• Japanese 101 for プロレス Nerds, Part 2

    Shelly Deathlock cares too much about Japanese wrestling and, as Captain of the S.S. Strong Style, she’s here to welcome you on board and fill you in on what’s going on in the world of puro. Today, she’s introducing you to the Japanese language, which she is not good at at all, but that makes her the perfect person to explain some things to you, since she has no discernible trappings of ego.

    If you’re new here, check out Japanese 101 for プロレス Nerds, Part 1: we learned about katakana, hiragana, kanji, and why we need all of them and just what exactly is going on here.

    This week in part 2, we’re going to look at specific words, catchphrases, and ring names. Let’s go!

    Important wrestling words



    You probably see “puroresu” or “puro” in romaji like this when you’re looking up things about professional wrestling from Japan. In katakana, this word is プロレス (pu ro re su) short for プロレスリング (pu ro re su ri n gu). In Japanese and English, you can just say “prowres,” even though Mauro Ranallo says “poorooreesuu” on the AXS NJPW show. Don’t worry about him.

    This is a very strange loan word. In English, we use it to mean “professional wrestling from Japan” and in Japan, they use it to mean all pro wrestling, period. So when we talk about “puro” in English, we mean any of the wrestling that originates from Japan, but when the Japanese talk about puro, they could be talking about WWE, TNA, ROH, anything. People argue about this on the internet, like they do, but I think most people think it’s fine to talk about “puro” the way we do because “Japanese professional wrestling” is pretty long to say & type. Plus プロレス looks really cool.

    Joshi puroresu:


    In Japan, women’s wrestling is important and men and women usually wrestle in completely separate companies. Women’s wrestling in Japan is called 女子プロレス (joshi puroresu, literally: girl 女子 pro wrestling プロレス) or “joshi” for short in English.

    Shin Nihon Puroresu:


    New Japan Pro-Wrestling uses their English name in English on most of their merchandise and print matter, but on their broadcasts they almost always say the company name in Japanese: 新日本プロレス: New (shin,) Japan (nihon, 日本) Pro Wrestling (puroresu, プロレス).


    Shinsuke Nakamura


    Yeaoh is a word Shinsuke invented. He said something like “I’m not good at talking and my voice is rough, so I made up a short word.” It works beautifully. Best word. Katakana: イヤァオ!! (ee yaa oh exclamation point exclamation point)

    Hiroshi Tanahashi


    This may surprise you since he’s so insufferable on television, but that thing Tanahashi yells when he isn’t talking about how he’s the 1/100 century talent of the ace of the universe world and is better than everyone else? It’s “I love yoooou!” 愛してま〜す (aishitemaaaasu!). Ugh. We love you too, Tanahashi, but don’t tell anyone.

    Kazuchika Okada


    Okada has three things worth mentioning:

    一つ (hitotsu, first thing): 特にありません (toku ni arimasen)

    Okada gives a standard promo where he says he’ll list three things. For example:

    1. (I wrestled) a singles match in my hometown, so I feel… normal.
    2. I’m going to win the G1 for sure.
    3. 特にありません (I have nothing in particular to say)

    The third thing is always “nothing in particular.” I could not love this more.

    二つ (futatsu, second thing): カネの雨が降るぞ (kane no ame ga furu zo)

    After Okada finishes his three things, he hands the mic over to Gedo who screams about money. Okada is the Rainmaker, so his catchphrase is, literally, “rain of money will fall.” The kanji for money is which can also be translated as “gold.” Unless you make sure to spell “money” (kane, カネ) in katakana, Okada’s catchphrase can be misread to mean golden showers. This is hilarious.

    三つ (mittsu, third thing): 特にありません (hahahahahhahahhaa!!!!)

    More on ring names & nicknames!

    Kazuchika Okada

    I mentioned in part 1 that Okada’s ring name is in katakana: オカダ・カズチカ. This is partly because it looks cool and partly because, as a twitter friend pointed out, the kanji for his given name (和睦) means “peace” which is not the best name for a heel.

    Okada’s nickname is the RAINMAKER. That’s レインメーカー (reinme-ka-) just a transliteration of the English word into katakana.

    Jushin “Thunder” Liger


    We all know Jushin Liger. 獣神サンダー・ライガー. What you maybe DON’T know (or didn’t know until you started google translating NJPWWorld!) is what his name means.

    獣神 (jyuu shin) these are literally the kanji for “beast” and “god” — beast god
    サンダー (sanda) transliteration of “thunder” into katakana
    ライガー (raiga) transliteration of “liger” into katakana

    Beastgod Thunder Liger. Carry on.

    Hideo Itami


    Hideo Itami (real name: Kenta Kobayashi, 小林 健太) had the luxury of choosing his WWE-approved name. He chose Hideo Itami, and the kanji for it is: 伊丹英雄

    The kanji for his version of “Hideo” is 英雄, which means “hero.”

    伊丹 is “Itami,” a regular family name. But nevermind the kanji — the spoken reading of “itami” (written with different kanji) can mean “pain.”

    Hideo Itami is literally hero of pain. Heart eyes forever.

    Okay! Next time in part 3 we’ll cover some reader questions, Japanese speaking questions, some more vocabulary, and some BONUSES. Yes. Meanwhile: Do you have questions? Something you want to see here about the Japanese language? Let me know at @indiandeathlock or ask at http://ask.fm/indiandeathlock