Tiger Mask

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Tiger Mask
Tiger Mask vol 1.jpg
Cover of the 2001 re-release of the first manga volume.
(Taigā Masuku)
Genre Sports (professional wrestling)

Tiger Mask (Japanese: タイガーマスク, Hepburn: Taigā Masuku) is a Japanese manga series written by Ikki Kajiwara and illustrated by Naoki Tsuji. The series was first published in Kodansha's Bokura Magazine from 1968 to 1970 and was later published in Weekly Shōnen Magazine from 1970 to 1971. It was later adapted into an anime series by Toei Animation which first aired on Yomiuri TV or TV Asahi on October 2, 1969 and ended its run on September 30, 1971, airing 105 episodes. In real life, the name has been used by a succession of Japanese professional wrestling characters as a gimmick. The Tiger Mask persona is instantly recognizable by its trademark mask, designed to look like a tiger's head, as well as the combination of high flying attacks and martial arts in the ring.



Tiger Mask, whose real name was Naoto Date, was a feared heel wrestler in America who was extremely vicious in the ring. However, he became a face after returning to Japan when a young boy said that he wanted to be a villain like Tiger Mask when he grew up. The boy resided in an orphanage, the same one that Tiger Mask grew up in during his childhood. Feeling that he did not want the boy to idolize a villain, Tiger was inspired to be a heroic wrestler.

The main antagonist in the manga and anime was the Tiger's Den, a mysterious organization that trained young people to be villainous wrestlers on the condition that they gave half of their earnings to the organization. Tiger Mask was once a member of the Tiger's Den under the name "Yellow Devil", but no longer wanted anything to do with them, instead donating his money to the orphanage. This infuriated the leader of the organization and he sent numerous assassins, including other professional wrestlers, to punish him.

In Tiger Mask II (タイガーマスク二世, Taigā Masuku Ni-sei), a new opponent called "Outer Space Mask" bullies his way into the ring without representing any wrestling federation. Tatsuo Aku, once an orphan child from the "house of the children", was a fan of Naoto, who has died. He would put on his old hero's mask to become the new Tiger Mask.


Tiger Mask and his comrades

Naoto Date (伊達 直人, Date Naoto) / Tiger Mask (タイガーマスク, Taigā Masuku)
Kentaro Takaoka (高岡 拳太郎, Takaoka Kentarō) / Yellow Devil (イエロー・デビル, Ierō Debiru)
Daigo Daimon (大門 大吾, Daimon Daigo) / Mister Fudo (ミスター不動, Misutā Fudo)
Toranosuke Arashi (嵐 虎之介, Arashi Toranosuke)
The Great Zebra (ザ・グレイト・ゼブラ, Za Gureito Zebura)

Chibikko House

Akira Wakatsuki (若月晃, Wakatsuki Akira)
Ruriko Wakatsuki (若月 ルリ子, Wakatsuki Ruriko)
Kenta (健太)
Yoshio Sasaki (佐々木芳夫, Sasaki Yoshio)
Chappy (チャッピー, Chappī)
Gaboten (ガボテン)
Mikuro (ミクロ)
Yoko Takaoka (高岡洋子, Takaoka Yōko)

Tiger's Den

Mister X (ミスターX, Misutā X)

Mister X is the main antagonist of the series.

Boss (ボス, Bosu) / Miracle 3 (ミラクル3, Mirakuru 3) / Tiger the Great (タイガー・ザ・グレイト, Taigā za Gureito)

The Boss is the leader of the Tiger's Den. He makes his first appearance disguised as the unbelievably strong fighter Miracle 3, the only fighter with total supremacy in the three fundamental abilities: strength, speed and illegal moves. Miracle 3 wins every fight in a clear and correct way, studying Tiger Mask's style against some fighters chosen by him. When he finally fights with Tiger Mask, he reassumes his old name: Tiger the Great.

Big Tiger (ビッグ・タイガー, Biggu Taigā)
Black Tiger (ブラック・タイガー, Burakku Taigā)
King Tiger (キング・タイガー, Kingu Taigā)

The third master of the Tiger's Den. He was considered the strongest fighter ever. He was forced to retire because nobody was capable to fight him on an even basis. Adding to his considerable technique, King Tiger is the absolute master of illegal moves. His fight with Tiger Mask rapidly escalates to a real bloodbath.

Other characters

TV announcer

Ring announcer and narrator.

Tiger Mask II characters

NameVoiced by
Tatsuo Aku / Tiger Mask Hideyuki Hori
Midori Ariyoshi Chiyoko Kawashima
Antonio Inoki Banjo Ginga
Ahman Hassan Chikao Otsuka
Junko Tachibana Mami Koyama
Kazuya Tachibana Satomi Majima
Hinode Sports Desk Chikao Otsuka
Ishimatsu Kaneto Shiozawa
Saiga Hideyuki Tanaka
Mina Saiga Chisato Nakajima
Ichiro Furutachi Kōji Yada

Publication history

The manga was originally created for the Bokura Magazine in 1968 by Ikki Kajiwara and Naoki Tsuji. The manga would be reprinted by Kodansha comics, and made available in Hong Kong. Further versions include Sankei Comics and the Kodansha KC Special. The anime would be televised nationally in Japan, while two movies would be constructed from reusing footage of the series. [1] Most of the environment and characters were fictional, but real-life pro wrestlers like Antonio Inoki, Giant Baba, Michiaki Yoshimura, Kintarō Ōki and Seiji Sakaguchi were included in the manga and anime as well.

On March 3, 2016, New Japan Pro-Wrestling announced the revival of the Tiger Mask anime series. [2] The series, entitled Tiger Mask W , premiered on TV Asahi in October 2016. [3] It is also currently streaming on Crunchyroll, marking it as the first Tiger Mask anime available to American viewers. [4] This new series is the exclusive sequel of the anime version and completely ignores Tiger Mask II, which confirms Naoto Date's death like in the manga.



The movies were titled as such in English when exported outside Japan. They are not actual translations.

Japanese NameEnglish NameRelease DateType
タイガーマスクTiger Mask1970movie
タイガーマスク ふく面リーグ戦Tiger Mask: War Against the League of Masked WrestlersJuly 19, 1970movie
タイガーマスクTiger MaskNovember 9, 2013movie

In November 2023, a live-action film adaptation for the international market was announced by Italy's Fabula Pictures, Brandon Box, and Kodansha. [5]

Video games

While the Tiger Mask character has appeared in a number of wrestling video games, such as Fire Pro Wrestling D , Toukon Retsuden 3 , Sunday vs Magazine: Shūketsu! Chōjō Daikessen and Virtual Pro Wrestling 64 , the games are not directly based on the story of the manga or anime.

Cultural influences

Satoru Sayama as Tiger Mask in 1982 Tiger Mask, 1982.png
Satoru Sayama as Tiger Mask in 1982

In the early 1980s, the bookers in the New Japan Pro-Wrestling promotion licensed the character and created a real-life Tiger Mask, originally portrayed by Satoru Sayama, to help boost their junior heavyweight division. [6]

In 2010 and 2011, several people in Japan donated to children's homes and other social welfare centers by using the name "Naoto Date" as an alias. [7]

In 2012 an Israeli artist named Omer Rabinovitz recorded a fictional song over the series opening sequence renaming it 'Namer HaKesef' ("The Silver/Money Leopard"), [8] reaching over 400 thousand views on Youtube and becoming a cult phenomenon in Israel. [9] Fictional episodes created independently by the community, [10] and a Minecraft skin was also created. [11]

In Ben 10 Alien Force , Rath is a tiger-like alien who uses wrestling moves on his foes. Similarly, both characters were also vicious at first but then turned good after meeting a small child.

In video games

In the Tekken video game series, a character named King shares similarities with Tiger Mask, except his mask is that of a jaguar rather than a tiger.

Street Fighter II , in its early concept design stages, had a very similar homage to Tiger Mask in its character roster. [12]

In the video game series Hotline Miami , there is a tiger mask that when equipped, allows you throw devastating punches when unarmed. This may be a reference to Tiger Mask.

In the Yo-Kai Watch game series, a yokai named Machonyan wears a tiger mask.

Pokémon Sun and Moon introduced Incineroar, the "Heel Pokémon," displaying elements of both a tiger and a wrestler. It is also a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate .

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