Cosplay KO

January 10, 2011

Time to get back into the swing of things for the New Year.

I’ve explained my enthusiasm for martial arts sports at length and now feel I can mine that dynamic world for amusing, frivolous stories without further adieu.


Yuichiro Nagashima: Kickboxer, Cosplayer

Yuichiro “Jienotsu” Nagashima is a decorated Japanese kickboxer who currently fights with the prestigious K-1 promotion in Japan. He’s also a passionate Cosplayer. So passionate, in fact, that it is said that Nagashima almost always appears in public dressed as a female anime character. In other words, he’s usually photographed dressed as a cartoon girl, turns up for pre-fight press conferences dressed like a cartoon girl, and always has elaborate ring entrances that involve a troupe of dancers accompanying him as he walks to the ring dressed like a cartoon girl. Of course, he can’t fight in these costumes and removes them before crossing the ropes but what a fabulous way to mindfuck your opponent prior to a professional fight; turn up dressed like a dancing cartoon girl. Then again, he’s a Japanese guy fighting in Japan, a land wherein standards of mindfuckery stretch far beyond the pedestrian perceptions of the average occidental. Short of arriving in the ring to stuff a small, live octopus into the vagina of squealing schoolgirl that he’s dragged along with him, there’s probably little Nagashima could do to unsettle rival fighters hailing from the same country.

Nagashima did once fight a Dutchman named Albert Kraus who deployed his feeble western imagination to comment that the quirky Japanese fighter “appeared to be gay” in heated exchanges prior to their bout (seriously, was that the best you could come up with?). Alas, Kraus defeated Nagashima by knockout, apparently not having succumb to the distracting psy-op of facing a man who pranced into the ring dressed like “Shana of the Blazing Eyes.”


Laugh with, not at, this guy....lest he fuck you up.

Accordingly, Yuichiro  Nagashima is adored by the denizens of Cosplay subculture. I don’t imagine Japanese adults and kids are subject to much mockery and ridicule for walking about in spiky day-glo wigs carrying oversized plastic swords but, if they ever are, presumably they view Nagashima as the guy who will intervene on their behalf (clad in a girl’s school uniform rendered in simple primary colours) in order to kick the ever-loving shit out of those that would mock their harmless cartoon cavorting. At any rate, he has a legion of fans behind him and they recently flexed some muscle of their own following an exhibition match between Nagashima and Shinya Aoki at the annual DREAM/K-1 Dynamite!! event staged on New Year’s Eve. Both DREAM and K-1 are fighting promotions operated by the same company FEG, with DREAM being a mixed martial arts promotion (striking, grappling, ground-fighting, submissions, etc.) and K-1 being a stand-up (striking only), essentially kickboxing, event. Having a long history of exalting the spectacle at the expense of the sensible, the Japanese company decided to put together a special match between the striker, Yuichiro Nagashima, and the highly-regarded submission wizard, Shinya Aoki. It was to feature special rules whereby the first round would be conducted under K-1 rules (a kickboxing match always on the feet, with no grappling or submissions) and the second one under DREAM‘s MMA rules. As a fighter in Japan, Shinya Aoki is a colorful and renowned figure in his own right. Regarded as one of the best lightweight fighters in the world, Aoki is an extraordinarily flexible, skilled and dangerous submission specialist. Known for fighting whilst clad in full-length, rainbow-colored spandex pants (that improve his grip when grappling), he has been described as looking like a 12-year-old nerd that nonetheless will break your arm in a heartbeat. At the same event the previous year he caught his opponent, Mizuto Hirota, in a modified hammerlock (that thing the cops do when they shove your arm up behind your back) and, when Hirota refused to submit, he just kept pulling on it until Hirota’s arm snapped. Mizuto Hirota has not fought since and is still rehabilitating the injury. Aoki is also a somewhat polarizing figure. Although respected for his submission game it has been noted that he doesn’t respond well to being hit in the face (a disadvantage for a professional fighter) and has a history of making the most of perceived fouls against him (illegal blows) in order to have fights ruled disqualification wins in his favour or to have a fight stopped and restarted to his advantage. He is also known for his trash talk along the lines of how great he is, technically on another level to his peers, etc. and he caused some controversy when, immediately following breaking Hirota’s arm, he gleefully jumped to his feet and flipped off the injured man before running around the ring flipping off the entire audience in attendance, in what has been called one of the most disgusting post-fight displays in the sport.

So Aoki met Nagashima on New Year’s Eve in their exhibition match. Sensibly, although it drew the ire of the crowd, Aoki really wasn’t up for standing and getting into a proper kickboxing match with Nagashima in the first round and instead chose to waste time on the clock by trying pro-wrestling dropkicks, repeatedly tying Nagashima up in clinches, and breaking the rules entirely by trying to take Nagashima down. There were no points in the fight as it was a weird hybrid match so the referee had no way of punishing Aoki for these transgressions. The first round craftily out of the way, Aoki began the second MMA round and went for an immediate takedown in order to swiftly wrap Nagashima up in his world of submission wizardry. Unfortunately for Aoki, Nagashima had other plans. The second round involved MMA rules but that still meant that all of Nagashima’s strengths (punching and kicking the fuck out of people) were still in play. As Aoki rushed toward Nagashima to shoot for the takedown, the toughest Cosplayer in the world launched a flying knee into Aoki’s jaw that brutally knocked out the heavily favoured grappler four seconds into the round.


Things not going as planned for Shinya Aoki

As humiliating a defeat as it was for Shinya Aoki, the humbled fighter found himself subject to a barrage of online insults and mockery from Nagashima’s legion of Cosplay fans following the fight, most of which came in the form of merciless Tweets. Aoki has since deleted his Twitter account, proving that it’s one thing to dish out the shit-talking, quite another to have it poured all over you courtesy of a bunch of people dressed like cartoon characters.



  1. And people called Mike Tyson kooky. Wonderful read man. You got a copy of the fight? Would love to see it. Been tuning into UFC on Korean TV lately. My bloodlust is palpable.

  2. There’s a video of the ring entrance and a few seconds of the short second round only.

  3. Full fight here (no ring entrance)

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