Kenji Shibuya also had a lot of success as a tag team with Mitsu Arakawa..
Kenji Shibuya lived in Hayward, CA, and took care of the koi fish at the local Japanese Buddhist Temple ..
May 3, 2010: Kenji Shibuya passed away in Hayward, California at the age of 88.
Dave Meltzer wrote (May 4): Robert “Kinji” Shibuya, who was one of pro wrestling’s biggest stars of the 60s and early 70s in California, passed away at his home in Hayward, CA, at the age of 88. Shibuya was a San Francisco wrestling institution, headlining the Cow Palace on numerous occasions, both as a single as well as with tag team partners Mitsu Arakawa and Masa Saito. Shibuya & Arakawa were best known for matches against Nick Bockwinkel & Wilbur Snyder and Ray Stevens & Don Manoukian during the heyday of San Francisco wrestling when the Cow Palace was the hottest wrestling arena in the United States. He also dabbled in acting, and was well known after his retirement in the late 70s for raising koi fish. Robert Shibuya played the stereotypical Japanese heel role, but he was actually from Utah, and was a college football star in the 40s at the University of Hawaii. During the mid-60s, when he held the United States heavyweight championship, he was generally considered one of the top ten stars in the industry.
Mike Aldren wrote (May 10th): Robert “Kinji” Shibuya passed away last week in East LA at the age of 88. Shibuya was a major star during the 1960s and early 70s. He played a traditional Japanese heel famously teaming with Masa Saito in Roy Shire’s San Fransisco and Lebelle’s Los Angeles territories where they were billed as cousins. Ironically, Shibuya was originally from Utah, and would often joke that the closest he ever came to Japan was changing planes en route to Australia. He also had a lot of success as a tag team with Mitsu Arakawa. After retirement, he bought a home in Hayward, CA, and was known for farming Koi fish at a local Buddhist Temple.
Mike Aldren wrote: Some notes from Mike Lano on the passing of Robert “Kinji” Shibuya last week in California. Shibuya had been suffering from Altimer’s disease for some time and his wife had moved him to a nursing home near Oakland. He did actually tour Japan–twice with All Japan under Giant Baba after he got his start in Honolulu during the 1950s, and was also a star in Detroit and Indianapolis.