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Yumi Agawa: Actwres girl’Z Visual Poet

7 months ago Photos from Yumi Agawa / Action Ring Girls. By R. Faliani

Photos from Yumi Agawa / Action Ring Girls. By R. Faliani

Yumi Agawa: Actwres girl’Z Visual Poet

By: Jeff Brown

Calligraphy can be described as beautiful writing. With a trained hand, words convey harmony and grace; a skilled brush makes poetry out of lines. If you have been a viewer of Actwres girl’Z or Action Ring Girl’Z, you have seen Yumi Agawa’s art on display. Agawa does many things in AWG/ARG, from ring announcing for AWG to performing as Kikyo in ARG to perhaps being well acquainted with the masked Wild Bunny in AWG. What isn’t well known is the calligraphy she provides for logos and merchandise.

When ACT takes center stage, she is carrying the work of her good friend Agawa. Be it the logo for the Kaguya faction or literally in BE∀STZ REBELLION when ACT is in her full entrance gear. Wrestling has known skilled artists like Jerry Lawler and Bret Hart, but the nearly lost art of calligraphy is unique to the places Agawa calls home. Much like the artist herself, it is strong but understated and adds an air of timelessness to the presentation. Just as AWG/ARG merges the art forms of acting and wrestling, calligraphy can be thought of as merging painting and writing.

Agawa’s art can also be found in GPS Promotion (where she began her ring announcing and even performing in Kaguya) and the C.C.C. theater company, which many AWG and ARG roster members guest for and of which Agawa is a member.

From Nabari, a city in the Mie Prefecture, Agawa started with calligraphy lessons as a child, and later in her life, when she became an actress, companies asked for her uncommon talents to be utilized. She is a lover of animals such as goats and owns two rabbits, Luna and Noche (further adding to the speculation of amateur sleuths and thrillseekers trying to discover the identity of Wild Bunny in AWG). Agawa doesn’t boast about her art very often (recently she has uploaded videos) and is incredibly humble for a person with such breathtaking skills. Her friends and the companies she works for, of course, credit her, but that’s Agawa’s nature—to think of others instead of herself. Perhaps that is why she is such a great ring announcer; she is always promoting or presenting others. While that’s a commendable trait, it’s time to put a bit of a spotlight on an unsung talent.

Here are some of the more prominent examples of Agawa’s large body of work.

ACT’s BE∀STZ REBELLION Robe

In the autumn of 2022, ACT appeared at Shinkiba 1st Ring in an updated version of her Act Yasukawa persona from her Stardom tenure. She was wearing an elaborate robe with a giant piece of calligraphy on one sleeve. That striking work was done by Agawa. When Act is written in kanji, it is written as “惡斗”, with Yumi using “惡” for the characters on the gown and the writing on merchandise like Naoki Kitazawa’s series of animated T-shirts.

Kaguya Logo

The first ARG unit to be introduced, Kaguya, was even associated early on with GPS Promotion and had a match you can watch via their YouTube channel (@KAGUYAARG). Agawa created the imprint, which is synonymous with the samurai clan. Breaking it down like a logo, the word Kaguya is written as “花月夜”, and that became part of the faction’s identity for t-shirts and logos.

BE∀STZ REBELLION logo

The first faction of the new era AWG, and for her recent portraits, ACT gave credit via SNS to her good friend Agawa for her work on the BE∀STZ REBELLION logo. No matter where ACT goes, she is always enhanced by Agawa.

C.C.C. Logos

Creative Company Colors (C.C.C.) is the theater group Agawa is a member of, along with former Kaguya member Marina Hamada. Their productions have had fellow AWG guests including ACT/Yuka Yasukawa, and Naru. Agawa has contributed her signature style to various productions.

C.C.C Poster

Some of their plays, such as Ten and Ambient Border, have her work emblazoned on them.

For the 2018 play, “天” is read as ten, which is the title of C.C.C.’s performance. Normally, the lower left part of Ten is drawn downwards, but by intentionally drawing it upwards, Agawa expresses the feelings of the character. The text on the Ambient Border poster was also Agawa’s work.

GPS Poster

The independent wrestling group, along with the sub-promotion HERO that ACT and even Kaguya have been associated with, has utilized Agawa’s talent not just for ring announcing but for posters as well. HERO is a wrestling company that caters to fans with disabilities like blindness and deafness. GPS’s “気炎万丈” is read as kien-banjo. The meaning is “to be excited enough to overwhelm others”.

Kaguya

In addition to ring announcing for AWG, Yumi Agawa is also an in-ring performer in the sister promotion Action Ring Girl’Z (ARG) for the faction Kaguya. ARG is a musical fantasy production that includes matches in a non-traditional wrestling atmosphere. She portrays the character Kikyo (controlling the wind with her fan), acting in a sisterly or motherly role, while ACT plays Hisen, Naho Yamada plays Hinata, and Rensan plays Hakuju. Kaguya is a group of samurai on a mission to restore their war-ravaged village. While they can manipulate time, they are on a quest for three sacred treasures to achieve this goal. Kaguya is shrouded in mystery, with its story developing across productions. Their ARG characters exist separately from their AWG counterparts.

This article first appeared in Issue #12 of Monthly Puroresu, with photos courtesy of Yumi Agawa, Actwres girl’Z, GPS Promotions and Creative Company Colors.

Written by:

I mainly focus on making music, while writing on the side. After graduating high school, I studied guitar in the Seattle area. Music reviews really got me started with blogging and journalism. Meantime, I watched ‘90s AJW and Gaea throughout the 2000s & parachuted in for Ice Ribbon, Stardom, Actwres Girl’Z. I live in Edgewood, WA and am a proud member of the Duwamish tribe.