Some inexplicable words

Some words simply puzzle me, maybe because I am not a native English speaker.

But can someone please elaborate on:

  • 黒幕 Dick Cheney (what has a politician has to do with being a wirepuller?)
  • 国宝 Nic(olas) Cage (what has the actor got to do with it other than he played in the movie National Treasure)
  • 球威 (a) Pitcher’s Stuff. This word is a complete mystery to me. A baseball term? Why should I know this

Any help is much appreciated.

I can’'t answer for the first one, but the Nic Cage one is just supposed to be joke answer they accept because by knowing the association with the National Treasure movie it means you also know the National Treasure meaning. It’s just for fun, not to be read into beyond that.

As for the last one, you have to keep in mind Wanikani is not teaching you “useful” (strongly dislike the use of this term in language learning btw) vocabulary, they are teaching you vocabulary that use the kanji for reinforcement. You may never encounter it in the wild but that’s not the point of the exercise.

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As a native speaker but non-American, some of the baseball references leave me stumped too. However I think given Japan is probably the country where baseball is second most popular after the US, those ones deserve a pass.


“wirepuller” here means “mastermind”, so like a person controlling events from the shadows. Dick Cheney was vice president to US President George W Bush from 2001-2008. Lots of people hated Goerge Bush as president for a lot of different reasons. But a thing a lot of people remember about the presidency was that Bush came across as a bit of a bumbling idiot. So it was popular perception that Dick Cheney was the one actually making decisions and just telling Bush what to do. So he was pulling the wires of the government like a puppetmaster, like a “wirepuller”. So this meaning is very political and definitely US centered, also a bit dated. The younger generations don’t usually remember that much of Bush’s era just some of the wars and stuff he got us into. TL;DR its a joke about how Dick Cheney was the one secretly controlling american politics for a bit.

Ding Ding Ding. You got it right. National Treasure the movie was a pretty big meme for a while, it’s one of those so bad it’s good movies (although I think the writing is somewhat smart at points). And Nicolas Cage is an actor who is famous for “overacting” in movies. So the movie is famous for being a “Nic Cage” movie. For me, it’s hard to hear the words “National Treasure” and not think about Nicolas Cage stealing the Declaration of Independence. But outside of the English speaking world I can understand how confusing that reference is.

For this one I actually have no idea. It’s not a common word either. My frequency deck puts it at about 68,000th in terms of usage. But honestly, sometimes Japan is more into baseball than we in the US are. I thought this one might be just for the reading, but this reading already has a bunch of vocab associated so I don’t know. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


I’m fairly certain a better translation here would be a pitcher’s prowess. It’s fairly common when a pitcher is really skilled to hear “He’s got the stuff” (aka He pitches extremely well). Apparently this is a common Japanese term used when talking about baseball which is highly popular in Japan.


The more I look into 球威 the more baffling it is. It definitely doesn’t have any context outside of baseball. If you don’t know anything about baseball you will have no idea what it’s talking about. There’s no reason 威 needs 4 vocab items for reinforcement when kanji like 贅 only have 1. There are almost a dozen usages of 威 that are more common. The only explanation I can come up with is some one on the WK team thought the term was kinda interesting and threw it in there. If it’s any concelation, it’ll be useful to you if you ever decide to read Haruhi Suzumiya or My Hero Academia for their baseball episodes but that’s about it.

EDIT: or if you want to read a bunch of baseball manga of course


“Pitcher’s stuff” is, unfortunately, the actual English term, used in America. Best defined on the internet as “It’s the vibe of it. It’s the Constitution. It’s Mabo. It’s justice. It’s law. It’s the vibe and ah, no that’s it. It’s the vibe. I rest my case.”

And something to do with pornography? One site I found brings up pornography, for some reason.

Kids these days…

Honestly, I barely remember who the current VP is. She’s been something of a nonentity, from where I’m sitting.

Though that might not be saying much, because I usually have to think twice before I can even remember who our current prime minister is…

I read One Outs, which has a pitcher as the actual main character, but didn’t mention 球威 a single time.


As I understand it (not an American, nor a baseball fan) baseball pitchers have different abilities. Some pitch fastballs, some pitch sliders, and so on (I’m stopping after two examples because I don’t have more). The set of abilities that they have is called their “stuff”.