WWE Hall of Famer Harry Fujiwara, known to fans as Mr. Fuji, was devious on and off-camera, and these five stories will surely have you looking at him in a different light.
Warning: Reading any further may result in salt spontaneously being thrown into your eyes. Read on at your own risk.
1. Mr. Fuji and His Nonstop Ribs
“Fred Blassie, he always kept his suitcase with everything lined up, the towels, the shower shoes in the plastic, all nice and neat. Blassie was in the ring, and Fuji took some of his stuff — underpants, whatever, and he nailed it to the ceiling. Blassie got hot because he couldn’t find it. Then somebody said, ‘Why don’t you look up?'”
“Fuji’s [ribs] were nonstop: in the arena, in hotels, in airports, in restaurants. And Fuji was an instigator. He’d find weak-minded wrestlers and have them do ribs for him, to wreak more havoc. The man was incorrigible.
If you were sitting across from Fuji, drinking a cup of coffee, he was liable to slip in some laxatives when you weren’t looking. It would be time to go to the ring, and you’d be on the toilet, shitting your guts out. If he heard you on the phone, making airplane reservations, he’d call up the airline after you hung up and cancel your trip. You’d miss a booking, lose money, and Fuji would think it was funny.”
“Fuji tried to get silly in the ring with me one night. I let him get away with it because I figured somewhere down the line, I’m going to find out something about Fuji, and I’m going to use it against him in a rib.
Well, I found out that he had very ticklish feet. So one night we were in, I think it was Baltimore, and I grapevined his legs, and I started tickling him. I kept it up for about 10 minutes. To the crowd, it looked like he was in pain, absolute miserable pain. But he wasn’t, and I just kept it up and kept it up. And after that, he never did anything to me. He never pulled a rib on me outside the ring.”
2. Mr. Fuji Fixes Lex Luger’s Attitude Problem
“I like Lex Luger. A lot of guys don’t like Lex. When I first came into the business, Lex had kind of an attitude. Ya know…he’d just come in the room and wouldn’t talk to anyone, wouldn’t come up and say hi and that stuff at first…”
“He don’t speak to anyone.”
“It was Philadelphia. We went to eat, and Fuji heard about Lex’s attitude, the way he was. And so Fuji goes and sits across from him, starts talking to him — then he starts pissing on Lex’s boot. Lex didn’t move his boot because he heard about the way Fuji is. He just let him piss all over his boot. This was in a restaurant.
Fuji was funny. One time we were in Miami. We did a pay-per-view show – Barbarian and me – and afterward, we went back to the [hotel] and downstairs in the lounge, the place was packed.
Fuji was sitting there, and he started talking to the manager. I go over to Fuji and look down — Fuji’s pissing in the plant! Talking to the manager the whole time. He didn’t care.”
3. Mr. Fuji 1 — Sunny 0. Ribbing Tammy Sytch aka Sunny
“The very first rib that was pulled on me in the WWF was by the master of ribs, Mr. Fuji. Fuji was well-known and feared for his ribs because his weren’t always just fun and games. It wasn’t uncommon for him to cause harm to someone.
I had just begun on the road as Sunny, and I made sure I was cordial and respectful to everyone in the locker room, especially the old-timers.
Mr. Fuji had the nightly job of braiding Yokozuna’s hair. But this one night, as I was walking by them, he stopped me and asked me to braid Yoko’s hair because Fuji had a promo to shoot. Of course, I wasn’t going to say no to Mr. Fuji, so I walked behind Yoko and started combing and braiding. The seamstresses, who were right next to me, started laughing, but I didn’t know why. Then Mr. Fuji walked by us and laughed. Again, I had no idea why.
Then I smelled something foul, but I didn’t know what it was.
I realized what it was: YOK O’S HAIR!
His hair reeked like shit and sewage! He was so obese that he couldn’t raise his hands over his head to wash his hair, and it was pungent!
When I was done, I ran to my locker room to wash my hands, but I couldn’t get the stink off of them. It took three days for my hands to finally be Yoko-free. That’s why everyone was laughing.
Mr. Fuji 1 — Sunny 0.”
4. Mr. Fuji Serves a Meal Tanaka Never Forgot
“It was vicious back then [in the territory days].
I’ve got a story for you, alright? Here’s one. It’s a true story; it’s unbelievable. There was a guy named Mr. Fuji, master Fuji, and there was another oriental gentleman named Tanaka who was in James Bond who threw the hat. You remember.
Back in the day, in the territory, they would usually have an African American gentleman. And because of the war, they would have a Japanese gentleman, but only one of each in the territory. Well, in this territory at the time, they had Tanaka and Mr. Fuji.
The way the story goes, Tanaka had been going behind Mr. Fuji’s back to the office trying to gain position, and Mr. Fuji found out.
So time went on, and Mr. Fuji was with Tanaka, and they were going back and forth. It was Saturday, and they had a day off, and Mr. Fuji says, “Hey brudda, come on over, let’s get together. Bring the family. You like spaghetti? We’ll cook up some spaghetti and whatever you want. Just come on, brudda. Let’s get together!”
Tanaka comes over with his family, and they sure as heck had all this spaghetti. He serves it up, and he goes, “Oh brudda, I’m not feeling that well, just go ahead and eat!” And they ate the spaghetti and all the stuff. [Fuji] then goes, “I’ve got a special surprise for you!” And he had a silver platter and a silver thing over the silver platter, and he brought it, and he put it on the table, lifted it, and it was their dog’s head. They just ate their dog.
Tanaka left [the territory] the next day. True story.”
5. Drunk and Bare Outside an Old Folk’s Home
“Now legend has it, right? Now remember this, legend has it. Don’t get me involved in this! I’m an innocent bystander!
Harry Fujiwara, Mr. Fuji, remember him? I worked with Fuji in Hawaii in ’67 when he was Curtis Iaukea’s tag team partner. Well, Harry comes over here, and he’s in the territory for a while, and Lonnie [Mayne] and I were both heavy drinkers in those days. Lonnie would beat me because he would drink Southern Comfort like chocolate milk, and I was a wino. Fuji happened to like Crown Royal. He loved Crown Royal.
So we’re going down to Medford, and he’s never been to Medford before, and it’s a 200-something mile trip, and it’s a long, arduous drive down through the mountains. Lonnie says, “I’m going to take my raft and my shotgun, and we’ll try to get down there a little early, and we’ll shoot some ducks along the river. Do you like shooting ducks, Fuji?”
[In Mr. Fuji’s voice] “Oh, yes brudda, love shooting ducks!”
So we get going down towards Medford, and let’s have a drink! So I opened up a bottle of wine, Lonnie started sucking on whatever he was drinking there, and we gave Fuji a present of Crown Royal, and he thought, ‘Well, that’s wonderful!’ So we’re getting in it. By the time we get to the arena, Fuji is already three sheets to the wind, and all he had to do was manage somebody down there that night. I don’t remember who it was, so he didn’t have to work in the ring. He would have never made it! So Fuji’s in the dressing room, still sucking on his drink.
When we finished, he was in the dressing room, matches are over, and everyone was getting ready to go home, and he was gone. He had the whole bottle gone. He was out like a light. He was sound asleep. We finally got him up, put him in the car, and we never stopped to shoot any ducks or anything like that.
Legend has it, mind you, but now I find out what Lonnie was going to do with the shotgun and this raft. So we get back, and Fuji lived in an apartment over by the old Mclaughlin Golf Course over there. I forget what street that is. And right across from the golf course was this old folk’s home, six to eight stories, and there are all these watery ponds around the gardens.
So why did he stop? He pulls off to the side and goes, “Come on, come on!”
So he gets out, and he goes into the trunk, and he gets his shotgun, and I go, “You’re not going to shoot him, are ya?”
He said, “No, no, no, no!”
We got the raft out, and he’s pumping up the raft, and I said, “What are you going to do with the raft? Are you out of your mind drunk?”
“No, no, no, no, just pay attention! Pay attention!”
So he gets this big four-person raft, and he takes the raft, and he puts it into the water there, in one of those duck ponds. They’re only about four-foot deep, up to about [your waist] on you. The ducks or going, ‘Quack, quack!’ and the geese are going all over there. Early in the morning, there are hundreds of them there!
So he gets the raft and says, “Let’s go get Fuji.”
Fuji is out cold in the light! We get him, put him in the raft, take all of his clothes off of him, and I go, “Lonnie, you’re not going to do what I think you’re going to do, are you?”
So he takes the shotgun, puts it across Fuji’s lap, and pushes the raft out into the middle of that pond. This is getting close to 5 o’clock in the morning and daylight, and all of a sudden, you see the lights come on, and Lonnie goes, “Watch, watch!”
All these older adults are getting up to do their morning constitutional, walking around, and women are screaming, and guys are yelling and pointing, and there’s Fuji out there, bare-butt naked with a shotgun across his lap like this [with his head back].
Well, they called the police. We’re sitting down by the tennis court watching the police arrive, and the police are yelling at him! Fuji’s out cold. One guy in his blues had to wade out and pull Fuji in on the raft. They jumped that poor man, and he went to the hoosegow.
Fuji didn’t talk to us for about three months after that.”
The Death of Mr. Fuji
Legendary pro wrestler and backstage prankster Mr. Fuji passed away on August 28th, 2016, of natural causes. While he may be remembered for many things outside of the ring, we hope, above all, he will be recognized as being one of the most entertaining performers in the history of professional wrestling.
If you enjoyed this piece, be sure not to miss the following articles on our site:
- Owen Hart – The King of Ribs | Stories of Heart, Humor, and Humility
- Ribs and Practical Jokes in Professional Wrestling – The Best Stories
- Curt Hennig – Better Than Perfect
Sources used in this article: Slam! Sports, ‘Classy’ Freddie Blassie in his 2003 biography Listen, You Pencil Neck Geeks, Powers of Pain shoot interview (2004), Tammy’ Sunny’ Sytch’s autobiography A Star Shattered: The Rise & Fall & Rise of Wrestling Diva, Tagg Radio interview with Roddy Piper (2009), Dutch Savage shoot interview with Matt Legit
Some quotes used in this article compiled by Matt Pender and shared here with thanks to our friends over at ‘Wrestling’s Glory Days’ Facebook page