Nekota Ginpachi (猫田銀八, Nekota Ginpachi) is a recurring character in Hajime no Ippo.
He is a retired bantamweight prizefighter, rival and friend of Kamogawa Genji and Hama Dankichi. He runs a Pension Yoshio that the Kamogawa Boxing Gym members use as a training camp. He lives as a hermit in the mountains with his dog Hachi and is still very much involved with boxing by watching tapes and training Kamogawa's trainees when they visit.
Nekota worked as a prizefighter in Japan shortly after the end of World War II. He had multiple boxing matches with former prizefighter Kamogawa Genji, two of which he lost, two of which he won, and another that ended a draw. He was also friends with fellow prizefighter and future trainer Hama Dankichi. During the American occupation of Japan, Nekota harboured strong feelings of national pride, refusing to accept food handouts.
Nekota witnessed American sergeant Ralph Anderson, with Miguel Zale as his cornerman, easily defeat Dankichi in an exhibition match. After Dankichi's loss, Anderson terrorised the population and chased Yuki into the alleys. Here, Nekota experienced the power of American boxing first-hand as he and Kamogawa were beaten up by Anderson while protecting Yuki.
During this time, Yuki and Nekota moved into Kamogawa's makeshift home. Yuki looked after the pair while they trained, inspired by their commitment to rebuilding the country through their fighting spirit. However, Nekota eventually knew that Yuki was a survivor from Hiroshima, who was dying from radiation poisoning.
Nekota suffered from symptoms of Punch Drunk Syndrome after a fair match against Kamogawa, only to overcome it shortly before his fight against Ralph Anderson. Anderson's signature move, the Rabbit Punch however, forced Nekota's Punch Drunk symptoms to worsen and ultimately cost him the match as well as his career as a prizefighter. After watching Kamogawa defeat Anderson, Nekota and Kamogawa parted ways, with Nekota planning on living in the woods with a dog, along with Yuki. Before parting ways, Nekota wished to fight Kamogawa again one day when they both were better. Eventually, Nekota became an owner of his own pension and got a dog named Hachi.
To help Makunouchi Ippo prepare for his upcoming match against Sendō Takeshi, and for Takamura Mamoru's title defence, Kamogawa Genji decided to head to the Pension Yoshio as a training camp. When they arrive they meet Nekota. Nekota and Kamogawa immediately greet each other before getting into a fist fight. Nekota then recognised Takamura and Ippo, while mistaking Aoki Masaru and Kimura Tatsuya as someone else.
As Ippo, Kimura, Aoki, and Shinoda were about to leave for the woods to train, Nekota warned the group about bears. Nekota then helped Takamura train by holding the sandbag. That night, while eating the food that Yagi Haruhiko caught earlier, Nekota learned that Shinoda's group ran into a bear going downhill. Nekota advised them that they were lucky, as a bear going uphill is faster than downhill. He then told them that he would prepare something to avoid bears the next day. The following day, Nekota gave Ippo, Aoki, and Kimura bells, explaining that bears get scared of the sound and do not come close to it.
On the way back, Ippo got attacked by an animal, which made Aoki and Kimura run away to tell the others that Ippo was being attacked by a bear. Hearing this, Nekota got out his gun to prepare to kill the bear, only to find out that the "bear" was his dog, Hachi. Kamogawa announced to everyone at the training camp that he would be splitting the group for individual training. During this, Nekota went around trying to help them, but ended up becoming an annoyance instead. When he visited Ippo, Ippo asked him how to chop wood. After Nekota showed him, he showed Ippo his well-developed back muscles, explaining that he chopped wood every day since he got back to the pension from the army. He informed Ippo that the training is very effective, having a long list of popular successful boxers who did the same training.
Nekota warned Ippo that while he would need more power to push Sendō back, Ippo would break down, even if he won, if that was all he did. Nekota told Ippo his past, when he was a boxer who never stepped back, no matter how many times he fell, he always got up. However, he was forced to retire from brain damage. He worked hard to be able to live a normal life again, it took five years, but it never completely stopped. Nekota showed Ippo his hand shaking, a symptom of being Punch Drunk. Knowing that Ippo already decided to take Sendō head-on, Nekota informed Ippo to remember the first rule of fighting, in a hitting match, to not only use his hands. Nekota revealed that there was a way to punch without punching.
After Ippo finished his wood chop training, Nekota participated in Kamogawa's teaching of "punching without punching, the Sakki. After Kamogawa told the training camp members about his and Nekota's past, where his first lost to Nekota was because of Sakki, Nekota mentioned that thanks to Sakki, the final record of their five matches was 3 to 2 for him. However, Nekota and Kamogawa began fighting after Kamogawa disagreed with him that it was actually 3 to 2 in his favour, despite their record of their matches between each other being two wins, two losses and one draw.
After Takamura showed Ippo what Sakki looked like, Nekota claimed that, just like animals, one must gain full control of their five senses, where Sakki is something born from it. At night, Nekota and Kamogawa meet in the ring and reminisced about the old days. When Takamura hits a ring bell, they threw punches at each other, knocking each other out. On the final day of the training camp, when Takamura told Nekota to get ready for a bear nabe. Nekota joked how a bear would kill him, suggesting a boar instead.
Nekota noticed how Ippo improved at chopping wood, and told him that he would not see results in just a week. When Ippo was nervous about fighting Sendō again, Nekota agreed that fighting a man a second time was hard. Nekota then gave him advice, as he fought Kamogawa five times. Nekota later asked where Hachi was and learned he was running with Takamura.
Later that night, Takamura returned wounded with a bear claw mark on his chest, claiming to have knocked out a bear. Nekota then treated everyone what Takamura requested, a bear nabe. Nekota mentioned how the meat is fresh and perfect for replenishing their strength. Nekota explained how it was a big bear he killed, and that it was living a while ago. He continues, stating that it was all a coincidence, when he was wandering around the woods he found a bear stumbling, so he took his chance and shot it. Takamura then got angry at Nekota for killing the bear he let survive due to it having bear cubs. The next day, the Kamogawa members began to leave and Nekota gave them some parting advice. As they drove away, Nekota chased after them for a while. Later on, Nekota called the local newspaper to tell them about Takamura defeating a bear.
Nekota arrived to Kōrakuen Hall for Takamura's title defence against Itō Takaaki. Nekota attempted to bring Hachi inside the hall, hwoever there was a rule that dogs were not allowed in the hall, forcing him to leave his dog tied outside. Nekota went inside with a large bag containing something that Takamura requested. During Aoki's match against Boy Allade, Nekota yelled advice that proved to be helpful, impressing Ippo. Iimura Mari then sat by them, where she introduced herself to Nekota and Ippo. When Takamura's entrance began, Nekota was glad that Takamura wore the bear skin (which was in the large bag that Nekota brought).
When Takamura defeated his opponent using nothing but his left. Nekota mentioned that Takamura was going by the old proverb, "He who rules with his left, rules the world." After the match, Nekota and the Kamogawa members went to the Sugar Ray to celebrate, with Nekota forgetting about Hachi, leaving him tied at the hall. Nekota flirted with the ladies, and began singing "Champion" with Takamura, but they both had terrible voices.
Five days later, Nekota was still in the gym. He requested to do a mitt practise session with Kimura. To everyone's surprise, Nekota tired Kimura out after Kimura got serious. By the time they finish, Nekota was asked by the gym members to teach them as well.
After ten days of Nekota training the students at the gym, his popularity had grown beyond that of any other coach. During a "after training-meeting", which Kamogawa was spying on, when Nekota was telling a story about his youth with Kamogawa, and how Kamogawa would cry over women who left him, Kamogawa confronted Nekota. Nekota admitted he was simply jealous of the life Kamogawa lived surrounded by young people in the city, as opposed to alone in the mountains. Kamogawa forgave him and apologised himself for being to harsh on his friend. They were interrupted by the express delivery service (who Kamogawa jokingly said would call to send Nekota back), who Nekota called to take him back as it was the time of year young women go to the pension. Angry again at Nekota's habits, Kamogawa threatened him once more.
After receiving a ticket to see Ippo's title match against Sendō, Nekota arrived to Kōrakuen Hall with Hachi hiding in a sack. Nekota went into Ippo's waiting room before the match and commented on how he had nothing to say to him as he was relieved when he saw his body, but he then told him to remember the training camp when he is in trouble.
Nekota then watched the match, and after the first round, Nekota was shocked that Ippo was pushed during a standing exchange, telling Umezawa Masahiko that if it wasn't for the wood chopping training, he would be finished, and commenting how he had never seen weapons like Ippo's upper body and Sendō's lower body. Before round four began, Hachi barked at Ippo. That caused employees to ask Nekota if he had seen a dog, to which Nekota answered he had not. After the sixth round, both fighters stood at their corners instead of sitting. Umezawa wondered if that meant if they sat down they wouldn't be able to stand back up, but Nekota claimed that if they rested, their spirit would be sapped away. When Ippo won against Sendō and became the JBC champion, Nekota was overjoyed. After the employees discovered that Hachi was Nekota's dog, Nekota was lectured for three hours at the security office. A few days later Nekota attended Ippo's victory and birthday party at the Sugar Ray. He then gave Ippo a puppy that Hachi was a father of.
When Nekota discovered that Hama Dankichi was back in Japan, he called Kamogawa to warn him and had him check out the Monthly Boxing Fan newspaper to see for himself. A few weeks prior to Ippo's match against Dankichi's boxer, Sanada Kazuki, Nekota invited Kamogawa and Dankichi to Sugar Ray's for a reunion, with the two not knowing that they would meet each other. Kamogawa and Dankichi began to leave, not wanting to talk. Nekota then managed to get them to stay by making them feel bad as the three of them haven't talked together in decades. When a waitress asked Nekota how they met, he answered that they met as boxers and became best friends and rivals, meeting up often to talk about boxing. Nekota then expressed how he was looking forward to Ippo and Sanada fighting as he felt it was the same as watching Kamogawa and Dankichi fight.
Later, Nekota watched Ippo's first title defence match against Sanada, which resulted in Ippo's victory. As Dankichi headed to leave Japan by plane, Nekota and Kamogawa saw him off. Nekota that talked to Kamogawa about how Ippo is a responsible man who understands his feelings of his opponents, believing that the champion will get stronger.
When Nekota learned that Takamura, Kimura, and Itagaki Manabu went to the beach for training camp, he took Hachi with him to the beach. Nekota then spotted the group, along with Ippo, Aoki, Mashiba Kumi, and Tomiko. Nekota decided to join Ippo and Aoki in their vacation and have fun at the beach. That night, when Nekota pulled a prank on Takamura by pulling him into the water when Takamura was in the ocean, Nekota was beaten and was saved and brought out of the ocean by Hachi.
On the final night of Ippo and Aoki's stay at the beach, Nekota brought fireworks for everyone. Nekota went to the beach with everyone but Takamura to the beach to enjoy the fireworks while Takamura planned his revenge against them for having fun without him, by aiming fireworks at the group. When Takamura was spotted, he was talked into having fun with them after everyone cheered for him to join them. As the group lit up fireworks, Nekota compared the boxers to them, wishing that they would bloom forever, Takamura, however compares himself and the others as the stars above. Then, the fireworks Takamura set began to go off, hitting Nekota as everyone else ran away from them. The next day, a typhoon hit the beach, causing Nekota's beach house to be destroyed.
Later, Nekota travelled to the Ryōgoku Kokugikan in Tokyo with Hachi to watch Takamura's WBC junior middleweight title match against Bryan Hawk. When Takamura was having trouble during the match and his gym mates were not in their usual high spirits, Nekota encouraged them to cheer. The match resulted in Takamura's victory, earning him his first world belt. Nekota then went with Kamogawa to his Pension Yoshio.
When Ippo and Aoki visited the Pension Yoshio, Kamogawa and Nekota explained their past about Yuki and being prize-fighters after World War II to Ippo and Aoki.
|Post WWII - "Prize Fighter"|
|10||LOSS||6-3-1||1947||Ralph Anderson||Tokyo, Japan||4(15)||KO||Regained symptoms of Punch Drunk Syndrome and retired after.|
|8||DRAW||5-2-1||1947||Kamogawa Genji||Tokyo, Japan||15(15), 3:00||Decision||5th Match|
Became Punch Drunk After
|7||WIN||5-2-0||1947||Hama Dankichi||Tokyo, Japan||?(15)||KO||3rd Match|
|6||WIN||4-2-0||194?||Kamogawa Genji||Tokyo, Japan||?(15)||KO||4th Match|
|5||WIN||3-2-0||194?||Hama Dankichi||Tokyo, Japan||?(15)||KO||2nd Match|
|4||LOSS||2-2-0||194?||Kamogawa Genji||Tokyo, Japan||?(15)||KO||3rd Match|
|3||WIN||2-1-0||194?||Hama Dankichi||Tokyo, Japan||?(15)||KO||1st Match|
|2||WIN||1-1-0||194?||Kamogawa Genji||Tokyo, Japan||?(15)||KO||
|1||LOSS||0-1-0||194?||Kamogawa Genji||Tokyo, Japan||?(15)||KO||1st Match|
Despite being muscular and physically fit in his younger years, Nekota's appearance has drastically succumbed to his old age. However, Nekota has extremely healthy bulging back muscles despite his age. Now, his height has taken a plunge along with the amount of hair on his head. Nekota is shown to have tanned skin, a progressively balding head of grey hair, dark eyes and a prominent oval-shaped pink nose. A tuft of his small amount of grey hair rests on his forehead and a small beard graces his chin. Due to his age Nekota has grown a fair share of wrinkles on his forehead, upper lip and chin.
Nekota is a cheerful old hermit who, despite having retired, still immerses himself in the world of boxing by watching tapes and helping Makunouchi Ippo and his group of gym mates train. He is shown to be competitive and vindictive, as seen during his first on-screen reunion with Kamogawa Genji in which both individuals attempt to land a punch on each other regardless of their age in order to "finish their fight". Nevertheless he remains a very supportive character for both Kamogawa and his trainees.
Nekota was known by both Kamogawa and Hama Dankichi for his superb agility, strength, and overall boxing prowess. He was known for being an out boxer, but anything else about his fighting style was not elaborated on in the series.Though it should be noted that he had a much easier time fighting Ralph Anderson than his rival Kamogawa. He is known for the technique Sakki, also known as bloodlust, in which he used to defeat Kamogawa in one of their matches.