Shingo Tagaki Had To Shave His Head For Abusing A Monkey In Dragon Gate

Hamish Woodward

In 2009, Japanese wrestling was shocked when the ritual abuse of a pet monkey was revealed to be rife throughout Dragon Gate. The wrestling promotion that prided itself on high-flying action and incredible professional wrestling was under the spotlight, as its dirtiest secret was revealed to the world.

The animal abuse scandal of 2009 rocked the company to its core, and brought huge shame upon the promotion. Six of the most important people in the company were punished for the misdeeds, including the company’s president and one the top stars in the promotion – former IWGP World Heavyweight Champion, Shingo Tagaki.

In 2009, graduates from the Dragon Gate dojo were in hot water after details of their regular abuse of a monkey was revealed by wrestlers blogging on the Dragon Gate website.

Kora was a monkey that was the victim during the Dragon Gate animal abuse scandal. Kora was the pet of Dragon Gate legend CIMA, who attempted to leave the company to join the WWE at this time (wrestling in a dark match against Jamie Noble on Smackdown in 2009). He gifted the monkey to the Dragon Gate dojo, tasking the trainees to look after Kora, teaching them about responsibility (monkeys are a restricted pet in Japan, and owners need permission from the authorities to keep them as pets).

Dragon Gate trainee YO-HEY was given the monkey to look after, which is where the abuse of the creature is said to have begun. YO-HEY detailed the abuse of the animal in a now-defunct blog, which was written from the perspective of the animal.

In the blog, YO-HEY wrote all about the abuse that he inflicted on the monkey, detailing the horrific violence in detail from the first-person perspective of the monkey. The blog was taken down shortly after the abuse was noticed by the general public, but the details of what the monkey was put through has been chronicled since.

In the blog, YO-HEY documented the abuse the monkey suffered at the hands of him, and other members of the Dragon Gate Dojo. These include, but are not limited to;

  • Choking it by the neck until it passed out.
  • Burning it with hot charcoal.
  • Dragging it around by a chain on its neck, causing great pain and discomfort to the monkey.
  • Throwing the monkey into a tub of boiling hot water.
  • Blowing air into the monkey’s mouth, causing it to defecate immediately.
  • Feeding it sake regularly until it would pass out.
  • Attacking fire crackers to it and lighting them.
  • Locking it in a box while the Dragon Gate trainees spray antiperspirant in the box, causing the monkey to panic with fear.

Shingo Tagaki, were punished by being forced to shave their head. Shaving your head is used as a punishment in Japan often, as an act of humility by forgoing part of your identity to ask for forgiveness from others. Five other’s shaved their head too, including KAGETORA and Naoki Matsushita, HEY-YO, Commissioner Toru Kido, and President Okamura.

Obviously, the public has largely forgiven Shingo Tagaki for his part in the abuse, as he is one of the top stars in New Japan Pro Wrestling and a former IWGP World Heavyweight Champion.

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