June 11, 2011

Evil Magistrates of Japan Past 悪代官

There has been a bit of an in joke in Japan that I have been thinking about for a while now but not really sure or the details. Basically it goes like this, there is an evil magistrate, called the 悪代官 (akudaikan: aku, evil+ daikan, magistrate). He appears in many period pieces and plays, but I can't find any evidence so far of an actual TV show about the character. He is deprived and lecherous, the epitome of corruption by power.

His signature move is the sash-pull, or 帯まわし (obimawashi: obi, sash+ mawashi, spin), where he pulls the sash off a poor kimono wearing girl from the local area. This is actually supposed to be funny, and his abashed victim always screams out あれ?! (are, the sound of surprise) while being helplessly spun around. Everybody in Japan seems to know the joke, and you will sometimes see it referenced in pop culture.

The evil magistrate character stars in his own video games as well. In the video below, I've set it to start at the end of his sash-pulling mini game, so you can see the results.

You can also see the slot machine version here, which features things like cosplay, tickle-torturing kunoichi (ninja women), and the youjinbou (bodyguard) character.

And for extra credit, study up on Evil Magistrate sayings here.

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