Tiger Mask

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This article is about the Japanese manga series. For Japanese professional wrestling persona, see Tiger Mask (professional wrestling).
Tiger Mask
Tiger Mask vol 1.jpg
Cover of the 2001 re-release of the first manga volume
(Taigā Masuku)
Genre Sports (professional wrestling)
Written by Ikki Kajiwara
Illustrated by Naoki Tsuji
Published by Kodansha
Demographic Shōnen
Magazine Bokura Magazine (1968–1969)
Weekly Shōnen Magazine
Original run 19681971
Volumes 14
Anime television series
Directed by Takeshi Tamiya
Written by Masaki Tsuji
Tadashi Kondo
Toyohiro Ando
Music by Shunsuke Kikuchi
Studio Toei Animation
Original network Yomiuri TV
Original run October 2, 1969September 30, 1971
Episodes 105
Anime film
Directed by Takeshi Tamiya
Studio Toei Animation
Released 1970 (1970)
Anime television series
Tiger Mask II
Directed by Kozo Morishita
Written by Haruya Yamazaki
Music by Shunsuke Kikuchi
Studio Toei Animation
Original network TV Asahi
Original run April 20, 1981January 18, 1982
Episodes 33
Live-action film
Directed by Ken Ochiai
Produced by Toshiaki Nakazawa
Hidehiro Ito
Yoshihiro Yamamoto
Written by Hidehiro Ito
Itaru Era
Ken Ochiai
Michael Welles Schock
Music by Koji Endo
Studio Shochiku
Released November 9, 2013 (2013-11-09)
Runtime 90 minutes
Wikipe-tan face.svg Anime and Manga portal

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 1971 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 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.


In the manga and anime, 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.

Though victorious, Naoto eventually dies while saving a child. He pushes him out of the way of a speeding car, only to be hit by the car himself. Dying, he pulls his tiger mask from his pocket and throws it into a nearby river, preserving the secret of his identity.

In Tiger Mask II (タイガーマスク二世?), 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. He would put on his old hero's mask to become the new Tiger Mask.


Tiger Mask and His Comrades[edit]

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[edit]

Mr. Wakatsuki (若月先生 Wakatsuki-sensei?)
Ruriko Wakatsuki (若月 ルリ子 Wakatsuki Ruriko?)
Kenta (健太?)
Yoshibo Sasaki (佐々木 ヨシ坊 Sasaki Yoshi-bo?)
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[edit]

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 style against some fighters chosen by him. The night of September 3, 1971 (the 46th year of the Showa period)[1], when he finally fights with Tiger Mask, he reassumes his old name: Tiger The Great.

Tiger The Great is too strong even for Naoto. The match rapidly becomes a brutal beatdown, culminating when Tiger The Great rips the mask off Naoto's face with a broken wood board. This act snaps the already fragile mind of Naoto, driving him to an escalation of violence that stops only with the death of Tiger The Great, smashed under the illumination stage.

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. The night of March 25, 1971, his fight with Tiger Mask rapidly escalates to a real bloodbath. In the end, King Tiger dies impaling himself on the jagged remains of a table.

Other characters[edit]

TV Announcer

Ring announcer and narrator.

Tiger Mask II characters[edit]

Name Voiced by
Tatsuo Aku Hideyuki Hori
Midori Ariyoshi Chiyoko Kawashima
Antonio Inoki Banjo Ginga
Arman Hassan Chikao Otsuka
Junko Tachibana Mami Koyama
Kazuya Tachibana Satomi Majima
Hinode Sports Desk Chikao Otsuka
Mr. Ishimatsu Kaneto Shiozawa
Mr. Saiga Hideyuki Tanaka
Mina Saiga Chisato Nakajima
Ichiro Furutachi[2] Kōji Yada

Publication history[edit]

The manga was originally created for the Bokura and Weekly Shōnen 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.[3] Most of the environment and characters were fictional, but real-life pro wrestlers like Antonio Inoki, Giant Baba, Michiaki Yoshimura, Kintaro Ohki 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.[4] The series, entitled Tiger Mask W, is set to premiere on TV Asahi in October 2016.[5] It is also currently streaming on Crunchyroll, marking it as the first Tiger Mask anime available to American viewers. [6] This new series is the exclusive sequel of the anime version and completely ignores Tiger Mask II, which is the sequel of the manga because confirms Naoto Date's death. In fact, Naoto could be still alive.



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

Japanese Name English Name Release Date Type
タイガーマスク Tiger Mask 1970 movie
タイガーマスク ふく面リーグ戦 Tiger Mask: War against the League of Masked Wrestlers July 19, 1970 movie
タイガーマスク Tiger Mask November 9, 2013 movie

Video games[edit]

While the Tiger Mask character has shown up in quite 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 video games are not directly based on the story of the manga or anime.

The Tekken video game series has a character named King who is an homage of Tiger Mask, except King wears a jaguar mask instead.

Street Fighter II, in its early concept design stages, had a very similar homage to Tiger Mask in its character roster. [7]

Cultural influences[edit]

  • 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.[8]
  • 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.[9]


  1. ^ "タイガーマスク第104話/血戦!!「虎の穴」意識が次第に薄れてゆく". Retrieved 2017-04-06. 
  2. ^ His name was never revealed during the series. This is the official source.
  3. ^ Clements, Jonathan. McCarthy Helen. [2006] (2006). The Anime Encyclopedia: Revised & Expanded Edition. Berkeley, CA: Stone Bridge Press. ISBN 978-1-933330-10-5
  4. ^ Rose, Bryan (March 3, 2016). "NJPW New Japan Cup results: Big announcements, first round of matches". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved March 3, 2016. 
  5. ^ "【新日】オカダが新アニメ「タイガーマスクW」に登場!「実際のプロレスも見てもらいたい」". Tokyo Sports (in Japanese). August 17, 2016. Retrieved August 17, 2016. 
  6. ^ http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2016-09-30/crunchyroll-to-stream-tiger-mask-w-anime/.107105
  7. ^ Kolher, Chris. "The Making of Street Fighter 2". Insert Credit. Retrieved 24 October 2016. 
  8. ^ Guerrero, Eddie (2005). Cheating Death, Stealing Life: The Eddie Guerrero Story. Simon and Schuster. p. 91. ISBN 0-7434-9353-2. 
  9. ^ "Gifts from 'comic heroes' help Japan's orphans." CNN. January 11, 2011. Retrieved on January 12, 2011.

External links[edit]