February 16, 2010

Ryoma Sakamoto has Taken Over Japan!

I can't go anywhere lately without spying the famous samurai Sakamoto Ryoma, the man that helped to overthrow the Tokugawa shogunate before being assassinated on his birthday at an inn. For me, it all started with this softbank ad:

Ad breakdown (top three lines only):
supiikaa zeyo= electronic speaker+emphasis particle
shaberu zeyo= speak +emp particle
shaberu otousan supiikaa= speak+father+speaker

So this is an ad for the To-san (the father/dog from softbank commercials) speaker promotional gift.
It seems ぜよ is from Kouchi prefecture's dialect (or Tosa-dialect if you want to get more accurate). It also seems to be an inflection of admonition. From what I've read it isn't really used by people in Kouchi anymore.
And then I heard that he was the official subject of this year's Taiga Drama. Every year Taiga Drama airs a different historical figure's life, and this time it's the Ryomaden (legend of Ryoma).

Ryoma-fever set in. I noticed he had spread like a virus to the book stores. This store section is completely dedicated to him:

Even food is not safe from his touch:

Links of interest: You may remember the actor in the drama, Masaharu Fukuyama, was featured in a karaoke training post here at THR (second one down).

Japan Probe found an ad that explores how his life could have been saved by a good car.

The Probe also found a clip where scientists reconstruct his voice.

The Tei-park museum has an exhibition of Ryoma open until the 21st of this month.

Japanese Study Links

Sign/Ad J | J Slang | J News w/Pics | J Vids
Karaoke | J Commercials | Let's Yoji!


  1. just a small correction:
    土佐弁 is with a short o. Tosa, not Tousa.
    Also, Sakamoto Ryoma was featured in a drama last season, i think, in JIN, the one about the time-travelling doctor. Although, he was not a main character.
    i love your blog, btw!

  2. fixed. It's amazing that I can type things in Japanese but not romaji.

    Thank you

    I never got to see Jin, only the promos. Which is a shame because I love Haruka.

  3. The recent Ryoma boom has been "very, very good to me." It's really boosted the traffic I get to a small web page I made dedicated to Sakamoto Ryoma. Somebody even bought a book that I was promoting, which is a rare event in my efforts at affiliate marketing. So I have to say, "Thank you" to NHK and their Taiga Drama.

  4. Yeah I read your Ryoma post a while back!
    Gewd stuff

  5. i've seen this guy everywhere too!
    i just spent one week in japan. although i went to nagasaki where he is mega famous, he is EVERYWHERE IN JAPAN. all the way to a whole section on him in various souvenir shops at 'kankuu' airport to kinokuniya in osaka to various places in fukuoka etc. ..
    if he hadn't have had that photo taken .. .


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