13/03/2013 07:32 GMT | Updated 13/03/2013 07:35 GMT

Japanese Wrestler Politician, Skull Reaper A-Ji, Banned From Council Meeting For Refusing To Remove Mask

A Japanese wrestler-turned-politician has been banned from council meetings for refusing to remove his trademark mask when attending meetings.

Councilman Skull Reaper A-Ji was elected in the southwestern prefecture of Oita last month on a platform of educational reform, reports the Japan Daily Press.

The 44-year-old was told by the rest of the council he could not wear the mask, declaring it inappropriate to conceal his identity.

Skull Reaper A-Ji campaigned in his signature mask

After refusing to take off the Mexican "lucha libre” style mask, he was prevented from entering a meeting on Monday.

Speaking to local Japanese press Skull Reaper A-Ji described the ruling as "frustrating".

He added: "If I take my mask off, I’m an entirely different person. I will not take it off.”

In an interview with, Nishinippon Shimbun, he claimed the mask made it easier for his constituents to approach him.

Remarkably, Skull Reaper A-Ji is not the first masked Japanese politician.

Masanori Murakawa, otherwise known as "The Great Sasuke", was elected councillor back in 2003.

Wearing a similar mask to Skull Reaper A-Ji, Murakawa faced much the same criticism.

He said: "I have absolutely no intention of taking it off, no matter how much opposition there is."