|Real name||Nogami Akira|
|Billed height||180 cm (5 ft 11 in)|
|Billed weight||99 kg (220 lb; 15.6 st)|
Nogami Akira (野上 彰) is a Japanese professional wrestler, better known by his alter-ego, AKIRA.
New Japan Pro-Wrestling (1984-2004)
After graduating from junior high school, Nogami Akira joined the New Japan Pro-Wrestling Dōjō in 1984, whose class included Mutō Keiji, Chōno Masahiro, Hashimoto Shin'ya, and Yamada Keiichi. He made his debut on 1984/10/12, against Mutō, at the young age of 16. In 1990/4, he left on an excursion of Europe, wrestling in Britain and then for Catch Wrestling Association, based in Germany. In 1991/3, Nogami returned to Japan and wrestled against Jūshin Thunder Liger under the alter-ego, AKIRA. On 1991/3/21, he attempted to take the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship from Liger, but failed. It would not be until 1991/8/9, that Nogami finally took the title from Liger.
After losing the title to Honaga Norio on 1991/11/5, Nogami moved up to the heavyweight division. In 1992/4, he formed a tag team with Iizuka Takayuki, later called J.J.JACKS. In 1992/6, he and Hase Hiroshi represented Japan for the WCW-sponsored NWA World Tag Team Championship tournament. Nogami & Hase defeated the Headhunters in the first round, but an eye injury forced Nogami out of action, and was replaced by Hashimoto for the remainder of the tournament. Once back in action, he resumed teaming with Iizuka and they had a consistent run as a team, before they split up in 1996/3.
In 1994, Nogami married an actress Saeki Reiko. Their marriage would later help Nogami in a new career.
In 1998, Nogami suffered another eye injury, which took him out of action. As he was out of action, Heisei Ishingun disbanded.
Nogami returned to the ring in 1999/2, this time back under the AKIRA alter-ego, tweaking his look. In 2001, he reverted back to the junior heavyweight division, having popular bouts against Kanemoto Kōji and Tanaka Minoru. After failing to reach a new contract agreement with New Japan in 2004, Nogami declared himself a freelancer and started competing part-time, as he had also started an acting career during his inactivity from the ring due to eye injury.
After leaving New Japan in 2004, Nogami started wrestling mainly for All Japan Pro-Wrestling. Despite a busy acting career, he always appears on numerous events each year, giving the junior heavyweight division a consistent threat. As a freelancer, he also wrestled for other promotions and events, including HUSTLE, Big Mouth Loud, and Dramatic Dream Team.
On 2007/8/26, Nogami returned home to New Japan for the first time in three years, to team with Jūshin Thunder Liger at the CTU Farewell show. After the show, Nogami and Liger still teamed up. On 2008/2/17, Nogami and Liger won the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship, Nogami's first championship in over 16 years. Their reign would last until 2008/7/21.