials are outstanding, but it doesn’t even end there. Asuka ran a beauty salon, too!
Asuka, then known as Kana, was interviewed by Gordman of gordmansgametreasure.com, where she gave a glimpse of her unique life:
Gordman: "Konnichiwa Kana (Asuka)! At first, thanks for your precious time; I really appreciate that. When did you discover your passion for video games for the first time?"
Asuka: "I was hooked for the first time by Metroid & Goemon."
Gordman: "Which consoles and handhelds do you own?"
Asuka: "Famicom (NES), Disk System, Super Famicom (SNES), Sega Mega Drive, Mega-CD, GameGear, PC Engine, CD-ROM 2, GameBoy, GB Advance, Nintendo 64, 64DD, WonderSwan, Nintendo DS, DSLL, DSi, 3DSLL, Wii, Wii U, Xbox, Xbox360, PlayStation, PS2, and PS3."
Gordman: "Would you give away the secret of how many games you have in your private collection?"
Asuka: "About 3000 for all of my consoles."
Gordman: "Please explain to our readers exactly what you do in your job."
Asuka: "I’m a professional wrestler. And I run a design office and a beauty salon. By design, there are things you have to design, like the characters of two software titles (Nintendo DS). And I produced this 30 mobile software."
(Note from Gordman: The beauty salon is called "Another Heaven" and is placed in Yokohama)
Gordman: "I read that you like the products from Rockstar Games. Which are your favorite series (like Midnight Club or Grand Theft Auto) from Rockstar Games?"
Asuka: "Red Dead Redemption."
Gordman: "In wrestling, your entrance theme is called "The Sun Rises" by Rei Kondo from the game Okami. Is there anything special for you in relation to this wonderful game?"
Asuka: "OKAMI is the best game. Then, the main theme of the game ("The Sun Rises") is best."
Gordman: "My website is dedicated to the Sega Master System. What do you think about this cult console from the ’80s and ’90s?"
Asuka: "I love Sega. It is also my motion capture "Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown". I am particularly fond of Mega Drive (Rampart, Crying, Gunstar Heroes, Dynamite Headdy, Granada)."
Gordman: "Arigatou, Kana! I wish you all the best in the future!"
3000 games! You can see from that fact alone that when Asuka is passionate about something, she grabs it with both hands and runs with it. And that has fared her incredibly well; it’s with this drive that she’s been able to excel in multiple fields.
Asuka and Her Passion For Video Games and Motion Capture Work
As seen in the above interview with Gordman, Asuka humbly and casually brought up that she played a part in Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown’s motion capture. Since she’s too humble to bring it up often or brag, we’ll do it for her… that’s EPIC! The only other time she brought it up again was many years later in a tweet where she said, "By the way, I participated in Virtua Fighter 5 series’ Motion actors!"
In the interview, Asuka also mentions her favorite Rockstar game being Red Dead Redemption. Considering that particular interview is quite old, one would wonder and assume she was stoked about Red Dead Redemption 2, released in October 2018. But don’t worry, we can confirm she was.
She tweeted, "I can’t wait for #RDR2," just days before its release.
Finding information about Asuka’s work with Xbox Magazine is difficult, but this golden footage below can be found from Asuka’s time working with them. Skip to the 5:30 mark if you want to see Asuka go beast mode! You won’t regret it!
WATCH: Asuka when she worked for Xbox Magazine
Wrestler Asuka on Owning a Hair Salon
All it takes is a glance at the various hairstyles of Asuka over the years to see how she certainly knows what she’s doing! But let’s validate her skills anyway…
The hair salon she owns is called "Another Heaven" and is located in Yokohama, Japan. She shared a photo of her stopping by the salon in July 2016 and revealed that she designed the logo for Another Heaven herself, putting her graphic design skills to good use.
"My hair salon ‘Another Heaven’ in YOKOHAMA. Logo designs by Asuka!!" she tweeted.
AEW’s Executive Vice President, Kenny Omega, is among those who have visited her salon. Asuka sent a tweet his way in December of 2016 saying, "Thank you for coming to my hair salon!" to which Omega replied, "It was a great experience! And of course, I need a champion’s hairstyle like you!"
The Rise of Her YouTube Channel, KanaChanTV
Asuka launched her YouTube channel, KanaChanTV, in September of 2019. It’s very exciting for Asuka fans because she’s largely a private person, so for her to share parts of her day-to-day life through YouTube means a great deal to her fans.
Since the launch of KanaChanTV, Asuka has remained consistent with her uploads, providing fun content ranging from her playing video games to cooking to vlog style videos. In the first three months of her channel going live, she amassed 140,000 subscribers. It’s definitely worth subscribing to if you haven’t already!
Immediately upon hearing the news that Asuka was starting this channel, many fans compared it to Xavier Woods’ UpUpDownDown channel, which at first was understandable. UpUpDownDown is a gaming channel, Asuka is a huge gamer, her first video was a game video, and it was just assumed that it would be a gaming-themed channel, too, but as the first few months of her channel has shown, that’s not really the case. Asuka’s videos are more about her life on the road and her passion for food than anything at this point, so to straight compare them at this stage isn’t accurate. Her channel may take more of a UpUpDownDown direction with time, but one thing is for certain, Asuka is incredibly smart, and you never know what she’s got up her sleeve!
And if all of this all wasn’t enough, Asuka used to be a figure skater and badminton player when she was younger. As this article shows, some people can’t be contained by one passion!
Some of these quotes about the fascinating life of Asuka outside of wrestling come from our long-form article entitled, Wrestlers Outside the Ring — "My Life Outside The Squared Circle." Stories include Braun Strowman’s career as a strongman, a look into Chris Jericho’s rockstar life as the lead singer of Fozzy, Mustafa Ali’s past career as a police officer, and a look at Jack Gallagher’s undefeated MMA career. It’s an article you don’t want to miss!
While we’re at it, here are some other stories showing a different side of your favorite superstars!
- Roddy Piper: From The Streets to the Big Time
- Strange Bedfellows: Politics, a Playground for Ex-Wrestlers
- Wrestling Heroes | 4 Wrestlers Who Went Beyond the Call of Duty