Usually we look forward to covering New Japan Pro Wrestling, but the big news coming out recently is pretty dark. Allegations are starting to come out accusing puroresu cult favorite Tomoaki Honma of abusing his longtime girlfriend. Kiyoko Ichiki, who is also a retired pro wrestler, revealed in an interview with Yahoo Japan that after living with Honma for 18 years, the domestic abuse issues have been present for the past four years. Ichiki went to the press after a recent incident that started at a local restaurant. Thanks to translation from Reddit user TheDamnNumbersGame, we have a summary of what she says went down. Just as a warning, it’s pretty terrible.
“…After returning home from the restaurant, the couple got into an argument, with Honma reacting quite violently to her. Ichiki, believing that she went too far, attempted to bow to Honma on her knees to plead for forgiveness (a Japanese gesture to express deep shame for one’s actions). Ichiki claims that Honma then kicked her upwards in the head when she knelt down.
Ichiki’s mother happened to be present at the scene, and tried to bow with her daughter to make Honma stop. Ichiki claims that Honma does not believe violence is bad. Honma, upon seeing Ichiki’s mother bow to her knees, is said to have shouted: ‘How the hell did you raise your kid this way?’
…Ichiki claims she had previously been dragged through the hallway and had her head struck, losing consciousness. Even though Honma has immediately apologized with tears after such episodes of abuse, promising that it wouldn’t happen again, the violence was a recurring event in the household. They have called the police before to deal with their issues.
…Ichiki is considering splitting up with Honma. The deciding factor for wanting to split was not the physical abuse, but Honma’s verbal tirades. Ichiki finds it difficult to say goodbye to a man she had lived with for 18 years. They both own a dog they both cherish, but Ichiki claims Honma has even shouted at the dog, threatening to take the dog to a shelter. She cannot stand Honma treating their pet like that.”
Immediately following publication of the interview, Honma released a statement denying all of the allegations against him, claiming “There is no way I would hit another person.” He also claims that any and all violence directed toward Ichiki has actually been in self-defense. It’s a terrible situation no matter how you look at it, but we’ll make sure to stay alongside of any updates. As for Honma’s in-ring career, it’s not unlikely to theorize that New Japan will take some kind of disciplinary action. In June 2014, NJPW suspended junior heavyweight wrestler Taichi and cut his pay after he was caught cheating on his wife, so there’s certainly precedent.