The ballad of Rikidōzan / Kim Sin-rak


Here’s a little music video / mini documentary I put together a while back. I figured that it actually fits pretty well with the theme of this blog, so here we go:

Rikidōzan is considered the father of Japanese professional wrestling (puroresu). This is a topic close to my heart. The video below basically works like a mini-documentary, so no prior knowledge of this topic is necessary (I think) to understand what is going on.

TL;DR summary: A video looking at the turbulent career of Rikidōzan and the birth of Japanese professional wrestling, culminating with Rikidōzan’s death and his two star pupils launching the next generation of puroresu promotions. I have also made quite a few videos on those two promotions- if you’re interested in stuff like this on any level, check out my youtube channel


I combined footage from various sources like original matches and Japanese TV broadcasts, as well as from the 2004 South Korean movie Yeokdosan. It’s a pretty good watch, but rather difficult to get a hold of. On top of that, I also included narration from various podcasts and whatnot. The main narration is by David Lee Roth of all people, as he dedicated an episode of his David Lee Roth show to Rikidozan.

I don’t want to spoil too much here, so let’s just say that there is a Korean tie-in to all of this. In my mind, it’s a really fascinating story worth looking into, but decide for yourself:


Additional info:
It’s worth noting that I’m not a historian and do not claim that this piece is 100% historically accurate. I’m sure the writers of the movie took some artistic liberties, and so did the narrators. I tried to represent all the facts to the best of my knowledge while also making some concessions to make for a better narrative. As such, the Lou Thesz footage is from a different match since I could not find any footage of the title match mentioned in the voice-overs. Furthermore, the Kimura match actually took place before the Rikidozan vs. foreigners matches, not afterwards as the video is structured. I thought this structure made more sense from a narrative perspective, hence the change.
I’m sure you can find a lot more stuff that I fucked up if you take a more detailed look. This is my first attempt at such a narrative-driven documentary-style video, so I’m sure there’s lots of stuff I still need to learn and improve on as well.

So anyway, hope you enjoy the video! And if you did, make sure to subscribe and check out my other videos, like the Mitsuharu Misawa trilogy.

Movie footage from Yeokdosan (2004)

Narration from:
– David Lee Roth (
– The Destroyer (Wrestling Observer Radio)
– Billy Robinson (Wrestling Observer Radio)
– Wrestling with the Past #8 – Introduction to Japanese Wrestling (Part1)
– Japanese Audio Wrestling (February 2014)

All footage belongs to the original owners, something something fair use, yada yada yada

Visit the MV Zone!


PS: You can apparently still visit Rikidozan’s grave in a pretty famous temple in Tokyo (as seen in the video). That’s definitely on my bucket list, as I unfortunately forgot to go there on my Tokyo trip.


One thought on “The ballad of Rikidōzan / Kim Sin-rak

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s