TNA former champion Samoa Joe posted today in MySpace:
Remembering a friend.
This morning when I got home I began moving old boxes of clothes out of my garage and I came across a designer Impala jacket that was given to me by Shinya Hashimoto. It was a simple gesture but one I remember to this day. There was no reason why he gave it to me it was just the type of person he was. I gotta admit I miss the man, pro wrestling as a whole died a little bit when he passed.
I was wanting to write a blog about some of my fondest memories but upon delving into my old livejournal I found one that I feel still best embodies the type of person he was.
**Originally posted July 11th 2005
I won’t mince words and say that in my recent days that I have been fan of things that have occurred when the name Shinya Hasimoto is mentioned, but I always have respected the man.
When the news of Hashimoto’s passing reached me through several phonecalls through out the night, I found myself moved far more than even I would have expected. As of right now I am typing this entry from a hotel lobby in rural Weatherford Oklahoma broken down during a cross country drive taking myself and helping move my significant other back to California.
I sat in the parking lot last night and for the 1st time in a long time I thought back to my days with ZERO ONE and all of my experiences with Hashimoto. When I took the time to really recall these moments I realized what a dramatic impact he had made in my life and my career.
When I 1st started in Japan my knowledge of Hashimoto was limited albeit somewhat educated. It was only when I began to wrestle across the ring from the man that I truly realized what it meant to be a star. Hashimotos ambiance did not lie in a flashy gimmickry, trend setting re-invention or the intangible coolness, of his musketeer brethren. Hashimoto had foregone the pomp and circumstance of wrestling and simply sought to be the embodiment of an ideal. The ideal that was the founding principle of the dojo that produced him which was derived from the centuries old warrior customs of his culture. Hashimoto embodied Toukon, The Fighting Spirit.
Once at a preliminary training session, Hashimoto had quizzed a group of relatively clueless gaijin about the most important aspect of Professional Wrestling. Answers sprung forth pleading a case for “Technique” and “Psychology”, but Hashimoto simply pointed at his eyes and said “The Fire”. The fire, the burning spirit, the unyielding will, even in the face of insurmountable challenges. With a simple gesture and the most intense stare I had ever seen I understood all these things that I have just listed and nodded in compliance.
Hashimoto’s popularity was no accident as he represented the very essence of the much vaunted Samurais of old. He was a single ideal, by any means necessary, no questions asked, decisiveness personified. Enter the ring and destroy the opposition that is in front of you. Hakaio.
In his simplicity you could find his brilliance and the basis for his astounding charisma.
Outside of the ring Hashimoto was the polar opposite. Kind, gentle, and always ready to crack a joke or hear one, he enjoyed life and was always easy to smile. If you had never seen him in the ring you would guess him to be a late night variety talk show host complete with staged breakfalls and wacky accenting sound effects to enhance his often jovial demeanor. In my time spent in Japan with Hashimoto he was also generous. I remember one night I was sulking around the ZERO ONE offices harrassing boss Nakamura to hurry up and finish working so we could go out drinking and watching Samurai TV. Hashimoto came in to do some late night work in his office and he was astounded to find me sitting in the office bullpen pitching in and counting out tickets just to pass the time. He tried to express his gratitude as best he could in his limited english but I assured him that it was ok and I was more than happy to oblige.
The next week Hashimoto had caught wind that I was going out on a date. Remembering my very mild efforts the week before, he assigned his car and driver to me and paid for my evening in full. It was a gesture often unheard of in most workplaces but it is a gesture that will always be endeared to me. Also his words before I started my night
“Joe-san, tonight no fire in eyes, Tonight eyes clear. I teach you too much”.
I nodded in agreement and made my way to the door. As I approached the office bullpen packed to the brim with busy employees his voice stopped me again
Hai Hashimoto-san!” I replied
“If tonight you feel fire in your pants, please go to hospital!”
The office erupted in delayed laughter as the english speaking employees quickly explained to the others in between gasping chuckles. I turned around and faced the red visaged hysterical Hashimoto and bowed deeply
HAI HASHIMOTO-SAMA! Mochiron!
God bless you Hashi, Find happiness.