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Wrestling / Jinsei Shinzaki

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"Namu amida butsu."

"Hakushi (Jinsei Shinzaki in Japan these days) was actually quite the breath of fresh air in 1995, getting over without speaking English or wrestling WWF Main Event Style. This of course was far too threatening to those on top and he was crushed by The Kliq as a result."
Scott Keith at this article

Jinsei Shinzaki (born December 2, 1966, real name Kensuke Shinzaki) is a Japanese Professional Wrestler and promoter, best known for his work in Michinoku Pro Wrestling. Originally an actor and highschool wrestler trained by Gran Hamada as part of his Universal Lucha Libre project, Shinzaki debuted in pro wrestling as a masked named Mongolian Yuga, but he got his true beginning after following his friend The Great Sasuke to his new company. He re-debuted in Michinoku Pro Wrestling as Jinsei Shinzaki, a wrestling Buddhist pilgrim who brought a spiritual light to the discipline we know as lucharesu. For years he was a small yet vital part of the Japanese wrestling scene, so much that he was caught by the World Wrestling Federation and switched to the mystical character Hakushi. He brought some Japanese style wrestling to the American company until his inane return to his country. After his return, Jinsei worked in building relations among M-Pro and other companies, appearing in New Japan Pro-Wrestling, All Japan Pro Wrestling and Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling with several all star names. In 2003, he was made president of M-Pro when Sasuke went to politics, and he became instrumental in leading the promotion toward new times with Último Dragón's aid, just like he had been led in his pilgrimage around the professional wrestling. Currently, he remains as Michinoku Pro' big figure, as well as co-founder of joshi promotion Sendai Girls' Pro Wrestling along with Meiko Satomura.

"Nenbutsu Tropes":

  • Agony of the Feet: He once famously did his ropewalk Ogami Watari move in a ring rope made of barbed wire, stepping on the spikes with his thin jika-tabi without an inch of pain.
  • A Hero to His Hometown: He was cheered for by the fans when the WWF shows were in Japan even though he was booked as a heel, quite logically.
  • All Asians Know Martial Arts: He used Karate kicks and stances in WWF, probably to reinforce his Japanese nationality, although neither his character nor his real self have martial arts training (he is a former amateur wrestler, but that's it).
  • All-Loving Hero: Not matter what happens, Jinsei fights for good and forgives everybody. He is one of the few wrestlers in the violent puroresu scene who has no personal enmities to speak.
  • Always Someone Better: Subverted. Technically speaking, Shinzaki is every bit of agile as his perennial foe Sasuke and a lot stronger, but the sly ninja always finds a way to win at their encounters.
  • Arch-Enemy: Shinzaki has the Great Sasuke and Mitsuharu Misawa, though both in a relatively Friendly Enemy light. On the other hand, Hakushi had 1-2-3 Kid, Bret Hart and The Great Muta; as the tattoo guy doesn't emote very much, the degree of personal is ambiguous.
  • Badass Family: He is related to Dragon Gate's Dragon Kid.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: The feud between Hakushi and The Great Muta was considered to symbolize Good vs. Evil, but if it is really so, then we are pretty screwed, because Muta won their match rather easily and sent Haku to the underworld.
  • Bash Brothers: With The Great Sasuke, Hayabusa, GAINA and Taro Nohashi, as well as Keiji Mutoh and his own allies. As Hakushi, he had his lookalike Kokushi Muso.
  • Battle Strip: Once he enters the ring, he strips slowly and deliberately off his entrance attire and leaves it for the ring crew to take it aside.
  • Big Good: Whenever Sasuke is not with the good guys or competing at all, Shinzaki takes the mantle. He is officially the spiritual leader of MPW, so it is more or less natural.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: In Fighting Opera HUSTLE, Hakushi's corpse was abducted by the Takada Monster Army in order to be awakened and brainwashed into becoming one of its monsters. He was fortunately saved later.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: A notorious one in terms of wrestling style. He can do high-flying feats with ease, but his usual style is lazy and slow-paced, doing as few moves as possible and mostly relying on his gimmick and signature spots.
  • Character Tic: Putting his arms high and bringing them down with his palms together in front of his chest, as in a ceremonial oration motion. He does it pretty much for everything, from comunicating non-verbally to blessing a wrestling maneuver, with the consequence that he is constantly doing it. It was even parodied in a talk show, where they interviewed an impersonator of Shinzaki who answered to all the questions by doing silently the damn prayer.
  • Cosmic Plaything: Hakushi can't catch a break. He was killed by the Great Muta, resurrected only to be killed again by The Undertaker, and then again resurrected to be brainwashed by Generalissimo Takada. It seems that, aside from his friendship with Kokushi Muso, the guy knows no joy except when he is dead.
  • Combination Attack: He and Alexander Otsuka use the Meishan, an aided German suplex.
  • Cool Mask: As Mongolian Yuga, Mr. Nihon Kamikaze and Shikokuemon Saburo.
  • Cool Teacher: He is in charge of training new wrestlers in the MPW Dojo.
  • Cool vs. Awesome: His matches as Hakushi against The Great Muta and The Undertaker.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: He introduced the Muken, a modified northern lights suplex, when he needed more impact to compete with the King's Road moves practised in All Japan. He has never used it again.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: He got a grade of friendship with Sasuke after defeating him in his final match in MPW before leaving for America.
  • Divergent Character Evolution: Initially Hakushi was just Shinzaki with a more elaborate outlook, but after his WWF tenure he became somewhat of a separate entity. While Jinsei is a pilgrim wrestler who is more or less a normal guy, Hakushi is a sort of undead mystic whose body is buried, and they are theoretically neither one nor the same. However, kayfabe is not consistent with this; Keiji Muto blurred the line with his Kokushi Muso character and his teaming up with Hakushi, and Hakushi's first apparition as a separate character (when he was sent to Hell by Muta) was still called Jinsei Shinzaki. Muto's involvement is not casual, as his own relation to The Great Muta is another Continuity Snarl of vast proportions.
  • Dull Surprise/No-Sell: He is so stoic and spiritual that a mild grimace seems to be all his selling, and only after a very painful move.
  • Enlightenment Superpowers: Has spiritual powers to curse and/or exorcize the evil, though he rarely uses them. His alter ego Hakushi has also supernatural powers, being the most known of them his ability to die and resurrect without much trouble. In fact, he is in storyline entombed in the montains of Tohoku when not wrestling.
  • Facial Markings: They extended all over his body.
  • Feel No Pain: Evidently not in The Great Sasuke's level, but even so, he has an impressive pain tolerance.
  • Finishing Move:
    • Nenbutsu Powerbomb (a standing or sitout powerbomb preceded by a prayer), Koya Otoshi (the same, but with a crucifix powerbomb; done typically when the Nenbutsu Powerbomb fails at keeping the foe down) and Goku-Raku Gatame (a straight jacket camel clutch).
    • In the WWF, he was notable for the fact that he had no finishing move. He ended his matches with a random aerial move and never did the same twice.
  • Foreign Wrestling Heel: A subverted example. Hakushi never did much evil, he was just a bad guy because he was foreign.
  • Friendly Enemy: To Sasuke. Despite both being fan favorites, Shinzaki has been his most consistent adversary over the years.
  • Genre Savvy: Shinzaki knew that he couldn't win a classic King's Road chop exchange against an AJPW heavyweight, so he resorted to throw superkicks instead of attempting to return chops to the chest.
  • Hard Head: He doesn't indulge in headbutts like his friend Alexander Otsuka, but he is known to have a hard noggin which, combinated with his pain tolerance, makes him difficult to harm decisively.
  • Heel–Face Turn: It borders Early-Installment Weirdness for how difficult to imagine is, but Jinsei Shinzaki was originally a heel, an amoral Buddhist pilgrim who had been brought by Mr. Yamaguchi to weave a spiritual curse on the Great Sasuke and make him lose against Super Delfín. He left the Delfín Gundan when he went to WWF, but even before that he was already starting to be cheered for how cool and different from his evil pals he was. Naturally, he changed sides when he returned to Japan.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: He is highschool friends with Alexander Otsuka.
  • Human Notepad: As Hakushi, which has his skin completely covered in shakyo or Buddhist texts in a reference to the folk character Hoichi the Earless.
  • I Know Karate: Trained amateur wrestling in highschool, where he was also a succesfull soccer keeper.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Despite his beginning as a heel, in modern times he is one of the few wrestlers in Japan who has never turned heel (by his own will, at least) nor got involved in revolutions, takeovers, cult stables or similar stuff.
  • Light Is Not Good: Debuted as a heel in 1992 as a member of the Delfín Gundan, but became a fan favorite thanks to his gimmick and presence.
  • Lightning Bruiser: He is a smallish yet full-fledged heavyweight, unlike most of the M-Pro roster, but he still able to maneuver like a junior heavyweight.
  • Made of Iron: The old guy is very, very tough, and the fact that he doesn't show a lot of pain even when clearly affected gives an ever tougher vibe.
  • Magnetic Hero: He is known to have deep friendships with a lot of puroresu figures he has met in his ventures, namely Keiji Mutoh, Hayabusa, Mitsuharu Misawa, Jun Akiyama and Meiko Satomura.
  • Martial Arts Staff: Carries a shakujo staff around as part of his pilgrimage attire.
  • Masked Luchador: His beginning as Mongolian Yuga and his special character for the Fukumen World League, Saburo.
  • Meaningful Name: Jinsei means Life in Japanese. Similarly, Hakushi can be read as White Death (the way used in HUSTLE)or White Master/The White One (otherwise).
  • The Mentor: Towards Hayato Fujita during his initial short face run, as well as GAINA. In fact, he personally scouted them both before introducing them in MPW.
  • Neck Lift: Uses the chokeslam in smaller opponents.
  • Odd Friendship: Given the unusual nature of his gimmick, any team Shinzaki has taken part in counts as a very odd friendship. What does a Buddhist pilgrim like Shinzaki have to do with a crazy ninja like The Great Sasuke, a falcon wrestler like Hayabusa or a rock star like GAINA?
  • Only Sane Man: Independentaly of how wacky M-Pro becomes around him, Jinsei Shinzaki is always him.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Hakushi is technically dead, as he was sent to Hell by The Great Muta, and is exhumed every time he has to wrestle.
  • Power Stable:
    • Delfín Gundan in MPW.
    • BATT (Bad Ass Translade Trading) in NJPW.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: He was a part of the Delfín Gundan, but unlike the rest of members, who hated the good guys and were nasty and belligerant, he was simply there to do his job.
  • Put on a Bus: Hakushi was shamed out of the WWF by Bradshaw, who marked him in the arse with a burning iron.
  • The Quiet One: Doesn't talk very much, except while acting as the MPW general manager. His first mic line in his career was just before leaving MPW for WWF, and it remained the only in a long time.
    "My heart will ever be in Michinoku."
  • Red Baron: "Nenbutsu Daishi" ("The Grandmaster of the Buddhist Prayers"), "Mat no Junreisha" ("The Pilgrim of the Mat") and simply "Kamikaze".
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The blue to Sasuke's red.
  • Religious Bruiser: His gimmick is an arukihenro or Buddhist pilgrim.
  • Ring Oldies: At 49 years old as of 2016, Shinzaki is the oldest active wrestler in Michinoku Pro along with Último Dragón.
  • Signature Move: Nenbutsu Headbutt (a diving headbutt preceded by a prayer), Mandala Hineri (a reverse-twist dragon screw) and especially Ogami Watari (an arm twist ropewalk chop, just like The Undertaker's Old School, initiated from the ring apron and done with the free hand kept in a praying stance).
  • The Stoic: Nothing disturbs this fellow.
  • Straight Man and Wise Guy: Every time he teams up with Sasuke.
  • Supreme Chef: In real life, he owned a ramen shop named Tokushima Ramen Jinsei which was destroyed by the 2011 earthquake.
  • Terrible Trio: Himself, Shinja and Bull Nakano in WWF as the pawns of Jerry Lawler.
  • Those Two Guys: He was this with Keiji Mutoh in the BATT stable, which included both of them playing Hakushi and Kokushi Muso.
  • Unwitting Pawn: He was at his most "evil" in the WWF when Jerry Lawler gave a racist interview about Japanese people under the assertion he was merely quoting Bret Hart, causing Hakushi to relentlessly pursue Hart before being inexplicably dropped down the card.
  • Warrior Monk: More like a wrestler arukihenro, but still.
  • White Mask of Doom: He wore a plain, white lucha libre mask as Shikokuemon Saburo.