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Yakuza who stabbed famed wrestler Rikidozan dies in Tokyo

TOKYO (TR) – The former organized crime member who stabbed famous wrestler Rikidozan five decades ago has died at the age of 74, reports the Sankei Shimbun (Apr. 13).

Katsuji Murata, once a member of the Sumiyoshi-kai, died of natural causes on April 9 after suffering from diabetes.

Rikidozan rose to immense fame by defeating foreign opponents in the immediate aftermath of World War II.

On the evening of December 8, 1963, the wrestler was confronted by Murata inside the New Latin Quarter club in Tokyo’s Akasaka district. A fight erupted in the bathroom, and Rikidozan was stabbed by Murata in the abdomen with a knife. One week later, he died in a Tokyo hospital as a result of complications from peritonitis. He was 39 years old.

Murata was found guilty of manslaughter and served seven years in prison.