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A tsukibito (付き人?) is a rookie or trainee who serves as a personal attendant/assistant to his/her shishō or a wrestler in a higher rank.

Since Rikidōzan, a former rikishi, established the fundamentals of puroresu, there are many rules and customs in puroresu that were originated in sumō. Tsukibito was no exception.

Ishizawa Tokimitsu as Inoki's tsukibito (circa 1994)

Duties of a typical tsukibito for his/her shishōs may include but not limited to:

  • seconding during the match
  • being sparring partner
  • carrying bags
  • preparing for the match: washing ring robes, costume, and clothes, lacing up the boots, etc.
  • accompanying for personal/private matters (e.g. dining out, partying, playing golf, etc.)

In some cases, when a wrestler leaves the promotion for another group, tsukibito often follows the shishō. For example, Yamamoto Kotetsu was the first one to follow Antonio Inoki when Inoki was expelled from JWA and formed New Japan Pro-Wrestling. When Sayama Satoru left New Japan in 1983 and opened the Super Tiger Gym, Yamazaki Kazuo joined him as one of the instructors.

New Japan terminated the tsukibito system in 2000. Other two major organizations, All Japan Pro-Wrestling and Pro Wrestling NOAH continue the tradition.


Almost every Japanese wrestler who debuted before 2000 was a tsukibito for another wrestler at some point. Some examples: