Kantaro Hoshino
Professional wrestling career
Height 170 centimeters (5 ft 7 in.)
Weight 95 kilograms (209 lbs.)
Debut December 22, 1961


Kantaro Hoshino (星野 勘太郎, Hoshino Kantarō, October 9, 1943 – November 25, 2010)[1] was a Japanese born, Korean professional wrestler, manager, and promoter best known for his time in New Japan Pro Wrestling. As a wrestler he was perhaps best known for his team: The Yamaha Brothers with Kotetsu Yamamoto. As a manager: he co-led with Tadao Yasuda the heel stable: the Makai Club.


Hoshino began his wrestling career after previously attempting a professional boxing career. He was trained by the father of Puroresu: Rikidozan. Using the name Kantaro Hoshino, he wrestled his debut match on December 22, 1961 against Atsuhide Koma (Mashio Koma, future NWA World Middleweight Champion).

Over the next few years, Hoshino worked his way up the card and paid his dues. In 1967, he was sent on a learning visit to the United States with fellow up and comer Kotetsu Yamamoto, with the two forming the tag team: The Yamaha Brothers with Hoshino using the name Great Yamaha. While in America, Hoshino enjoyed championship success. On August 3, 1967, the Yamaha Brothers won the AWA Southern Tag Team Championship. They would hold the titles for a week before losing them on August 10 to Bad Boy Hines and Len Rossi.[2] Nine days later, Hoshino won the NWA Southern Junior Heavyweight Championship, he would hold the title until August 31.[3]

By the end of the decade Hoshino returned to the JWA. In 1970, Hoshino teamed with Antonio Inoki in the first NWA World Tag League tournament which they won defeating Nick Bockwinkel and John Quinn in the finals.[4] Hoshino was also the first opponent of Mexico's Mil Máscaras in Japan.

Following the JWA closing in 1973, Hoshino jumped to New Japan Pro Wrestling where he remained for the rest of his career. By the mid 1970s, he and Yamamoto reformed the Yamaha Brothers team, although going individually by their Japanese ring names instead of their American gimmicks.

On January 21, 1979, The Yamaha Brothers entered the International Wrestling Enterprise and defeated Animal Hamaguchi and Great Kusetsu to win the IWA World Tag Team Championship.[5] They would hold the titles for a month before dropping them to Hamaguchi and Mighty Inoue on February 23.[6]

In 1980, Yamamoto retired from wrestling ending the Yamaha Brothers. Hoshino spent the remainder of his in-ring career in the low midcard no longer competing for championships or tournaments. After 15 more years of wrestling, Hoshino retired on February 19, 1995 wrestling Osamu Kido to a 10-minute draw.[7]

Retirement and deathEdit

After retiring Hoshino continued to work with New Japan as a promoter where he help promote New Japan shows in Kobe.[8] In 2002, Hoshino returned to New Japan as a co-leader of the stable Makai Club. During his time in the Makai Club, Hoshino would earn some popularity with New Japan fans with his "BISSHIBISSHI" catchphrase.[9] On May 1, 2003, Hoshino returned to the ring in a 9-man New Japan alumnus Battle Royal which he co-won with former partner: Kotetsu Yamamoto.[10] After the Makai Club broke up in 2004, Hoshino would hold a President Hoshino 10,000,000 Yen Offer Tag Tournament which was won by Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Shinsuke Nakamura.[11]

On March 6, 2007, Hoshino would become one of the first inductees in the NJPW Greatest Wrestlers Hall of Fame.[12]

In late 2008, Hoshino returned to NJPW for one final program. On December 7, he helped No Limit (Tetsuya Naito and Yujiro) defeat Gedo and Jado to retain their IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship,[13] which led to his last match on December 22, 47 years to the day after he debuted, where he defeated Gedo in a street fight.[14]

On February 4, 2009, Hoshino suffered a stroke and his health declined until his death on November 25, 2010 due to pneumonia. He was 67 years old.[15]

In WrestlingEdit

Championships and accomplishmentsEdit


  1. "Kantaro Hoshino". Retrieved 2011-07-02.
  2. "Kantaro Hoshino". Retrieved 2011-07-02.
  3. "Kantaro Hoshino". Retrieved 2011-07-02.
  4. "Pro Wrestling History". Retrieved 2011-07-02.</
  5. "IWE World Tag Team Championship". Retrieved 2011-07-02.</
  6. "IWE World Tag Team Championship". Retrieved 2011-07-02.
  7. "1995 Results". Retrieved 2011-07-02.
  8. "Strong Style Spirit". Retrieved 2011-07-02.
  9. "Strong Style Spirit". Retrieved 2011-07-02.</
  10. "Strong Style Spirit". Retrieved 2011-07-02.
  11. "Strong Style Spirit". Retrieved 2011-07-02.
  12. "Greatest Wrestlers". New Japan Pro Wrestling. Retrieved 2014-08-23.
  13. "Circuit2008 New Japan Alive" (in Japanese). New Japan Pro Wrestling. Retrieved 2014-11-02.
  14. "Kantaro Hoshino". Retrieved 2011-07-02.
  15. "Kantaro Hoshino". Retrieved 2011-07-02.
  16. "Kantaro Hoshino". Retrieved 2011-07-02.
  17. "Kantaro Hoshino". Retrieved 2011-07-02.
  18. "Pro Wrestling History". Retrieved 2011-07-02.