The WWE announced on their website that Hall of Famer Harry Fujiwara, known to WWE fans as Mr. Fuji, passed away this morning at the age of 82. He was infamous for often throwing salt in the eyes of face wrestlers. Although he was billed as Japanese, he was a Japanese American born in Hawaii. Fuji spent more than 30 years entertaining fans worldwide as both an in-ring competitor and one of WWE’s greatest managers. A five-time WWE World Tag Team Champion, Fuji was infamous for keeping small bags of salt in his tights which he would throw into his opponents’ eyes. After retiring from the ring, Fuji managed a litany of WWE’s most feared Superstars, such as George “The Animal” Steele, Kamala, Killer Khan, Demolition, The Powers of Pain, Yokozuna and most notably, “Magnificent” Don Muraco. With Muraco, Fuji treated WWE fans to the classic Fuji Vice, Fuji General, Fuji Bandito and Fuji Chan series. These series were ahead of their time because spoofing successful television shows as they tried to break into Hollywood was the epitome of sports-entertainment.
His career will be remembered by different generations for different reasons but Mr. Fuji, whether as a Superstar or manager, is one of the most entertaining performers in the history of WWE. Fuji’s greatest success and popularity as a manager came in November 1992 when he introduced the mammoth Yokozuna to the WWF. Under Fuji’s tutelage, Yokozuna won the 1993 Royal Rumble match and two WWF World Championships, first from Bret Hart at WrestleMania IX, and again from Hulk Hogan at King of the Ring. Later that year, Fuji was joined by “spokesman” James E. Cornette. In late 1993, Fuji once again began managing Crush after he turned on Randy Savage. During this time he again changed his appearance, abandoning the tuxedo and bowler hat in favor of a traditional Japanese kimono and carrying the Japanese flag.
Fuji was last seen accompanying Yokozuna to the ring for a six-man tag team match involving Yokozuna against “Camp Cornette” at WrestleMania 12. By this point Yokozuna had fired Cornette and became a fan favorite; Fuji joined him in the endeavor, even carrying the American flag at times. Fuji left the WWF shortly after and retired from the pro wrestling business.After leaving wrestling, Fujiwara retired to the city of Knoxville, Tennessee. In 1997, he sued the makers of the video game WCW vs. nWo World Tour, claiming that the character “Master Fuji” was based on him. Though the basis of this character was actually Japanese wrestler Yoshiaki Fujiwara (no relation), it was actually close enough to Mr. Fuji that the lawsuit was settled in Fujiwara’s favor.