One of Japan’s most famous anime – Hokuto no Ken (北斗の拳), or Fist of the North Star in English, has been united with that most basic of human desires – sex! There should be no mistaking that this post will be for our more mature readers. If you’re easily offended or embarrassed by talking about contraception, just feel free to skip this post. If you’re ready to dig in (pun intended), then proceed! You see where we’re going with this?
Hokuto no Ken is an older manga series written in the 80s that depicts a post-apocalyptic world destroyed by a nuclear war. The protagonist, a warrior named Kenshiro, as well as other martial artists fight the good fight for the weak and innocent. Kenshiro uses a special form of martial arts known as ‘Hokuto Shinken’ (inspired by Bruce Lee and his style of Jeet Kune Do) that enables him to defeat opponents by hitting vital points on their body. Often his adversaries are depicted dying horrible, gory deaths exploding from within. Quite charming, then!
Even today Fist of the North Star continues to be a popular anime and manga. There are still various side stories in relation to the series being released. Most young Japanese people who grew up in the 80s are quite familiar with the story and it’s not surprising to hear it referenced in conversations. Some of the more famous catchphrases in particular are very well known:
おまえは もう しんでいる。
You are already dead.
So what possible connection could this violent martial arts story hold to practicing safe sex? Very little really, but famous characters and mascots are used all over Japan to create collaborations between brands and products. Seemingly every organisation has some sort of mascot used for promotional purposes. Although putting Fist of the North Star characters on condom packets might not strike you as the most obvious place, the collaboration is very well done.
The collaboration is with Fuji Latex in their ‘Just Fit’ line of condoms. There are 5 types – Medium, Medium Free (free size), Large, Extra Large and Hard.
In the interest of research and bringing you the ‘Real Japan’ then, we had one of our staff report back on the contents! It turns out that each individual condom has a catchphrase from the Fist of the North Star series. Obviously being used in a sexual context, some of these lines take on entirely new and interesting meanings. Great fun for the translator! Here are some of the phrases from the image below.
The piercing strikes of Kenshiro as he drills his fists into an opponent over and over again. I’m sure I don’t need to explain this pun.
ほう、このわたしと やろうと いうのですか
Oh, you wish to do it with me?
A quote from enemy Dagarl, evidently in reference to fighting in the anime series, but quite a different nuance here. Aren’t euphemisms fun?
Then try me!!
A quote from Juza of the Clouds in a battle against Raoh – his response to ‘you can’t beat me!’ The lieteral translation would be ‘Well then, give me a try!!’.
I won’t go easy on you!!
By Raoh. せぬ is an old way for saying しない and ぞ is a strong, masculine way of saying よ. The poor girl…
Hoh…you grew up, eh boy.
A quote from Thouzer. 小僧 is way of saying ‘boy’, ‘youngster’ or ‘young priest’ depending on the context. Here the literal translation is ‘Hoh…Boy, you got big’. Quite fitting then!
せいていさまが おとおりに なるぞ〜〜！
The Emperor is coming!
Oddly this one has even more of a sexual meaning when translated into English than the original Japanese does. The literal translation – ‘the Emperor is coming through/passing by’.
Another famous condom brand in Japan, Okamoto Condoms, is associated with the infamous ‘Super Big Boy’ packaging. As if the conscientious man wasn’t embarrassed enough buying contraception from the young women working the cash registers at the local drug store, Okamoto made sure the experience is not to be forgotten. Nothing is left to the imagination. A deep black box with ‘Big Boy’ popping out in bold, yellow letters. Below that…a horse.
What is especially ironic here is that the Japanese ‘large’ size of condom is equivalent to the regular size in Western countries, much in the same way that clothing goes. If you’re a medium size in the West, you’ll be a large over here. If you’re especially well endowed, then Okamoto have something for you too. The extra large size ‘Mega Big Boy’ features an elephant, just in case things weren’t abundantly clear and, bizarrely, an eagle for guys who prefer a tighter fit. The standard condom size in Japan uses a diameter of 32mm.
If you are left feeling unsatisfied (pun intended), then you can learn even more by checking out the video below from Okamoto comparing the various sizes of this series. Great Japanese practice and useful information at the same time! Just make sure you’re in a suitable place before viewing!