The Secret Japan-Only Developer Messages in Cadash & Their Pop Culture References


Classic ending scene in Cadash's original translation
Cadash is a classic Taito game that’s half action side-scroller and half RPG. It also features an amusing translation filled with typos and overly literal text, including my favorite “Thank you for the important thing!” ending message.

Anyway, I recently learned that the Japanese arcade version has extra, secret content that was dropped from the English version, including a secret area where you can meet the developers. Some of the their messages are funny quotes, some refer to Japanese pop culture, and one message even shares a secret trick not possible in the English version.

So, knowing all this, I thought I’d share what these secret developer messages say and what their pop culture references are referring to.

Accessing the Secret Room

Again, this only works in the Japanese version of Cadash, because the map was altered for the international releases. Here’s a video that shows you exactly what to do:

Basically, let this specific spider hit you with its web as you’re jumping. If you time it right, the knockback will push you even further and you’ll catch an invisible ladder. Climb it to reach the secret developers’ room.

Secret Message #1

"Neigh. I'm Hori-chan Tarabar, AKA Takamasa Hori. Try entering "horichin" (in Japanese) as Player 2!!"

This message is from the game’s software director. He also reveals that if you name Player 2’s character ほりちん (horichin), something will happen. Doing this seems to have two effects: first, it changes Player 2’s name to たらばー ("Tarabar"), and then it changes the game’s first boss into something else:

The faces in the new boss are apparently drawn to look like some of the game’s staff members.

Unfortunately, this trick doesn’t work in the English version, though – the name entry screen doesn’t include Japanese characters, and the English version only lets names be three characters long for some reason. I imagine this face boss could still be enabled via a cheat code or something, though.

Secret Message #2

"My goodness! Thank you ever so much for saving me! I’m dear little Princess Sarasa. Just kidding. Ah’m actually Onijust, dagnabbit."

This message is from Onijust, the game’s director, production designer, graphic designer, map editor, and game designer. In Japanese, he starts out speaking like a very prim and proper girl, but then comically switches to talking like an old person.

Secret Message #3

"Yah! I’m Yuichi Kohyama. My kidney stone hurrrrrtssss H-hurry and give me an injection, nurse!"

This message comes from the game’s monster programmer. I guess he had a hard time during the game’s development.

Secret Message #4

"Baaaah! I’m the Cyber Being Yagi. Ugh, not another bug. Urk… I feel sick. Bleeeh! Bleeergh! …But there was no one to claim his corpse."

This message is from Masaki “Ymot” Yagi, the game’s supervising editor and trap programmer.

The message has two other jokes that need explaining. First, the Japanese word yagi can mean “goat”, which is why the staff member makes a goat sound at the start. The end of the message is also a reference to the Japanese TV series Ōedo Sōsamō (“Oedo Dragnet”):

Secret Message #5

"Yellow and black are the sign of exhaustion. Can you make people laugh for 24 hours? Good evening. This is Toru 'Work for Free' Sugawara."

This message is from Toru Sugawara, the game’s software director. He seems to have a chip on his shoulder, or maybe he’s just joking around. In any case, the first part of his message is a parody of the famous Japanese commercials for Regain energy drinks:

The full song in the commercial translates as something like:

Yellow and black are the sign of courage. Can you fight for 24 hours? Regain! Regain! Our Regain! With an attaché case and the sign of courage, can you fight across the world? Businessman! Businessman! Japanese businessman!

This series of commercials was so popular and such a big deal that it even made international news in the early 1990s. The song was recently brought back, but some of the lines were changed to be less about how overworking yourself is a positive thing.

Secret Message #6

"No way will I die for Ken-chan or Tsumo-kun, but for Junko-chan, Kazuko-chan, Hiroko-chan, and… and… I can’t write them all here, but I’d totally die for all of you!! By Taikoishi"

This final message is from Seiichi Taikoishi, the game’s scenario programmer. I have no idea who any of these people are, except that everyone he does like is a girl. None of the names are in the staff list, though, so I’m not sure who’s being referred to. If anyone has any ideas, let me know!

Final Thoughts

Although none of this is exactly groundbreaking or amazing, it’s nice to be able to document and share this kind of stuff with others. Finding secrets like this was a big part of the gaming experience back in the day, so it’s a shame so much secret content remained Japan-only. Some other examples of this include:

Fans are keeping this stuff alive, though – in fact, I helped document this specific topic for John Harris’ Memories of Arcadia, which is full of other retro arcade game trivia. It’s even part of this month’s Spring Fired-Up Game Bundle:

This month's Storybundle has 13 game-related books - I kinda sorta helped with one!

Anyway, I’m always looking for more Japan-only secrets like this that didn’t make it through the localization process, so if you know of any others, let me know. I live for this kind of stuff, especially when it includes pop culture references!

If you're a fan of old arcade games or old game translations, check out these other arcade games that I've covered. I've also written some articles about these SNK games that you might like!

  1. I feel you, Kohyama. There’s nothing fun about kidney stones.

    1. Cosmic Cinnamon Toast Punch

      Tell me about it. >__<

  2. Maybe, those females names are names of idols?

    1. Yeah, that’s my best guess too. I did some quick searching while writing this article up but couldn’t find anything much, but it’s possible that’s just because I don’t have their kanji names.

  3. Shouldn’t that be “kidney stoneS”?

  4. There’s the secret dev message in the arcade final fight if you finish the game with 1 credit. This was removed for the USA version.

  5. The girls are naked in the Hong Kong version.

  6. Ah, I didn’t even know you linked to that bundle! Thanks!