Who is Saya Kamitani (Stardom/Stardom Idols) ?
Saya Kamitani (上谷沙弥) is a trainee of Stardom: a Japanese female pro wrestling promotion. She took the test to become a pro wrestler and passed it on July 10, 2019. She had a background in Baito AKB, the collaboration project between Baitol, a Japanese portal site for part time work, and AKB48, a Japanese female idol group from September 2014 to February 2015. The members of Baito AKB participated in stages, rehearsals, and handshake events of AKB48 as a part time job. She was selected as one of the members among over 10,000 applicants.
Saya Kamitani joined Stardom Idols in November 2018, an idol group as well as a sister promotion of Stardom. As Tam Nakano, a member of Stardom, was the general manager of Stardom Idols, they had an opportunity to perform their original songs as an opening act of Stardom. After that, they were seeing Tam Nakano wrestle and cheering her up in loud voices.
Then, she also became the trainee of Stardom in January 2019 along with her idol activity, and she finally got the chance to take the test with Manane Hoshio, who also became a trainee from Stardom Idols. Saya is training hard to debut on Aug. 10, 2019 at Korakuen Hall.Her potential is highly expected because she has the backgrounds of gymnastics and dance. What is more, her height is 1.68 m (5 ft 5 in). She is the highest among Japanese wrestlers in Stardom. She might become the next Io Shirai in the near future.
Many Aspiring Idols Debut as A Wrestler in Japan.
In contrast, I had a painful feeling when I heard the news. The reason was I didn’t think she originally wanted to be a real wrestler. She applied for Stardom Idols just to become an idol. Indeed, it had been explained that the center of the group had been selected by wrestling (it is changed to battle or game now), but their performance was mock wrestling, that made me feel that they didn’t wrestle seriously. Despite that, what made her decide to debut as a real wrestler? I guess that she might have had a change of mind while she was feeling familiar to pro wrestling. Not only that, she might have realized that she needed to become a real wrestler to be the center of Stardom Idols. Or was she scouted out for Satrdom and go with the flow? (It’s just my imagination.)
I think that it is a bright news for a female pro wrestling industry. I, however, just wonder if this is what she really wants to do because pro wrestling is dangerous (I love pro wrestling, though), so she has to risk her life off as long as she wrestles in Stardom. I have seen many aspiring actresses or idols debut to become prominent. Meanwhile, I have also seen many of them retired without realizing their goals…What I can do is just to hope that she will do well without big injuries.
(The below content was added on August 9, 2019)
A Japanese TV Program, “# of Two Persons (2人の#)”, Closely Covered Saya Kamitani.
Saya Kamitani was closely covered by a Japanese TV program, “# of Two Persons(2人の#)”, which was broadcasted by the national TV company on August 7, 2019. In the program, Saya Kamitani told the reason why she decided to become a pro wrestler, that made me feel the dark side of female pro wrestling industry.
Saya Kamitani originally joined Stardom Idols just to become an idol. As a matter of fact, she failed to pass auditions after the disbandment of Baito AKB. So, it was the last chance to accomplish her dream, and she finally got the chance to make a debut as an idol again. The staff of Stardom Idols, however, proposed that members debut as real pro wrestlers as well.
She continued that “I managed to pass the audition, but I wouldn’t be able to continue the activity of Stardom Idols if I didn’t become a pro wrestler.”, that made me feel that the staff took advantage of her dream… Seven members started the training, but four of them left the group because of the hard training.
What was worse, her mother disagreed with her decision. Her mother said “Saya is seemingly not suitable to wrestle in a ring.” Also, she continued that “I have the feeling that I have never felt before. Just imaging that my daughter will be thrown and kicked hurt me.” I knew how she felt.
Saya Kamitani was hearing her mother’s words with complicated feelings. Saya was apparently feeling sorry as well as worrying about her own decision because she didn’t look straight at her mother. Saya, however, believed that she had no choice but to become a wrestler as only way to stay in the group, because she didn’t think she had strength such as appearance to differentiate herself.
In contrast, while Saya Kamitani was talking with Tam Nakano, an ex-general manager of Stardom Idols, she was seemingly happy because she could find the goal, becoming a pro wrestler, to retain, and she was working on it. Indeed, Saya couldn’t find things which could passionate her after Baito AKB, but pro wrestling gave her the reason for her to live, she said.
When I saw her sparring, I was impressed by her drop kick. The height of the kicking point and powerful energy made me feel her potential. Saya Kamitani declared that “I will become a pro wrestler. Not only that, I won’t give up becoming an idol.”
One day before her debut, Stardom Idols Announced the dissolution of the partnership with Stardom as of August 10, 2019.
I was surprised at the news today. Not only that, Stardom Idols will change the group name. There is no information about how they are acting after the dissolution. Perhaps, they won’t have something to do with pro wrestling industry anymore. Saya Kamitani, however, belongs to Stardom as well as Stardom Idols along with Manane Hoshino.
I feel sad at the news because Saya Kamitani must be confused by the issues between Stardom and Stardom Idols just one day before her important event. Saya used to say “I managed to pass the audition, but I wouldn’t be able to continue the activity of Stardom Idols if I didn’t become a pro wrestler.”, but I wonder if it’s true in this situation. If I were in her shoes, I would have a feeling of distrust to the staff of Stardom Idols who proposed her to be a pro wrestler.
Saya has reached the point of no return. I feel pity for Saya to make a debut while being involved in the trouble between promotions. Saya Kamitani is going to debut on August 10, 2019.
(The below content was added on August 23, 2019)
Saya Kamitani made a debut on August 10, 2019
Saya finally made a debut at Korakuen Hall, and her opponent was Momo Watanabe, who is the future ace of Stardom. Before Saya made her way to the ring, she started dancing at the entrance gate. That was very beautiful as well as made me realize a background of dance. Saya was trying to keep on smiling, but Saya sometimes showed nervousness on her face.
After the gong was rung, Saya entertained the fans by the acrobatic movesets such as a cartwheel and a flexible bridge, which were based on gymnastics. What was more, her movesets were really sharp and dynamic, that was important factors to attract pro wrestling fans.
In contrast, there were some scenes that Saya still looked weak. When Saya was attacked with Momo’s elbow, Saya didn’t take bumps, but collapsed as if she were amateur. Although she has a high potential for becoming a star, Saya would need more training to improve her physical strength as well as wrestling skills.
A week after her Stardom debut, Saya had two matches at Shinkiba 1st Ring on August 17th and 18th. Both matches were tag team matches, and the careers of her partners and opponents were almost as short as that of Saya except for Riho, who wrestle at AEW and Stardom. They were not as serious as her debut match, and Saya seemed to enjoy the wrestling.
At the match on the 18th, her partner Rina pinned Hina, so Saya experienced the winning for the first time in her wrestling career. What was more, Utami Hayashishita, who beat Arisa Hoshiki at the main event, called Saya to the ring, and they made the same hand signs which represents Queen’s Quest, which is the group Utami belongs to.
It’s just my imagination, but Utami and Saya might form a tag team in the future. The reason is that the combination of a boyish-looking wrestler, Utami, and a girlish-looking wrestler, Saya is the classic team in Japan from old times.
For examples, there were many tag teams which had been favored by Japanese pro wrestling fans.
*Beauty Pair (Jackie Sato & Maki Ueda)
*Marine Wolf (Akira Hokuto & Minami Suzuka)
*Manami Toyota & Toshiyo Yamada
*Hikaru & Mika Nishio
*Takumi Iroha & Risa Sera etc.
If Saya would work on training, she might become a tag champion with Utami. Not only that, they will definitely make a debut as singers like other tag teams such as Beauty Pair, Crush Gals etc. did before.
(The below content was added on September 1, 2019)
An Unbelievable Tweet by Saya Kamitani
I found a shocking tweet of a Stardom fan on September 1, which was about Saya Kamitani. The fan said that Saya had tweeted that “I was told that I would get fired from Stardom Idols unless I became a pro wrestler. So, I became a pro wrestler. I, however, got fired from Stardom Idols.”
(A post on 2channel, a Japanese text board, said Saya’s tweet had already been deleted.)
Stardom Idols terminated the partnership with Stardom as of August 10, 2019. Saya might have to leave Stardom Idols because of the negotiation between Stardom and Stardom Idols. I wondered how cruel Stardom Idols was… They definitely changed a girl’s life, who just wanted to become prominent as an idol.
Stardom Idols, however, officially hasn’t said anything about Saya Kamitani, so I have no choice but to wait and see. If Saya will leave Stardom because of this trouble, I will agree with her choice.