A municipal legislator from Japan who goes by his pro-wrestling handle "Skull Reaper A-ji" won a seat on the Oita city council fair and square, but his fellow lawmakers are refusing to allow him to attend council meetings, claiming his Lucha-libre-style mask is in violation of a rule of order prohibiting council members from wearing hats while in session.
Skull Reaper flouted the mask ban when the council convened on Monday and was promptly restrained and removed.
"People find it easy to come up and talk to me because I have a mask on," the 44-year-old later told a local paper.
Despite being forcibly removed from the floor during the council's inaugural session, Skull Reaper says he has no plans to remove his mask anytime soon.
"If I take my mask off, I'm an entirely different person," he is quoted by the Nikkan Sports as saying. "I will not take it off."
Skull Reaper is not the first former pro-wrestler to run for public office in Japan, but others have had an easier time of it.
Super Delfin, founder of Osaka Pro Wrestling, was permitted to wear a mask in his capacity as public servant. Former assembly legislator The Great Sasuke was similarly allowed to keep his mask on.
Wrestler in office? I was more caught up in the fact that there is a lucha libre in Japan. More like a "rucha ribre." What do you think? Keep the mask? I think it's awesome. Councilman Skull Reaper will live on!