Home Podcasts Ichimon Japan What is the Curse of the Colonel? | Ichimon Japan 11

What is the Curse of the Colonel? | Ichimon Japan 11

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Today’s Question

On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: What is the Curse of the Colonel?

Topics Discussed

  • What the famous Curse of the Colonel is
  • How tall and how heavy the statues of Colonel Sanders that are seen at Japanese KFC locations are
  • How the tradition of the Dotombori Dive began
  • The Hanshin Tigers
  • How the Hanshin Tigers were named after the Detroit Tigers
  • Why a statue of Colonel Sanders was thrown into the Dotombori River in 1985
  • Randy Bass and his connection to the Curse of the Colonel
  • How the missing statue of the Colonel was found in the Dotombori River in 2009
  • The tradition of the Dotombori Dive and some of the deaths and accidents that have resulted from it
  • What parts of the Colonel Sanders statue remain missing
  • Whether the Hanshin Tigers remain cursed
  • Where the statue of Colonel Sanders that was thrown into the Dotombori River in 1985 is today
  • How Randy Bass’ name changed when he began playing in Japan
  • What Randy Bass did after going back to the US in 1988
  • The suicide of Shingo Furuya
  • And more!

Note: Japanese-language sources do indeed indicate that the name of the Hanshin Tigers was based on that of the Detroit Tigers.

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Sources, Links, Videos, Etc.

Here’s a video of the Dotombori area. It starts by showing the famous Glico man sign, which is best viewed from Ebisu Bridge.

Here are some people doing the Dotombori Dive while celebrating Halloween.

Here are two videos of the guy who jumped off the Ebisu Bridge in 2019 during the eve to the start of the Reiwa period. These videos show the guy yelling “Heisei Arigato” before jumping off the bidge and landing on a tour boat below.

The video below is narrated by the “Heisei Arigato” guy. In it he explains that he ended up with a compound fracture in one of his arms and went to the hospital after getting off the boat. He also discourages people from following his example. The video is in Japanese.


The Kotaku article below is about the Dotombori Dive.

The link below is for the KFC Japan website that has the information about the measurements of the Colonel Sanders statues seen in Japanese KFCs. It also explains that it was a KFC Japan executive who noticed a statue of the Colonel during a visit to Canada. The statue had been specially made for a special event. The executive liked it so much that he/she took it with him/her back to Japan. Being that KFC was still establishing itself, it needed something to help it stand out, so one of the ways they did this was to use the statues of Colonel Sanders.

And here is a report filed in 2009 covering the discovery of the Colonel Sanders that Hanshin Tigers fans dumped into the Dotombori River in 1985. The report is in Japanese.

Japanese Vocabulary List

Most episodes feature at least one or two interesting Japanese words or phrases. Here’s some of the ones that came up on this episode. All information is from Jim Breen’s WWWJDIC.

  • Hanshin
    • 阪神 【はんしん】 (n) (1) Osaka-Kobe; (2) Hanshin (company name: railway, dept. store, baseball team, etc.)

We Want Your Questions

Is there something about Japan that confuses you? Is there something about Japanese culture that you would like to learn more about? Is there something in Japanese history that you would like us to explain? We’re always looking for new questions about Japan to answer, so if you have one, please send it to ichimon@japankyo.com.

Special Thanks

Opening/Closing Theme: Produced by Apol (YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Fiverr)

Ichimon Japan cover art: Produced by Erik R.

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Full Show Notes

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