I only started watching New Japan Pro Wrestling regularly in the beginning of 2015, and one of the biggest mysteries to me since then was Satoshi Kojima’s catchphrase. He always yells it very quickly, and I can’t quite catch the front part. I finally understand what it means now after the commentators for a February 2017 show repeated his lines for me:
icchau zo, baka yarou!
If we were to translate it, the rough meaning would be: “Let’s go, you bastard!”
However, according to a Yahoo Japan user named toukonkick, it doesn’t really have any meaning and is just meant to be a catchphrase to get the audience excited. Kojima was trained by Stan Hansen, a highly popular American wrestler in Japan. According to toukonkick, when Hansen was still with Kojima, each time after Kojima’s catchphrase, Hansen would follow up with a “YEAH!”.
While on the topic of NJPW catchphrases, here are a couple of other popular ones:
nakasu zo, kono yarou!
Translation: I’m gonna make this bastard cry!
tranquilo! assen na yo!
Translation: Calm down!
Tranquilo is literally the Spanish word for “quiet”, which the English word “tranquil” comes from. Here the Spanish and Japanese portions of his catchphrase mean the same thing: Calm down, or don’t panic.
Random notes: The base verb 焦る means “to be in a hurry” or “to become flustered”. When you add a 「な」 suffix to a verb, it becomes a negative (i.e. the opposite of its dictionary meaning). It took me a long time to figure out what the base verb for assen is, until I saw a spectator holding up a sign with the kanji written out. This was when my kanji dictionary became handy.
So foreign NJPW fans, now that you understand what these catchphrases mean, I hope that you’ll have more fun screaming them out in the future!