Shark Tank - The Japanese origin of the show

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Did you know that the famous TV show Shark Tank has its origins in a game show format from Japan?

In this Post, we'll learn a little more about the reality show "Tigres do Dinheiro" (マネーの虎; manee no tora), the Japanese origin of Shark Tank!

Introduction - What is Shark Tank?

The Shark Tank is a popular television program that brings together high-income investors, established businessmen and entrepreneurs in a round of investments. Entrepreneurs must make a pitch (presentation) about their product or enterprise in order to convince investors (called "Sharks" or "Sharks") to close the deal.

Generally, entrepreneurs who submit to the show are individuals or small teams that have just opened their startups (innovative companies with future profit potential) and need capital to leverage the company. The attraction is currently fully available on Sony Channel, channel present on the Samsung TV Plus streaming service (available for free on Samsung's Smarts TV's) and on YouTube (some cortes and specific pitches). It also came to be televised on the TLC channel, pertence, Warner Bros.

The program is present in several countries (more than 40), such as Australia, Portugal, Brazil, Italy and the United States. The Brazilian version is successful and currently has seven seasons. The eighth is expected to be released in 2023.

The worldwide format is the responsibility of Sony Pictures Television.

Manee no Tora - The show's Japanese origin

Few know, but the idea of bringing together entrepreneurs in the endeavor to offer business ideas to large investors initially came from the Japanese. The program "Manee no Tora" (Money no Tora; Tigers of Money) aired from October 2001 to March 2004 on Nippon Televison (日本テレビ; Nihon Terebi) and had as its slogan the phrase "NO CHALLENGE, NO SUCESS". (No challenges, no success).

The Japanese name of the reality show is a pun on the nickname of the Japanese imperial general Tomoyuki Yamashita, known as the "Tiger of Malaya", which in Nihongo is pronounced "Maree no Tora" (マレーの虎), Maree (マレー) being a abbreviation of the name "Mareeshia" ("Malaysia" in Japanese). This nickname is due to Tomoyuki being responsible for invading and conquering Malaya during the Pacific War in the early 1940s.

The Japanese TV show was very successful and was even broadcast in prime time. Despite this, it changed times a few times, even being broadcast simultaneously over the internet on TV Oita (テレビ大分). With success, the same format was exposed to numerous countries, becoming a worldwide phenomenon. However, as they are business stories, the program will not always please different audiences of all age groups.

Here, business investors were known as Tigers, whereas in most other countries today they are called Sharks.

Read also: The Hilarious and Bizarre Japanese TV Commercials

Dragons' Den - The UK version

Now, instead of sharks, we have dragons. Based on Money no Tora, a similar version called Dragons' Den (Dragons' Cave) was launched in the United Kingdom, on January 4, 2005. With practically the same reality model, with five investors having to analyze proposals and pitches ( promising business presentations) the series already has almost 200 episodes.

Dragons' Den was broadcast on BBC 2 (two) from 2005 to 2020 and from 2021 on BBC 1 (one). In 2005, he won the Banff Rockie Award and was nominated for other awards in 2006 and 2007.

The show is produced by Darrell Olsen and Samantha Davies.

You can subscribe to the official Cave of Dragons channel at YouTube.

Read also: Finance in Japanese: Essential Vocabulary for Investing in the Japanese Market

The article is still halfway through, but we recommend also reading:

Shark Tank - The American version

As is often the case, Brazil was heavily based on the American version of Shark Tank. In the USA, the show aired for the first time in August 2009 and is the most similar format to Shark Tank Brasil, including scenarios, logo and very similar layouts. The broadcast on TV was in charge of the ABC channel (American Broadcasting Company), whose headquarters are in New York.

Go to Shark Tank Global's YouTube channel clicking here.

Read also: 122 Business Words in Japanese


In summary, we can say that Shark Tank Brazil was based on the American Shark Tank, which in turn was based on the British series Dragons' Den, which ultimately took as a reference the original Japanese version entitled マネーの虎 - "Money no Tora' (Manee no Tora, in the original).

Shark Tank is a very divertido and informative program. Mainly for those who like topics such as entrepreneurship, business, companies, startups, investments, economics and finance. If you don't have a Smart TV or somehow can't watch the shark game, you can check out the Brazilian version on YouTube.

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