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Quiz about The Curse of the Colonel
Quiz about The Curse of the Colonel

The Curse of the Colonel Trivia Quiz


In 1985, just after winning a National Championship, one of Nippon professional baseball's most under-performing teams was struck by an unusual curse. Test your knowledge of the "Curse of the Colonel".

A multiple-choice quiz by CellarDoor. Estimated time: 5 mins.
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Author
CellarDoor
Time
5 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
270,832
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Tough
Avg Score
6 / 10
Plays
254
Awards
Top 5% quiz!
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Question 1 of 10
1. The accursed team, deeply and loyally beloved by fans all over the region of Kansai, was founded in 1935 and plays out of Hanshin K˘shien Stadium. Although they did not pick up a Japan Series championship until 1985, their rivalry with Tokyo's team is famous. What is the name of this unfortunate Kansai team? Hint


Question 2 of 10
2. To understand the origins of the curse, one must first grasp the level of devotion shown to the accursed team by their fans in Kansai. A good place to start is with the fact that the team's fight song is commonplace in Kansai's karaoke machines! In the song's official English version, one finds lines like, "Mighty spirit of the youth shows the victor's grace, the name that shines in glory ..." What mountain does the song refer to, in its first verse and in its title? Hint


Question 3 of 10
3. Even before their 1985 affliction by the Curse of the Colonel, the team had experienced a disheartening losing streak. Since the Japan Series championship was instituted in 1950, how many times had our heroes won the Series by the time the curse began? Hint


Question 4 of 10
4. If the MVP of the 1985 Japan Series hadn't been so unusual, jubilant fans would not have inadvertently provoked the curse. This first baseman, a gaijin (foreigner), played in the American Major Leagues for six years before becoming a star with the soon-to-be-accursed team. Who was this popular slugger, who went on to be elected state senator in his native Oklahoma? Hint


Question 5 of 10
5. The Curse of the Colonel is, unsurprisingly, blamed on a famous colonel, albeit one who was dead at the time. The colonel's spirit is supposedly angry about the undignified fate that befell a statue of him in the celebrations following the 1985 Japan Series. Who is the colonel in question? Hint


Question 6 of 10
6. The 1985 championship team is said to have been cursed because of what its fans did to the statue of a vengeful colonel. What is it that they did? Hint


Question 7 of 10
7. Was the ill-fated statue of the Colonel replaced after the 1985 incident?


Question 8 of 10
8. After a stellar 1985 season, the accursed team began to build up one of the worst records in the Central League. How long did it take the team to win their next Central League pennant? Hint


Question 9 of 10
9. The Colonel who had cursed the unfortunate baseball team became a bit of an obsession with area fans. After a much-desired 2002 victory in another sport, fans in Kobe kidnapped another statue of the Colonel and cut off his hands! What was the occasion for this act of vandalism? Hint


Question 10 of 10
10. In 2003, the Curse of the Colonel claimed its first human victim. After a win by the accursed team, its fans celebrated in a similar way to their boisterous 1985 revels, and a young man lost his life. How did he die? Hint



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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. The accursed team, deeply and loyally beloved by fans all over the region of Kansai, was founded in 1935 and plays out of Hanshin K˘shien Stadium. Although they did not pick up a Japan Series championship until 1985, their rivalry with Tokyo's team is famous. What is the name of this unfortunate Kansai team?

Answer: Hanshin Tigers

Owned by the Hanshin Electric Railway Co., the Tigers have been playing baseball in the Kansai region (which includes Kobe, Kyoto and Osaka) since 1936, when the first team was fielded a year after the club's founding. The sister team of the USA's Detroit Tigers, the Hanshin Tigers are more often compared to the Boston Red Sox, with whom they share a long losing streak, notoriously dedicated fans, and an infamous curse.
2. To understand the origins of the curse, one must first grasp the level of devotion shown to the accursed team by their fans in Kansai. A good place to start is with the fact that the team's fight song is commonplace in Kansai's karaoke machines! In the song's official English version, one finds lines like, "Mighty spirit of the youth shows the victor's grace, the name that shines in glory ..." What mountain does the song refer to, in its first verse and in its title?

Answer: Mount Rokko

Mount Rokko is actually not a single mountain, but rather a range of mountains near Kobe, celebrated for its beauty, its hiking, and the Rokko oroshi, a famous wind that sometimes blows down the mountain slopes. Mount Rokko is connected with several sports.

It is the home of Japan's first golf course (the Kobe Golf Club, founded in 1903), but "Hanshin Tigers no Uta / Rokko Oroshi" is its only fight song. "Dashing swiftly through the wind blowin' from Rokko, like the big sun soaring in the clear blue sky," the song begins, going on to describe the Hanshin Tigers as "invincible" and their victories as "constant." To the disappointment of their fans, these descriptions are not exactly accurate.
3. Even before their 1985 affliction by the Curse of the Colonel, the team had experienced a disheartening losing streak. Since the Japan Series championship was instituted in 1950, how many times had our heroes won the Series by the time the curse began?

Answer: Only once: their 1985 win was their first.

Although the Tigers had picked up three Central League championships (in 1962, 1964, and 1985), only the last of these led to a Japan Series championship. (In 1962, they lost to the Toei Flyers, and in 1964 they were defeated by the Nankai Hawks.) Finally, in 1985, the Hanshin Tigers defeated the Pacific League's Seibu Lions four games to two (the seventh game of the Series was unnecessary at that point). Celebrations in Kansai were wild and boisterous -- and led directly to the fabled curse.
4. If the MVP of the 1985 Japan Series hadn't been so unusual, jubilant fans would not have inadvertently provoked the curse. This first baseman, a gaijin (foreigner), played in the American Major Leagues for six years before becoming a star with the soon-to-be-accursed team. Who was this popular slugger, who went on to be elected state senator in his native Oklahoma?

Answer: Randy Bass

Randy Bass, born in 1954, signed with the Hanshin Tigers in 1982 after a lackluster six years on various American teams. Before his 1988 retirement, he won four Central League batting titles in a row; achieved the rare and coveted batting Triple Crown in 1985 and 1986; came within one home run of breaking the Japanese single-season record (55) in 1985; and set a batting average record of .389 in 1986. He is still considered a hero in Kansai.

The other men listed are also Americans who have played for the Tigers. In 1964, Gene Bacque won the Sawamura award for pitching; he was the first non-Japanese player to receive this honor.
5. The Curse of the Colonel is, unsurprisingly, blamed on a famous colonel, albeit one who was dead at the time. The colonel's spirit is supposedly angry about the undignified fate that befell a statue of him in the celebrations following the 1985 Japan Series. Who is the colonel in question?

Answer: Colonel Sanders, founder of the KFC restaurant chain

Harland David Sanders never actually achieved the military rank of colonel, although he was given the honorary title "Kentucky Colonel" by the state governor. After over twenty years perfecting rapid cooking techniques for chicken, he founded the Kentucky Fried Chicken fast food chain in 1952. The franchise has spread around the world, although Colonel Sanders's name and image (including life-sized statues!) are still used for marketing purposes. The company has flirted with using a shortened official name: KFC.

Sanders died at the age of 90 in 1980, just under five years before he is said to have cursed the Hanshin Tigers.

The other colonels listed are also historical figures. Like Colonel Sanders, Colonel Parker's title was a civilian honor (this time from Louisiana) rather than a military rank. Jimmy Doolittle, a lieutenant colonel at the time of his famous raid, was later promoted to General. Lt. Col. Jimbo saved the life of a prisoner of war named Manuel Roxas (later to become the first President of the Philippine Republic) and was described by that man as "one of the few Japanese officers with a genuine sympathy for our plight."
6. The 1985 championship team is said to have been cursed because of what its fans did to the statue of a vengeful colonel. What is it that they did?

Answer: They threw the statue into a river to honor the Japan Series MVP.

At some point during the celebrations in Osaka, ecstatic fans gathered at the Ebisubashi Bridge over the Dotonbori River. Someone had the clever idea of chanting the roster of the victorious Tigers: when each name was yelled, the fan who most resembled the player would jump into the canal. When the name of Series MVP Randy Bass was called, however, it was discovered that none of the fans looked like him; he was, after all, a bearded, 6'1" Caucasian. In an inspired moment, the crowd realized that the Colonel Sanders statue at a nearby KFC franchise ALSO depicted a bearded Caucasian, and the rest is history. The statue was removed from the restaurant and flung into the water.

Legend has it that the Hanshin Tigers would never again win the championship while the statue was lost in the depths. Dredgers and divers searched for him, but he wasn't found until a cleanup project on March 10, 2009 -- more than 24 years after he was lost. In his two decades underwater, he had lost his legs, his hands, and his spectacles -- but not his welcoming smile.
7. Was the ill-fated statue of the Colonel replaced after the 1985 incident?

Answer: Yes

Tigers fans apologized fulsomely to the restaurant manager, who took the wise precaution of having the replacement statue bolted down to prevent a repeat performance. Other KFC franchises in Osaka take care to move their Colonel Sanders statues inside the restaurants when the Tigers are doing well. None of these reasonable measures would bring back the original statue, of course -- or end the curse.
8. After a stellar 1985 season, the accursed team began to build up one of the worst records in the Central League. How long did it take the team to win their next Central League pennant?

Answer: Eighteen years

Eighteen years after their successful 1985 pennant run, the Tigers finally managed to do it again in 2003. In the intervening seventeen seasons, they placed last in their league ten times, and next-to-last another three times. This gave them the dubious honor of having the worst record of the Central League's six teams.

Sadly, the 2003 pennant win did not seem to break the curse, and the Tigers lost that Japan Series.
9. The Colonel who had cursed the unfortunate baseball team became a bit of an obsession with area fans. After a much-desired 2002 victory in another sport, fans in Kobe kidnapped another statue of the Colonel and cut off his hands! What was the occasion for this act of vandalism?

Answer: The Japanese soccer team had won a World Cup match against Tunisia.

On June 14, 2002, Japan - one of the two host countries of the FIFA World Cup - defeated Tunisia 2-0 and secured a place in the Round of Sixteen (phase one of the tournament's single-elimination stage). Jubilant fans pulled out all the stops. In Osaka, some 500 people evaded police and dove off the Ebisubashi Bridge.

In Kobe, the mutilation of poor Colonel Sanders was meant as a reference to traditional sharia punishments; it was an effort to taunt defeated Tunisia, a country whose population is 98% Muslim. Naturally their attentions only seemed to compound the curse: Japan lost 0-1 to Turkey in the Round of Sixteen.
10. In 2003, the Curse of the Colonel claimed its first human victim. After a win by the accursed team, its fans celebrated in a similar way to their boisterous 1985 revels, and a young man lost his life. How did he die?

Answer: He drowned in an Osaka river after being pushed in by other fans.

Twenty-four-year-old Masaya Shitababa was pushed into the Dotonbori River on September 18, 2003 -- two days after the Tigers' first pennant win in eighteen years. His two friends made it out of the water; Shitababa did not. In the aftermath of this sad event, the Osaka City Council announced plans to build a new Ebisubashi Bridge which would make jumping (and falling) into the river more difficult; construction began in 2004.

The Curse of the Colonel is, it seems, more deadly than other famous sports curses. Something to think about the next time you're tempted to complain about KFC!
Source: Author CellarDoor

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor uglybird before going online.
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