The Japanese satellite broadcast channel WOWOW has released a video featuring two fiercely competitive tennis playing Buddhas in order to promote their upcoming broadcast of the 2017 French Open.
This new promotional video begins with what looks to be a practice session for a university tennis club. All seems normal until all of a sudden a man in a gray Buddha mask takes over the court and uses his amazing tennis skills to take out every single tennis club member in no time at all. However, just when it seems like he has no more competition left, a man in a gold Buddha mask shows up and takes him on in one of the fiercest tennis matches you’ve ever seen.
Of course, being that this is an ad for WOWOW’s broadcast of the upcoming French Open, it ends with an announcement that the channel will be airing this annual tennis tournament live, starting May 28 and ending June 11.
Check out the video below and if you’d like to know why tennis playing Buddhas are being used to promote WOWOW’s broadcast of one of the four prestigious tennis championships that make up the Grand Slam tournaments, make sure to keep reading.
Why France is “Buddha country”
Simply put, this ad is just a big convoluted pun involving the kanji character 仏. This character is used to refer to the Buddha and many things related to the Buddha. However, due to one of this character’s several readings (futsu) sounding vaguely like the beginning of the Japanese pronunciation of “France” (furansu), this kanji was selected to signify France back when kanji names were being assigned to Western countries. It is because of this phonetic coincidence that the kanji name of France became 仏国 (futsukoku), literally “Buddha country.”
|Zenfutsu (All France)|
Now that we know the relationship between Buddha and France, we can move on to why the two guys in the video 1) look like those giant statues of Buddhas you see in some Buddhist temples and 2) why they are so intense. The answer to both of these questions can be found in the Japanese name of the French Open, which is 全仏オープン (Zenfutsu ōpun), literally “All France Open.”
|Zenryoku Daibutsu (Full power large Buddha statue)|
Toward the end of the ad, we are told that in this video the first two characters in the Japanese name of the French Open (全仏, zenfutsu), don’t just mean “All France,” they are also an abbreviation of 全力大仏 (zenryoku daibutsu), which literally means “Full power large Buddha statue.”
So, just to sum up this confusingly long explanation, these two Buddhas are supposed to be daibutsu
(large statues of Buddhas) playing tennis at “full power,” all because
the kanji used to refer to all things Buddha, happens to also be used to
refer to France and WOWOW is broadcasting the French Open. Are you laughing yet at this hilarious joke? You must
be, because as we all know, long winded explanations are the only fix for a bad joke.
If you’d like to watch another ridiculous WOWOW ad, check out the article below.