Yuki Takahashi defeated Thomas Patrick Gilman of the United States 6-0 to win the men's 57-kilogram freestyle final at the world wrestling championships on Friday for Japan's first freestyle gold in 36 years.
The 23-year-old reigning Asian champion and 2016 national champion was appearing in his third world championships, but claimed his first medal after finishing ninth in 2015 and fifth in 2014.
"My final opponent had offensive power, but I decided to attack back instead of taking a defensive approach," said Takahashi.
"(The gold medal) doesn't seem real yet. I've been through some tough times but I pushed myself to train everyday nevertheless, and I think that's what made me a world champion," he said.
Takahashi, who missed out on selection to last year's Rio de Janeiro Olympics, swept through his first two bouts, winning by technical fall.
In the quarterfinals, however, Takahashi was pushed to the brink by Mongolia's Bekhbayar Erdenebat before beating Bulgaria's Vladimir Valdimirov Dubov in the semis.
The last Japanese freestyle world champion was Toshio Asakura, who prevailed in the 52-kg division in the 1981 championships.
Later in the day, at 61-kg, Japan's Rinya Nakamura lost his bronze-medal match against Cuba's Yowlys Bonne Rodriguez.
Friday marked the first time in history that Japan won gold in both men's events and the women's, which was first included in 1987, in a single world championships.
In the Aug. 21-27 meet at the AccorHotels Arena in Paris, Kenichiro Fumita won gold in the men's Greco-Roman 59-kg on Tuesday, and Sara Dosho, Risako Kawai and Yui Susaki each won gold in the women's 69-kg, 60-kg and 48-kg, respectively, on Thursday.