Guest Author - Vance Rowe
One of the most devious managers in WWE history, Mr. Fuji was a person that people loved to hate. Harry Fujiwara was born in Hawaii even though he went through his career as being billed from Japan. He was famous for throwing salt in the eyes of his opponents or the opponents of the wrestlers that he managed. The throwing of the salt was because the Japanese Sumo wrestlers threw salt in a ceremony of sorts before each match as they thought it would bring them luck in the match. It always brought Mr. Fuji luck as he won most of his matches after he “blinded” his opponents with the salt. He had a storied wrestling career and held many championships. He held the WWWF tag team championship three times with Professor Toru Tanaka and he held the WWF tag team championship twice with Mr. Saito. He has also held numerous singles and tag team titles in the different NWA territories back in the 1970’s.
However, he was most famous in the latter part of his career as being a manger. In fact, one of the low points of his managerial career was a storyline that he was involved with in Wrestlemania IX. The WWE was apparently trying to appease Hulk Hogan by giving him a championship belt since he and Brutus Beefcake lost the tag team titles earlier on the card to Irwin R. Shyster and the “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase. Bret Hart lost the World title to Yokozuna, which he wasn’t very happy about because he knew that Hogan was going to win the title. Mr. Fuji then threw a public challenge out to Hulk Hogan to come out and wrestle Yokozuna for the title. Hart told Hogan to go out there as he limped away from the ring. Hogan went out there and to the delight of the crowd, Hogan won the title from Yokozuna a few minutes later.
Mr. Fuji always wore a tuxedo with a bowler derby hat which was from the “Oddball” character in the James Bond movie “Goldfinger”. Fellow pro wrestler, Harold Sakata played the villain in the movie and his derby hat was the weapon of choice which was metal and had a razor blade brim and was thrown like a flying disk. However, when Mr. Fuji managed the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Yokozuna, he always wore a Japanese style kimono. That is also where he wrestled prior to his WWF career with Peter Maivia’s Wrestling Hawaii and was associated with one of Hawaii’s biggest heel wrestlers in Tor Kamata. He was also famous for what were supposed to be funny vignettes during WWF programming with “The Magnificent One” Don Muraco. The segments were about ten minutes long and some of the classic vignettes were “Fuji Vice”, a play on the popular television show at that time, Miami Vice and Fuji General which was supposed to be a soap operatic show like General Hospital.
Mr. Fuji was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2007 by Don Muraco. Fuji was in a wheelchair at the time as he has had numerous knee operations. On Sunday May 4, Mr. Fuji turned 71 years old.