How the Tiger Mask Movement in Japan Started

January 9, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. pioneer /ˌpaɪəˈnɪər/ (v.) – to start or to lead in the development of something
Example: A group of businessmen pioneered the yearly donation program 10 years ago.

2. advocate /ˈædvəˌkeɪt/ (v.) – to support or to publicly recommend something
Example: Churches advocate anonymous donations to avoid too much attention.

3. protagonist /proʊˈtægənɪst/ (n.) – the main character
Example: The story of the movie revolves around the protagonist.

4. alter ego /ˈɔltər ˈigoʊ/ (n.) – other personality of someone
Example: The alter ego of Superman is Clark Kent or Kal-El.

5. prevalent /ˈprɛvələnt/ (adj.) – happening in a wide range
Example: Wrestling entertainment is still prevalent even if fans know that it is scripted.


Read the text below.
The man who pioneered the “Tiger Mask” movement in Japan revealed his past in an interview during an event in a children’s welfare facility in Adachi Ward, Tokyo.

Tiger Mask is a 1970s Japanese comic story about a protagonist who fights in professional wrestling to help the children in an orphanage. Similar to this comic story, the “Tiger Mask” movement also advocates donations to orphanages.

The movement began in December 2010 in which the anonymous man bought backpacks for the children in the “Christmas Village.” The bags had a message saying the gifts came from “Naoto Date” [NAW-to DA-te], the alter ego of the wrestler in the comics.

The 40-year-old man, who wished to remain anonymous, has been donating in the Christmas Village for 16 years. He felt sadness for the orphans who were homeless and out of school. So, he started the movement in order to give the orphans hope by being their Santa Claus.

The man’s mother died when he was three while his father rejected him. He grew up with different relatives who disrespected him. With his experiences, he promised that he would help his fellow orphans in the future. At 24, he got a job and started donating 10,000 yen monthly to the children’s facility.

Through the media, The Tiger Mask movement has widely spread since 2010. The anonymous donor was thankful to the people who spread the movement, saying he was not expecting other anonymous Tiger Mask donors to become prevalent in the country.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Why do you think the donor donates anonymously?
·         Are you in favor of anonymous donation? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         Aside from orphanages, what other facilities need donations? Why do you think so?
·         What should the government do to help orphans? Please explain your answer.


January 9, 2014