In early July 2020, a brief respite from the despair and mundanity of pandemic life came in the form of a tweet from Daisuke Sasaki. The idiosyncratically but fervently supportive leader (?) of DDT Pro-Wrestling’s DAMNATION faction was considering the production of a nude Tetsuya Endo photobook—to help the unit’s resident Adonis achieve his dreams of being in a perpetual state of undress—and he was gauging public interest. For 500 retweets, Sasaki would look for a publisher. For 1,000, he’d really try.
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The tweet quickly did publisher search numbers and approached effort ones. Following a brief disruption in which Sasaki and Endo engaged in a blood feud that saw Sasaki temporarily exiled from the unit he founded, threatening to retire, idly suggesting that he might harm Endo and his pet beetles, and wondering if he’d have to strip down to produce a book of his own instead, a happily reunited DAMNATION announced that the original naked book was a go at DAMNATION Illegal Assembly Returns Vol. 2 in November. At a brief press conference in January, the pair confirmed the book’s title and publication date. Sasaki insisted that it contained “full chinpo.” Endo refuted these claims. And on January 26, Tetsuya In the Naked (a reference to his take on the Spanish Fly, which is called Tetsuya In The Sky… T.I.T.S.) was officially unleashed on the world.
In the naked.
Its origin story might be riddled with DAMNATION’s typically glorious shambolic bullshit, but the photobook itself is made with every bit of the craftsmanship they bring to their characters and performances. The 81 page, A4-sized hardcover volume (¥3,850, or approximately $36.00 USD) is a thoroughly professional affair. It’s published by a proper publishing house (GOT Corporation, purveyors of magazines, manga, and gravure books) and shot by a photographer with plenty of experience in the field of tasteful-ish erotica.The sets are simple but effective. And the subject, with his megawatt smile and a body that’s about as close to the platonic ideal of the lean and muscular body type as a human can get, is every bit as well put together as the book is.
Tetsuya In the Naked, which is text free aside from the title page and colophon, flows through ten general themes. The premise of each scene is essentially “Tetsuya Endo is naked” or “Tetsuya Endo is partially clothed… but whoops, he’s naked again!” It’s hard to argue with the formula, given the results.
It begins with Tetsuya, fully in the naked, rolling around in a tastefully placed sheet. As his expression and posture shift from cute to winsome to dreamy to casually sexy, one gets the impression that Endo’s well-documented fondness for gravure idols has had a positive influence on his ability to work the camera.
With naked nap time over, it’s time for Endo to go outside and hang out in the yard in an unbuttoned white shirt, jeans, and Calvins for a while. He leans on walls. He gazes skyward. He indulges in a glass of orange juice and looks like pure sunshine. And then he’s suddenly soaking wet and sultry eyes and kissy faces at the camera/reader. There’s an extreme closeup of his abs with water running down his extremely well-defined linea alba like a tiny, steamy river for good measure.
Naked, partially clothed, and “whoops, he’s naked again!”
Now that he’s already wet, Endo takes a dip in a beautifully landscaped pool. He begins his soak in the interesting combination of a skin-tight white shirt and… that’s it. But the shirt doesn’t last long enough to question it further. He spends the next couple of pages floating in strategically sparkling water. In what might be the best example of how expertly this book balances unapologetic ridiculousness with genuine allure, this segment ends with a two-page spread in which Endo rests prone in the tub with his prodigious glutes just breaking the water’s surface. It’s naked butt cheeks peeking out of the water, with all of the silliness and hotness that implies.
Once he’s dried off, Endo changes into a fur jockstrap and climbs a tree. Eventually, the fur jockstrap disappears. I don’t really understand what’s happening here or why, but it makes me want to remake the 1968 space boob movie Barbarella and cast him as the sweet, toned, and fur underpants-sporting angel, Pygar. This is followed by a brief interlude in which a moderately-clothed Endo pushes his trademark asymmetrical perm to the side with a hair clip in order to cook a chicken dish and some pasta. There’s a gratuitous closeup of his legs bursting out of his tiny kitchen hotpants thrown in seemingly at random that does an excellent job of highlighting how nicely balanced his quads and hamstrings are.
A carb-loaded Endo goes to the gym for back day and some sitting and looking pensive on various surfaces. This is my personal favorite part of the book, because I used to work as a personal trainer and Pilates instructor and people lifting with good form makes me feel a little better about the world. And Endo has the most soul-restoring form I’ve ever seen from a wrestler. His cervical spine looks a little hyperextended in the deadlift photo, but I’m going to blame that on him having to angle his face toward the camera.
Post-gym, Endo gives us firefighter calendar vibes in jeans and suspenders that are eventually cast off in favor of a skimpy white thong. In the formal portion of the book, he dons a suit jacket, pants, and a pompadour. This incredibly striking series of photos ends with him looking down at his pants as if he’s baffled by the overwhelming amount of fabric on his body. Then there’s a closeup of him pulling them down. Almost as handsome is the next set in which he’s wielding a sword while partially wearing a kimono which eventually gives way to a fundoshi. For the grand finale, he poses with nothing but the KO-D Openweight Championship belt until that disappears, too.
In a turn of events that will not shock anyone who pays any attention to pro wrestling’s best unreliable narrator, Sasaki was lying about the book providing an unobstructed view of Endo’s Tetsuya . But if you really need more of him than is provided here, there’s always his Twitter account.
Thrilled to be naked.
Throughout, the book is undeniably hot, but I think my main takeaway from Tetsuya In the Naked is the sheer joie de vivre of it. No one—no nudist, no exhibitionist, no child tearing around the house at bath time, no Ewan McGregor in his prime—has ever been as thrilled to be naked as Tetsuya Endo. And it’s utterly charming to see him living his best bare-assed life.
The only downside has nothing to do with the book itself, but the way of the world: it’s a pain in the ass and wallet to order outside of Japan right now. Amazon Japan sells the book, but doesn’t ship it internationally. But if you’re the kind of person who even wonders if it might be worth using a proxy service and paying through the nose for the limited shipping options available during a pandemic just to own a wrestler’s gleeful naked photobook, well, you’re probably not going to be disappointed.
Now if only that naked Sasaki book were more than a throwaway joke…