The following interview with Shoko Nakajima originally ran in Japanese in Weekly Pro Wrestling issue 2009.
Shoko Nakajima, the “1.47-Meter Big Kaiju” of Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestler, has kept a comfortable distance from TJPW’s title scene recently. But that all changed at Shinkiba First Ring on April 13, when she issued a heartfelt challenge to Miyu Yamashita, the current Tokyo Princess of Princess champion. As her May 3 title match with Yamashita approaches, Nakajima bares her feelings towards her fellow wrestlers, as well as towards the belt that she’s yet to claim for her own.
Interview by Yuuki Ishii.
“Yamashita = Champion” — A hard truth to swallow, but the truth
What’s your impression of Miyu Yamashita right now, as you prepare to face her at Korakuen Hall?
Yamashita’s been the ace of TJPW since the moment it was founded, right? She’s carrying the whole promotion, right? I don’t think she was even aware of her position at first. But once she got the belt, I think the idea started to sprout in her head, like, “Okay, I’m the one who’s gonna lead this promotion.”
Continue reading “The Big Kaiju Raids Again! Interview with Shoko Nakajima”
The former Nodoka Oneesan made her (second) debut at Tokyo Joshi Pro’s Korakuen Hall event on August 25. Now Nodoka Tenma, she showed off a new costume, new entrance music, a new finisher – everything. I previously translated her final blog post as Nodoka Oneesan, so it only seemed appropriate to do her first as Nodoka Tenma as well.
(The following blog entry originally appeared in Japanese on Nodoka Tenma’s blog.)
One thing about me is, deep down, I’m pretty gloomy. Like, really. To the roots. Make no mistake, Yuki [Aino]’s always been the brighter, more optimistic, more annoying sister between us.
But even so, when I was a kid, I loved singing and acting. I was fearless and loved to be the center of attention.
I performed in musicals, I played in a band, and all that. But as I grew into adulthood, I started to see my own ceiling. And that’s a scary thing! So I set my limits before I could risk crashing into that ceiling.
Continue reading “Nodoka Tenma: Existence”
Bear with me for a little bit of introduction before the translation this time around. Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling, as a promotion, is more character-driven than most. Though there’s little in the way of official translated content available, many of the characters fit into archetypes – Wannabe superhero! Serious martial artist! Disgraced pop singer! Snooty aristocrat! Hungry zombie! – that any audience can immediately identify, no matter what language they speak.
Nodoka Oneesan (my personal favorite member of the TJPW roster, incidentally) is not one of these characters.
Nodoka’s current character is based on hosts from Japanese children’s shows – most specifically, from a program called Okaasan to Asobou (Let’s Play with Mommy!) that aired from 1966 to 1982. One incarnation of this particular show is the origin of both her entrance music and Pin Pon Pan Taiso, the aerobic dance she leads as part of all of her pre-match promos.
Similar programs still air on TV in Japan today, most notably Okaasan to Issho (Together with Mommy), the inspiration for much of Okaasan to Asobou, which has run on NHK since 1959. A cast of “Big Brothers” and “Big Sisters” hosts the show, leading children in songs and simple exercises. Each of them suffixes their name with oniisan or oneesan and writes it in easy-to-read hiragana, just like Nodoka Oneesan’s current ring name. Big Sister Nodoka.
Anyway, now that you know all that, read on to find out why you don’t need to know all that anymore.
Continue reading “Nodoka’s Decision”
(This interview was originally published in Japanese in the August 2018 issue of Ladys Ring.)
For this installment of Ladys Ring’s “Dangerous Women” series, we sat down for a candid interview with Maki Ito – the outspoken “idol wrestler” who has an army of Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling fans calling her name whenever she brings her unique presence to the ring. Interview by Junichi Sase.
Your wrestling career has a lot of people talking. When is it that you feel most like you’ve truly become a wrestler?
Back when I was an idol, all I did was sing and dance, week in, week out. But nowadays, working out – not to mention getting tackled and so on – has become more of an everyday thing for me. As an idol, I just felt blank. But now that I’m a wrestler, I’m constantly suffering. I’m finally feeling something! It’s like, “Ah, this is what it means to be a wrestler!”
Your wrestling career has roots back in 2013, when you participated in DDT’s Idol Lumberjack 4-Way at Ryogoku Sumo Hall as a member of LinQ. What did you think when you first got that offer?
I was completely on board! I had absolutely zero interest in pro wrestling, but it’s Sumo Hall, right? I’d never performed there before, of course, so I said yes for the chance to get on such a huge stage. Besides, it’s not like I did any actual wrestling in that match! Just headbutts.
Continue reading “Throwing your life away with Maki Ito”