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()りバカ日誌(にっし) is a very popular movie series about ハマちゃん who only thinks about fishing. One day, he befriends an older fisherman whom he calls  スーさん. This older gentleman soon becomes ハマちゃん’s disciple.

But as it turns out, スーさん is actually the president and founder of the mega successful Suzuki Construction company and… he is ハマちゃん’s ultimate boss.

Much of the humor in this long running series comes from playing on this relationship. Considering the rigid hierarchy within Japanese companies (and Japanese society as a whole), there are many opportunties for laughs. Within the company, the president has a much, much higher social status than ハマちゃん, but, of course, outside the company, when fishing, the roles are reversed.

Starting in the late 80s and going throughout the 2000s, the series had movies released every year and, together with the even longer running (おとこ)はつらいよ series, it became an important symbol of Japanese culture and a yearly ritual for moviegoers.

  • ハマちゃん – the “fishing fool” who only thinks about fishing. He is played by  西田(にしだ)  敏行(としゆき).
  • スーさん – the company president and ハマちゃん’s disciple. He is played by 三國(みくに)  連太郎(れんたろう).
  • 佐々木(ささき)課長(かちょう) – Section Chief Sasaki, ハマちゃん’s immediate boss. He is played by (たに)(けい).

  • In today’s scene from the 1989 second movie in the series, ハマちゃん is being berated by his immediate boss, the 課長(かちょう), who is trying to encourage ハマちゃん  to work harder and spend less time thinking of fishing. The 課長(かちょう) informs our hero that when he was ハマちゃん’s age, he had already been promoted to 課長(かちょう) (section chief).

    Then, ハマちゃん  comments that while that was impressive, his boss has been 課長(かちょう) for a very, very long time and still is the 課長(かちょう). In other words, it has been a very long time since the last promotion. His boss momentarily falls for ハマちゃん’s trap, but quickly realizes the comment was more of an insult than an innocent remark.

    ハマちゃん  is an expert at avoiding work, and here he uses his gift of gab to accomplish that. Let’s watch the scene.

    Let’s go over the vocabulary found in the scene


    your | age | at | as for | already | section chief | was | (explanation | emphatic)

    When I was your age, I had already been (promoted to) section chief.



    Isn’t that right, Yamamoto?






    well | but | that | since | fairly | long | hasn’t it?

    Yeah, but you’ve been the section chief for quite a long time, haven’t you?


    そう そう そう そう (なが)いんだよね〜。

    yes | yes | yes | yes | long | hasn’t it

    Yeeeeeaaaaah, it’s been soo long.



    yeah | long | matter

    Yeah, such a long, long, long time.



    what kind of | meaning | is | as for that

    That?! What do you mean?



    well | that | (direct object marker) | speak | doing so | again | become longer | therefore

    Well, that would also be a long story so,


    仕事(しごと) (はい)っていいですか?

    work | enter | good | is it?

    May I go back to work?



    Do whatever!


    はい はい はい

    Yes, yes, yes.


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