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Saturday, Aug. 30, 2008

Kitajima-speak available for those keeping abreast of ring tone times

Staff writer

With two gold medals in his trophy case from the Beijing Olympics and another from the 2004 Athens Games, breaststroke swimmer Kosuke Kitajima is truly now a national superstar.

News photo
King of the world: Swimmer Kosuke Kitajima shouts after winning gold in the 100-meter breaststroke at the Beijing Olympic Games on Aug. 11. KYODO PHOTO

His popularity is such that everyone should want to hear his voice every day — or at least that is what some Tokyo businessmen are banking on.

Two of Kitajima's most famous phrases, recorded using his own voice, are available online for ¥105 each: "Cho-kimochi-ii!" ("I feel super good!") and "Nanmo ie ne" ("I can't say anything").

The recordings are available for download as ring tones for cell phones.

"Kitajima is so famous that we wanted to have his voice on record," said Hitoshi Anedai with M-UP Inc., an online download service in Tokyo.

Kitajima reportedly felt it "very embarrassing" to record his voice, but he agreed to the business proposal on condition that some of the profit be used to promote and strengthen training programs for young swimmers.

"By doing things like this, Kitajima hopes children will get more interested in swimming," said Miho Hattori, a public relations manager at Sunny Side Up Inc., Kitajima's agent.

Kitajima exclaimed "I feel super good!" after winning gold at the Athens Olympics. The words became a household phrase and even won a buzzword-of-the-year prize later in 2004.

After that, everybody was looking to Kitajima in Beijing to see what he would say if he won gold in the final 100-meter race. Overwhelmed by emotion and in tears, Kitajima barely managed to choke out, "I can't say anything." The scene was repeatedly aired on TV in Japan.

Kitajima also recorded seven other phrases, including "Imasugu okireba cho-kimochi ii!" ("You will feel super good if you get up right now!") and "Me-ru dayo" ("You've got mail"), which are also available for downloading.

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