Not to be confused with Tigers Mask.

Tiger Mask (タイガーマスク 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 1969 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 Tiger's Cave, 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 Tiger's Cave 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.


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.[1] Most of the environment and characters were fictional, but real-life pro wrestlers like Antonio Inoki, Giant Baba, Michiaki Yoshimura, Kintaro Ohki, Seiji Sakaguchi were included in the manga and anime as well.

A continuation of the series was followed by Tiger Mask II in 1981.



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Tiger Mask and His Comrades

Naoto Date (伊達直人, Date Naoto?)/Tiger Mask (タイガーマスク?)
Kentaro Takaoka (高岡拳太郎, Takaoka Kentarou?)/Yellow Devil (イエロー・デビル?)
Daigo Daimon (大門大吾, Daimon Daigo?)/Mister Fudo (ミスター不動?)
Toranosuke Arashi (嵐虎之介, Arashi Toranosuke?)
The Great Zebra (ザ・グレイト・ゼブラ?)

Chibikko House

Mr. Wakatsuki (若月先生, Wakatsuki-sensei?)
Ruriko Wakatsuki (若月ルリ子, Wakatsuki Ruriko?)
Kenta (健太?)
Yoshibou (ヨシ坊?)
Chappy (チャッピー?)
Gaboten (ガボテン?)
Mikuro (ミクロ?)
Yoko Takaoka (高岡洋子, Taka?)

Tiger's Cave

Mister X (ミスターX?)
Boss (ボス?)
Big Tiger (ビッグ・タイガー?)
Black Tiger (ブラック・タイガー?)
King Tiger (キング・タイガー?)
Miracle 3 (ミラクル3?)
See Boss
Tiger The Great (タイガー・ザ・グレイト?)
See Boss

Japanese Pro Wrestling Promotion

Giant Baba
See The Great Zebra
Antonio Inoki
Kintaro Ohki/Kim Ill (キム・イル?)


Jack Brisco (ジャック・ブリスコ?)
Mister Kamikaze (ミスター・カミカゼ?)
Black V (ブラックV?)
Announcer (アナウンサー?)


The movies were titled as such in English when exported outside Japan. They are by no means 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


  • Back drop
  • Fujiyama Tiger Backbreaker: Kicking the opponent into the air and catching them into a back breaker with your head directly under and against their spine.
  • Tiger V: Combination of a Tomoe Nage, Pile Driver and leg splitting

Notable Opponents Manga

  • Black Python
  • Gorillaman
  • Apollo Brothers: One is a beast who was easily defeated, the weaker looking suave older brother was a technician.
  • Black V: Protege of Bobo Brazil, Black V is flexible like a yoga master, extremely hard head butts and his finisher is a spinning flying missile headbutt.
  • Mr. ?: A very old and legendary wrestler from India. Wanted to punish Tiger Mask for being such an evil wrestler, didn't realize that Tiger had become good.
  • !: A creepy alien looking wrestler that actually was a short guy with a bowling ball on top of his head under the costume. Had oil on his body.
  • Gorgotha Cross: Fights Tiger with a spiked crucifix in the middle of the ring. Uses fake blood to get compassion from his opponents by looking hurt and then takes advantage.
  • The Golden mask: Wears a medieval looking golden mask with steel teeth. The mask can emit a super shiny bright ray that temporarily blinds his opponents.
  • The Dracula: Wears a full body suit and mask covered in hair, the hair becomes thorns that will cause you to bleed out, under the outfit is a handsome wrestler.
  • Satan the Kid
  • Lionman: The coach at the Tiger's Hole
  • Mapman: Looks like Frankenstein, has scars all over his body
  • Mr. Kamikaze: Ruler of the underground pro wrestling org in France. A former Karate-ka.
  • The Red Death Mask: A legendary figure that is almost like a assassin for the Tiger's Hole. Mask is jester like with bug like compound eyes. Wears an attire all in red, with a cape and pointy shoes like the Iron Sheik.
  • Fake Tiger: A Korean wrestler who was a friend of Date Naoto who had a similar build to him. He wore a tiger mask with steel fangs, note that the real tiger mask had plastic fangs. They fought in a Vegas style match that was luck induced, where weapons would come from the floor of the arena gladiator style.
  • The Piranian: His true identity was a man known as Iron Tusk. He used his steel dentures for biting and his dorsal fin on his costume to attack Tiger Mask, but his ultimate move was to take Tiger Mask into the water in a pool death match.
  • Devilspider: No doubt this character was used as the blue print for the Ashuraman character in Kinnikuman. A former circus acrobat, Tiger fought Devilspider on a spider web looking trampoline-ish ring.
  • Mr. Hyde
  • Universal Kamen: former acrobat
  • Viking Kidd: In a Ocean ring death match
  • Cyclone Guston: Speculated to be a former pro-football player, has only eye on his mask.
  • Miracle Three: The ultimate from the Tiger's Hole. Said to have perfected all three qualities of a master pro wrestler—technique, strength, and rule breaking—it turned out that it was actually three guys with similar build and attire.
  • Guillotine Gordon
  • Killer Kowalski: In this manga nicknamed Hell's President.

Video games

While the Tiger Mask character has shown up in quite a number of wrestling video games such as Fire Prowrestling D, Toukon Retsuden 3, and Virtual Pro Wrestling 64, the video games are not directly based on the story of the manga or anime. Tiger Mask was originally supposed to be a character in Street Fighter II.[citation needed] The Tekken video game series has a character named King that is an homage of Tiger Mask, there is no coincidence that the pro wrestler, the original Tiger Mask, Satoru Sayama, later in his career was called Tiger King.

Professional wrestling

Main character

The anime ended in 1971, but continued to be so popular that the bookers in the New Japan Pro Wrestling promotion licensed the character and created a real-life Tiger Mask in 1981, originally portrayed by Satoru Sayama. Sayama played the role until 1983, when he left New Japan due to his hatred for the backstage politics of professional wrestling in general. As Tiger Mask, Sayama feuded with Kuniaki Kobayashi, Canada's Bret Hart, and the legendary United Kingdomese man Dynamite Kid, the original Black Tiger (see below), Chris Adams, and Steve Wright, as well as Mexico's Fishman.

In 1984, the rights to the Tiger Mask gimmick were bought by All Japan Pro Wrestling and given to Mitsuharu Misawa. Misawa also feuded with Dynamite Kid and Kuniaki Kobayashi, as well as Chavo Guerrero, Sr. and Atsushi Onita; he then moved up to the heavyweight division to feud, albeit unsuccessfully, with Jumbo Tsuruta and Genichiro Tenryu. In May 1990, after Tenryu left All Japan, Misawa gave up the mask in the middle of a match to wrestle as himself.

New Japan's Koji Kanemoto became the third Tiger Mask in March 1992, but was unsuccessful due to the dominance of Jushin Liger. Kanemoto was never able to win a title as Tiger Mask, and eventually lost the mask in a mask-vs-mask match against Liger in January 1994.

Since 1995, the name Tiger Mask has been held by Yoshihiro Yamazaki, who was trained directly (and is officially endorsed) by Sayama. Tiger Mask IV, originally based at Michinoku Pro Wrestling, entered New Japan in 2002; since then, he has been one of the top candidates (alongside Minoru Tanaka) to replace the now-aging Liger as the top star of New Japan's junior heavyweight division.

A Fifth Generation Tiger Mask debuted on July 18, 2010 alongside the original Tiger Mask, Satoru Sayama, in a tag match for Maki Dojo.

Generation Name
Tiger Mask I Satoru Sayama
Tiger Mask II Mitsuharu Misawa
Tiger Mask III Koji Kanemoto
Tiger Mask IV Yoshihiro Yamazaki
Tiger Mask V Unknown

Related characters

The evil twin character Black Tiger (using a black costume with silver stripes) was created by New Japan to oppose the man who portrayed Tiger Mask at the time, although he did not have to have the existing Tiger Mask as his exclusive antagonist. Black Tiger had always been portrayed by foreign wrestlers: Mark Rocco (British), Eddie Guerrero (Mexican-American), Silver King (Mexican) and Rocky Romero (Cuban-American). As Black Tiger, Rocco also feuded with The Cobra (George Takano), and Guerrero also feuded with Jushin Liger and Wild Pegasus. A fifth Black Tiger surfaced and, breaking away from the Black Tiger tradition, recently revealed to be Tatsuhito Takaiwa, who had just finished a long run with the Zero-ONE promotion.

When Tiger Mask IV was in the Japanese independents, he was briefly opposed by The Masked Tiger, a character portrayed by Battlarts wrestler Takeshi Ono.

Último Dragón, as a temporary break between gigs in the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), adopted the name and character Second Tiger, modeled after the original, Satoru Sayama, who was his childhood idol. Último also made a character called Tiger Dragon which saw his attire a blend of the Último Dragón and Tiger Mask garb. Sayama himself used the Super Tiger (in the original UWF) and uses the Tiger King and Original Tiger Mask characters in special appearances since 1996, as a means to differentiate himself as being the original.

Sayama also gave brief authorization for a female version of the character, called Tiger Dream, to be played by female wrestler Candy Okutsu in the mid-1990s. He and Tiger Mask IV also provided her with training.

Osaka Pro has a wrestler named Tigers Mask who wears a mask similar to Tiger Mask and is portrayed as a fan of the Hanshin Tigers baseball team. Former Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling superstar Ricky Fuji developed a Tiger Mask persona of his own called Calgary Tiger, influenced by the Canadian city, where he was trained, and debuted as a wrestler.

Championships and accomplishments

Pop culture

Although the manga and anime ended in the early 1970s, Tiger Mask remains a popular character in Japan.

  • The Tekken series of video games have characters named King and Armor King who are modelled after the Tiger Mask and Black Tiger from the anime. This is evident by the fact that they are all masked professional wrestlers (though King and Armor king wear jaguar masks), and both King and Tiger Mask are orphans and were played by more than one person. In Tekken 5, you can purchase an alternate mask for King that appears to be a replica of the one worn by Tiger Mask.
  • In the Sailor Moon Musicals series a wrestler appears in the Ai no Sanctuary musical by the name of Sensational Jaguar Mask. This is thought to be an homage to Tiger Mask.
  • In the anime OVA Battle Royale High School, the main character is seen wearing a Jaguar mask (as in King from Tekken) when fighting the high school karate club.
  • On the post-humous album All Systems Go 3 by Rocket From The Crypt, there is an instrumental track entitled Tiger Mask. A version with lyrics has also been recorded in the compilation album: Dope, Guns and Fucking in the Streets, Vols. 8-11.


  1. Clements, Jonathan. McCarthy Helen. [2006] (2006). The Anime Encyclopedia: Revised & Expanded Edition. Berkeley, CA: Stone Bridge Press. ISBN 978-1-933330-10-5

External links

ar:النمر المقنع ko:타이거 마스크 it:L'Uomo Tigre ms:Tiger Mask pl:Tygrysia Maska

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