For my second round of auto-ethnographic researching I decided to look at Japanese wrestling. The show in particular I chose to focus on was the first night of Stardom’s 5 Star GP tournament. Just finding the show was an experience in itself. After hours of searching and joining closed Facebook groups I finally found links to watch the show in its entirety. It was actually the first time I’ve watched a Japanese Joshi show from start to finish. I’ve seen a few acclaimed Joshi matches on YouTube but never a full show. I have always been intrigued by Joshi but never really knew how to follow it.
It’s quite hard to get access to the shows and matches internationally. Thankfully fans share a lot of content and that’s how I was able to access this show. It’s sort of sad that there is not option for international fans to support these shows. New Japan Pro Wrestling (the biggest wrestling promotion in Japan currently) has recently opened a streaming platform that’s available internationally. It features a large amount of their back catalogue and live shows for a small subscription. So hopefully its successful and other Japanese companies follow suit.
I went with a sort of review/reaction format because it just felt natural when talking about wrestling. I think this is because I get most of the Japanese wrestling related content through reviews. As I stated in my review I liked the show, especially the Io/Mayu match up. It was exemplary of what I believe modern Joshi (Japanese women’s wrestling) should be.
Stardom is one of the more ‘glamour’ focused promotions currently running in Japan. They even have a TV show Stardom Cafe that is “a monthly show that features the Stardom roster hanging out at restaurants and features an assortment of various clips from matches, modeling, and traveling.”(Source)
But Stardom seems like its in a sort of middle ground. It has the ‘glamour’ stuff but still puts on great matches. I feel as if this balance allows it to not feel like they are blatantly using sex to sell tickets.