|Birth name||Yasuhiro Kojima|
|Born||July 22, 1937|
Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan
|Died||November 27, 1999 (aged 62)|
Tampa, Florida, United States
|Cause of death||Colon cancer|
|Professional wrestling career|
|Billed height||6 ft 1 in (185 cm)|
|Billed weight||231 lb (105 kg)|
|Trained by||Diablo Velasco|
Yasuhiro Kojima ( , Kojima Yasuhiro) (July 22, 1937 - November 27, 1999) was a Japanese professional wrestler and trainer best known by his ring name Hiro Matsuda (?, Hiro Matsuda). He trained many professional wrestlers including Hulk Hogan, The Great Muta, "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff, Scott Hall, Lex Luger, "Cowboy" Bob Orton, and Ron Simmons.
Kojima played an active role as an ace pitcher at baseball in Nittai Ebara High School Baseball Club in Japan, and after graduating, he joined Japan Pro Wrestling in 1957, but left in 1960. Then Matsuda went to Peru. This travel is repelled by unwritten rules such as the upper and lower relations that Rikidozan brought from the customs of sumo room, and Japan's original mental theory (injuries can be cured by nature, and those who rest due to injury are considered to be lacking) . In Peru, he worked in the name of Ernesto Kojima. Later, after moving to Mexico through the United States, the ring name was changed to Kojima Saito, Great Matsuda, and Hiro Matsuda. The name "Matsuda" was a ring name given to two Japanese wrestlers active in the mainland of America, "Sorakichi Matsuda" in the 1880s and "Mati Matsuda" in the 1920s.
During the Ernesto Kojima period, he was fighting with El Santo in Mexico. In the United States, he studied with Karl Gotch to learn full-fledged wrestling techniques and was taught catch-as-catch-can, submission hold. German Suplex Hold, his biggest finishing technique, is said to have been worn under Gotch's guidance during this period.?Kojima adopted his Hiro Matsuda identity while competing in the southern United States, inspired by earlier wrestlers Sorakichi Matsuda and Matty Matsuda. He initially debuted under his real name at Rikid?zan's Japanese Wrestling Association, but then left Japan to pursue wrestling in the Americas. Once in a while he would return to Japan, where he formed a tag team with Antonio Inoki that was only the outward reflection of the long-time friendship between the two men.
Matsuda was the first Japanese wrestler to win a National Wrestling Alliance world singles title when he won the junior heavyweight championship on July 11, 1964, in Tampa, Florida by defeating Danny Hodge. Then dropped the title to Angelo Savoldi on November 13. He would win a second title in 1975 defeating Ken Mantell and lose it to Hodge. Matsuda's challenge to NWA World Heavyweight Champion Lou Thesz on December 10, 1964 in Jacksonville, Florida, ended without a winner as a result of a time limit draw. He had previously made a challenge to Thesz a few times. As a trainer, Matsuda was famous for being very stiff with his trainees to toughen them up and teach them to respect the business. He was very tough on a young Hulk Hogan; on his first day of training, Matsuda broke his leg. After Hogan healed, he came right back to Matsuda's school, looking to continue his training. Matsuda was so impressed by his display of "guts" that he trained him properly from that day on. Matsuda wouldn't let wrestlers train with him unless they did 1,000 pushups and 1,000 squats.
He came to work in Jim Crockett Promotions in 1987 as a heel to participate in a feud between his disciple Lex Luger and Dusty Rhodes, plus wrestled a few matches on TV with Four Horsemen manager James J Dillon acting as his manager. Matsuda was in Luger's corner. During the feud, he was billed as "The Master of the Japanese Sleeper," a sleeper hold. He famously locked Johnny Weaver, who was in Rhodes' corner, in the hold. The prolonged application of the hold caused Weaver to bleed profusely from the mouth. He later on worked briefly for World Championship Wrestling acting as the manager in early 1989 for the Yamasaki Corporation (a renamed Four Horsemen) and then being involved in Terry Funk's stable, The J-Tex Corporation as their business agent from Japan. As was the case with Tojo Yamamoto, he was frequently made the manager or spokesman of Japanese wrestlers on excursion in the United States. In this role, he "introduced" The Great Muta (managed by Gary Hart) on a World Championship Wrestling episode. His last match was against Osamu Kido at the age of 53 on December 26, 1990 in Hamamatsu, Japan . Lou Thesz and Nick Bockwinkel had wrestled the same day and Thesz had wrestled his last match as well.