King’s nickname originates from a pun on a Japanese pop culture sensation. This answer got pretty long because I had to do some digging for it, so I
put a tl;dr version at the bottom if you want to skip to that!
Someone actually asked her a question about this on Uraraji (Uranohoshi Girls’ High School Radio)! King was the guest while Aikyan was the host on Ep7 (May 25th), and the very first question they got in the letter corner was, “King, why are you called ‘King’?”
King laughs about it since “King” sounds very almighty and at first glance, doesn’t appear to have anything to do with her name. Apparently, it comes from “Takatsuking”, a pun on her last name (King has had several nicknames, which include “Kyanako”, “Kaako”, and “Takatsuking” according to her Twitter).
King mentions that when the cast members of Aqours all met up for the first time and introduced themselves, she told everyone that they could call her either “Takatsuking” or “Kanako” - whichever they were most comfortable with. Everyone chose “Takatsuking” since it left such an impression on them. Since “Takatsuking” is kinda long, at some point people decided to shorten it to “King”…and apparently King herself has no idea exactly when this happened. If she was walking on the streets and someone called out “King!” to her, she’d probably go “wait wut who are you talking to?” lol.
You can listen to that segment from the radio here. Hm…now that you’ve mentioned it, since that part is relatively short, maybe I should sub it? I don’t know if people would be interested in something in that though.
After some Googling, I dug up this seiyuu info site which explained the meaning behind it. My Japanese isn’t the best (so if anyone finds something wrong here, please feel free to tell me), but I believe what King was referring to was a program aired on Monday nights hosted by Matsuko Deluxe and Murakami Shingo. Murakami’s a Japanese entertainer known for being a member of the idol group Kanjani Eight (関ジャニ∞), and had a single titled “愛loveyou“ (ai love you). Clips from the PV were used as comedic fodder on his show since he acts hilariously gangsta in it (a stark contrast to his usual persona). Lines from the song include “俺はKING!“ (I’m the KING!) and “Put your
hands up! Everybody!”, the latter of which was probably what King was
referring to in her tweet. Murakami’s hometown is apparently the city of Takatsuki, located in Osaka Prefecture,
so his line “I’m the KING!” led to him being labeled “Takatsuking” on
the late-night show from “高槻の王” (takatsuki no ou), or “King of
Apparently, this late-night Monday program is really popular among people in their teens and 20s, with an audience share of over 10% (which is quite big for a TV show). There’s no doubt that King is within this audience, since she’s in that age range and, of course, referred to that very show in her tweet. We can subsequently infer that King’s nickname “Takatsuking” was born from a mash-up of Murakami’s title and her own last name, “Takatsuki”.
Thus, it appears that “King” has no relation to her height after all! I think your guess was pretty solid though - I actually wondered the same thing myself, haha. I guess we both learned something today, so thanks for sending me this ask!
tl;dr: popular Monday night show in Japan has a dude referred to as the “King” of Takatsuki (city in Osaka) >> Takatsuki Kanako gains the nickname “Takatsuking” since the pun works with her last name >> Nickname is too long so it gets abbreviated to “King”. RIP King’s actual name.
Thank you so much for your post on LGBT characters in The Penisman. You mentioned briefly about Nico and Okama culture. I was wondering, if you have time, if you could make a post about LGBT characters in TG with a mind towards Japanese understandings of LGBT culture, because there seems to be a lot of confusion in the English language fandom. Thank you again!
Well, there’s a lot of confusion in the Japanese society, too, anon! It’d take me light years to make that post. The tricky part is, most Japanese people are about as in tune with LGBT issues as your sweet, but homophobic greatgrandma. Or FOX News. Imagine relying on them to tell you what, say, “transgender” actually means.
That’s what it’s like with okama. For a lot of Japanese people, “gay” is synonymous with “transgender”, because that’s what they see on TV. A well-known entertainer Matsuko Deluxe, who is a gay man performing in drag, famously complained that he can’t be on TV in any other role, because people don’t understand how he can like men and not desire to be a woman.
Okama is always derogatory, except when a person reclaims it to describe himself (like Nico does in Tokyo Ghoul). So while okama used by the LGBT community means “effeminate gay man”, as an insult (meaning, when used by the general public) it means “tranny”. Okama are men; they may or may not crossdress, they may or may not use make-up, they use stylized female speech and female gestures, but they don’t identify as women. I mean, going back to Tokyo Ghoul, you can call Nico “girl”, just as some gay men call each other “girl”, but if you seriously call him a woman or transgender, you’d be insulting him and perpetuating harmful stereotypes.
The rule of thumb with okama is to treat it like the word “dyke” - Ellen Page can call herself a big dyke all she wants, but if you call Ellen Page a big dyke - you’re an asshole.
You mentioned before that Japanese people have a different history/view on gay rights? I was just wondering if you could possibly tell us what hey are? If you don't feel like it or don't want, I can google it but I wanted to hear from someone who could probably explain it better than a web page, haha.
Anonymous said to akumadeenglish: Hello :) I read your thoughts on Grell, and you wrote to the previous Anon that “Japanese people have different history of / views on LGBT as compared to Western people/culture/history.” Could you elaborate on it, please? How is it different? I’m from Europe, and I have very limited knowledge of Japanese people/culture. I hate to admit it but pretty much all I know comes from manga and anime. I’m sure that’s not how things work in real life though.
Hi, sorry for the late reply! I wasn’t sure if I should answer your question or not, since this is a highly delicate topic. Anyways, please keep in mind that I’m in no way an expert in Japanese history or culture, much less in LGBT issues! The following is just my personal opinion! (x_x)
About history: Ancient Japan traditionally used to be rather tolerant of same-sex love. It was called ‘danshoku’ and it wasn’t really a taboo, people back then seem to have been quite open about that. However, with the influx of Western culture and values in the 19th century, it was gradually regarded as something ‘wrong’ and this way of thinking still persists among the old generations. (I’m pretty sure though that conservative old people exist everywhere and not only in Japan!) That being said, I think the majority of Japanese people, especially the young generation, noawadays have no problems accepting same-sex love, at least I’ve never met a homophobic young Japanese in my life =D
About people: Imo Japan is not that conservative, nontheless there still is a big difference in the level of public and individual concern as compared to Western countries. Western people seem to take this topic very seriously and there are a lot of discussions, campaigns and political movements (as lately in the US) regarding LGBT rights, whereas in Japan there’s very little awareness. If you interviewed random Japanese people on that topic, most of them would probably say “I don’t care.” or just “I don’t know.”. I bet many people have never even heared of the term ‘LGBT’. This general lack of interest and knowledge leads to the fact that most people here neither oppose nor support LGBT rights actively.
About culture: As I mentioned in this post, there is a unique culture(?) of okama (オカマorオネエ系キャラ) in Japan. They are specific type of gay people who use the characteristic okama-language, the oldfashioned, overly feminine way of talking. They often appear in TV shows and even though they aren’t comedians, they are often treated as such. Okama is a well-established culture in Japan, so if you asked me whether I regard Grell as a ‘woman’ or ‘man’, I’d simply answer “Grell is an okama.” and this is why Grell’s gender never really becomes an issue in the Japanese Kuroshitsuji fandom (unlike in the Western fandom).
Some famous okama celebrities: top right - Matsuko Deluxe, top left -
IKKO, bottom right - Mitz Mangrove, bottom left - Chris Matsumura
To sum it up, if you were gay and lived in Japan, it wouldn’t be hell (since same-sex love is not illegal and noone would offend/hate/discriminate you for being gay), but it wouldn’t be the paradise either (since same-sex marriage is still illegal and noone would truly understand/support/care about you). Okama celebrities are generally accepted and popular, but like I mentioned before, they are specific gay people, i.e. not every gay in Japan is automatically an okama, so I’m doubtful whether their acceptance among the audiences truly reflects the status of LGBT people. All in all, the problem in Japan is not homophobia, but the unconcernedness, i.e. the majority of Japanese people accepts same-sex love, but they do not support it actively.
So that was my take on this issue! I’m so exhausted after writing this essay, so if you have any further questions or if you want to know more about LGBT rights in Japan, please check these news articles:
[Preview] TV Asahi program “Yoru no chimata o haikai suru” O.A. on May 14th ~0:15 O'clock (JST) https://youtu.be/Q5qsPTguVUo - Japanese TV star “Matsuko Deluxe” wandering around Akihabara at night. Matsuko: “There’s a place I want to go.” so, she went to shopping at H!P shop Akiba and make a visit at “Hello☆Tribe” (ハロー☆トライブ is a H!P fan pub). Please looking forward to it!
FYI : She’s a H!P fan. xD