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Jugemu (寿限無/じゅげむ) is a famous rakugo story,[1] a form of Japanese spoken entertainment. It has a simple story, with the most humorous part being the repetition of a ridiculously long name. It is often used in training for rakugo entertainers.


A couple could not think of a suitable name for their newborn baby boy, so the father went to the temple and asked the chief priest to think of an auspicious name. The priest suggested several names, beginning with Jugemu. The father could not decide which name he preferred and, therefore, gave the baby all of the names.

Jugemu's full name is:

Jugemu Jugemu (寿限無 寿限無)
Gokō-no Surikire (五劫の擦り切れ)
Kaijarisuigyo-no (海砂利水魚の)
Suigyōmatsu Unraimatsu Fūraimatsu (水行末 雲来末 風来末)
Kūnerutokoro-ni Sumutokoro (食う寝る処に住む処)
Yaburakōji-no Burakōji (藪ら柑子の藪柑子)
Paipopaipo Paipo-no Shūringan (パイポパイポ パイポのシューリンガン)
Shūringan-no Gūrindai (シューリンガンのグーリンダイ)
Gūrindai-no Ponpokopii-no Ponpokonā-no (グーリンダイのポンポコピーのポンポコナーの)
Chōkyūmei-no Chōsuke (長久命の長助)

(the NHK Nihongo de asobō version,[2] partially replaced with kanji)

In one version of the tale, Jugemu got into a fight with a friend one day, and the friend suffered a large bump on his head, so in protest he went crying to Jugemu's parents. However, due to the amount of time it took to recite his name, by the time he finished, the bump on his head had already healed.[3]

Another version states that Jugemu fell into a well and drowned; everyone who had to pass along the news had to spend a lot of time reciting his entire name.[4] In yet another variant, Jugemu fell into a lake, and his parents barely arrived in time to save him.

Interpretation of Jugemu's name[edit]

Each part of Jugemu's name has an auspicious meaning:

"limitless life".[2]
Go kō no surikire
"five of rubbing off (the rock)". In Japanese Buddhism lore, a heavenly maiden would visit the human world once in every three thousand years, leaving friction marks on a huge rock with her dress. Eventually the rock would wear down to nothing[2] in the span of one , or 4 billion (4×109) years. The priest blesses the child to live at least 20 billion (2×1010) years, essentially for eternity.
Kaijari suigyo
"gravel in the sea and fish in water". The amount of gravel and number of fish in the world is meant to represent the degree of the child's luck and fortune.
"where water eventually goes". Because water is free to go anywhere, the child is blessed with boundless well-being wherever he goes.
"where clouds originally come". Because clouds come from anywhere, this is similar to the above.
"where wind originally comes". Similar to the above.
"places to eat and sleep".[2] It is fortunate to have both food and shelter.
"places to live".[2] Same as above.
Yaburakōji-no burakōji
"Ardisia japonica (marlberry) bushes in Yabura Trail". The plant's modern Japanese name is yabukōji, and it is considered to be imbued with energy year-round.[2] "Yabura" has no inherent meaning but is inferred to be yabukōji with the pluralizing ra suffix.
Paipo, Shūringan, Gūrindai, Ponpokopii, Ponpokonā
These are invented names of a kingdom and royal family in ancient China. Paipo was a rich and peaceful kingdom, where King Shūringan and his queen Gūrindai reigned. She gave birth to Princess Ponpokopii and Princess Ponpokonā, and all of them enjoyed longevity.[2]
"long and lasting life".[2]
"blessed for a long time".

Cultural references[edit]

The recitation from memory of these names is a feature of the NHK children's TV program Nihongo de Asobо̄ ("Let's play with Japanese").

Lakitu, the cloud-riding turtle-dropping enemy character of the Super Mario Bros. video game series is called 'Jugemu' in Japanese versions of the game. In a similar reference, the eggs Lakitu drop, which turn into Spinies, are referred to as 'Paipo' in Japan, despite only being referred to as "Spiny's Eggs" or "Spiny Eggs" in English.[5] The spiked balls thrown by Spikes and blown in the air by Ptooies are called shūringan in another reference. Additionally a Lakitu by the name of Lakilester is named 'Pokopii' in the Japanese version of Paper Mario.

Jugemu's full name is quoted in the song "Jousha Hissui No Kotowari, Okotowari" (盛者必衰の理、お断り) by Japanese rock band KANA-BOON.

Jugemu (#40) is a colossal underground monster appearing to be only a tiny twig with a single leaf on the surface in the video game Star Ocean: Blue Sphere.

"Jugemu-jugemu gokōnosurikire sammy-davis broilerchicken" is the chant Sasami uses to turn into Pretty Sammy in the Japanese anime Magical Girl Pretty Sammy.

In a short included as a DVD extra for the Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood anime series, the character known only by the mononym "Scar" reveals he shares his name with Jugemu; the character King Bradley (who is known to have adopted the name Bradley, originally bearing only the moniker "Wrath") then reveals that it happens to be his real name as well (though Bradley's voice actor repeatedly misses the third "Paipo"). They continue saying it while preparing for battle, until Scar, in reciting the name, accidentally bites his tongue.

Gintama has a monkey whose full name also starts with "Jugemu Jugemu" as an anime-only character, and was known for his vulgar habits. Trying to find a middle ground, the main characters have adopted a very long name which included insults regarding feces, certain species of fish and squid, as well as references to Final Fantasy IV and the Japanese rock duo B'z.

Jugemu's full name is recited in the lyrics of "Nippon Egao Hyakkei", the ending theme to Joshiraku, an anime about a troupe of female rakugo performers.

Lucy from Servant x Service also shares the similar fate as Jugemu (having a long name with a similar origin) and when she first reveals her name her co-workers remark that she is a "modern day Jugemu Jugemu".

In Capcom's Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Spirit of Justice (2016), case 4, "Turnabout Storyteller", contains multiple references to different rakugo, including Jugemu. At the beginning of the trial, the prosecutor Nahyuta Sahdmadhi is questioned about his knowledge on rakugo, and in response offers to read Jugemu, and begins the story, before being cut off by Athena Cykes in order to return focus to the trial at hand. A character appearing in the case, Geiru Toneido, also has a dog called Jugemu, named after the story. Later in the game, it is revealed that one of the game's antagonists, Inga Karkhuul Khura'in, in reality has a Jugemu-esque name: Inga Karkhuul Haw'kohd Dis'nahm Bi'ahni Lawga Ormo Pohmpus Da'nit Ar'edi Iz Khura'in III; his middle names are pronounced as "How could this name be any longer or more pompous than it already is?"

Jugemu's name is featured prominently in an episode of Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū. Two of the main characters perform it for a kindergarten their son attends.

In Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Arcade, Miku Flick/02, and Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Future Tone, A Vocaloid producer named "Vocaliod-P" made a song named "Jugemu Sequencer" [6] which was inspired by Jugemu. This song has reached the Hall of Fame.

In episode 21 of Kamen Rider Fourze, the rakugo club can be heard practicing Jugemu when JK and Ryusei come to speak to one of the members.

Similar stories and performances[edit]

  • Similar stories published in the U.S., Tikki Tikki Tembo (1924 and later variants), might be based on Jugemu.[7] "Long-Name-No-Can-Say" (in this story the child name begins with Nicki Nicki Tembo...)[8] being another variant.
  • Song "Sama Kama Wacky Brown" (Edward C. Warren, George Goehring) recorded in 1960 by the Brothers Four on their first album[9] tells of the tragedy of "Eddie Kucha Kacha Kama Tosa Nara Tosa Noma Sama Kama Wacky Brown".
  • British comedy series Monty Python's Flying Circus aired a similar sketch involving an overly long name being repeated multiple times; it was centered on an alleged musical program presenting a biography of a German baroque composer named "Johann Gambolputty [de] de von Ausfern-schplenden-schiltter-crasscrenbon-fried-digger-dingle-dangle-dongle-dungle-burstein-von-knacker-thrasher-apple-banger-horowitz-ticolensic-grander-knotty-spelltinkle-grandlich-grumblemeyer-spelterwasser-kurstlich-himbleeisen-bahnwagen-gutenabend-bitte-ein-nürnburger-bratwustle-gerspurten-mitz-weimache-luber-hundsfut-gumeraber-shönendanker-kalbsfleisch-mittler-aucher von Hautkopft of Ulm." Each time the name is said, the speaker is compelled to say it to its completion, much like Jugemu. The sketch begins with Graham Chapman as host Arthur Figgis, who introduces the program and says Johann's full name twice before introducing his only surviving relative Karl; as he continues to say Karl's name, he is interrupted when the camera cuts to the interview with Karl himself (Terry Jones). Due to his age, Karl struggles to say Johann's full name, as well as that of his wife, Sarah, before John Cleese, the interviewer, interrupts and asks him "just quickly" if there are any specific memories he has of Johann. However, due to the length of time it takes to say Johann's name twice, Karl dies before the interviewer has a chance to finish. The interviewer drops the microphone and promptly begins to dig a grave for Karl, as Chapman and numerous other characters say Johann's full name once more.[10]
  • American animated sitcom Family Guy episode "Con Heiress" involves an extremely wealthy widowed heiress named "Margaret Woolworth Carrington von Schumacher Chanel Astor Livingston Compte de Saint-Exupéry Mountbatten Windsor Armani Roosevelt von Trapp Wickenham Hearst Montgomery Rothschild Johnson & Johnson Twilsworth Dolce Gabbana Von Zweiger second Montgomery Delaroche Geico Vanderbilt Lannister van Buren Butterworth How I Met Your Mother Wrigley Louise Dreyfus Ludwig Morgan Stanley Dumont Lamborghini Forbes Higby Winthrop Chanel Rémy Martin Fitzwilliam Kennedy Motel 6 Fairchild Brook Pritzker Davenport von Stolen Monty Python Ellisworth Aston Martin Haverbrook Ziff Lauder Hilton DuPont Kincade Winslow Coors Oviatt Marlboro Pembroke Huffington Bush Mellon Sinclair Mellencamp Starbucks van Dyke third Montgomery Marriott Barrington Chatsworth Big League Chew Chesterfield Kensington Booth Bishop Longbottom Nottingham Meisterburger Burgermeister Tudor Hapsburg Rockefeller Onassis", whose name is said twice in full and an additional time in song. One of her last names ("von Stolen Monty Python") is a direct acknowledgement of the Johann Gambolputty sketch.


  1. ^ "The Japanese Language Boom". Takarabako. The Japan Forum. 2005. Archived from the original on 2021-09-22. Retrieved 2021-09-22.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Chochoi no choi anki "Jugemu"" ちょちょいのちょい暗記「寿限無(じゅげむ)」. Nihongo de Asobō (Let's play with Japanese) にほんごであそぼ (in Japanese). NHK. Archived from the original on 2020-11-01. Retrieved 2021-09-21. (Video in the archive does not work. Archive of a script-only page: [1])
  3. ^ San'yūtei, Fukuenyu (June 1912). Kokkei Hyakumenso 滑稽百面相 (in Japanese). Miyoshiya. p. 57. doi:10.11501/891285.
  4. ^ San'yūtei, Kinba III (1959). Ukiyo Dango 浮世だんご (in Japanese) (paperback ed.). Japan: Tsuribitosha (published September 1993). p. 64. ISBN 978-4885362217.
  5. ^ Legends Of Localization: Super Mario Bros.
  6. ^ https://www.nicovideo.jp/watch/nm12290697
  7. ^ Yang, Jeff. "Born to Rebel", San Francisco Chronicle, March 25, 2009.
  8. ^ Paul Wing (talking) (October 17, 1941). Long-Name-No-Can-Say (Adapted by Paul Wing) (78 rpm record). Bluebird Records Made by RCA Victor. Album BC-50.
  9. ^ The Brothers Four. The Brothers Four (LP recording). New York: Columbia, 1960 (CL 1402). LC 93705344. OCLC 15100364.
  10. ^ "Monty Python's Flying Circus: Just the Words - Episode 6". www.ibras.dk. Retrieved 12 December 2016.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]