Japanese football and Captain Tsubasa: The magical inspiration

Captain Tsubasa has passed an ordinary comic book entertainment that has become the inspiration for the miraculous development of Japanese football, as well as for many world players.

Waiting for nearly 70 years for the first World Cup, Japan marked the first milestone in the world arena since 1998. Since then, “Green Samurai” has continuously won the right to export. Current world soccer’s highest arena.

Japan’s performance at the 2018 World Cup was even surprising when it made Belgium – the team that won the third place last, sweat until the last second.

The Birth of “Captain Tsubasa”
As it is today, Japanese footballers have to thank Tsubasa Oozora, an 11-year-old boy born out of a comic book. It’s a product of the cartoonist and satirical artist Yoichi Takahashi’s imagination.

In the context of Japan in the late 1970s and early 80s of the last century, baseball is Japan’s most popular sport. So the idea of ​​a player going beyond Japan and out into the world is Takahashi’s incredible creation.

The 1978 World Cup in Argentina, live broadcast in Japan inspired painter Takahashi. In the beginning, he drew comic books about baseball, an easier and more universal idea. But the more he studied, the more Takahashi became attracted to the magic of football, even though it was not a popular sport in Japan at that time.

Thus, Takahashi created the image of the character Tsubasa, persisting in the realm of not really understanding. After four decades, Tsubasa exists in at least 15 comic series, six animated series, four long films, 14 video games, … Accompanying it is a series of clothes, souvenirs to prove their strength. live in the same influence as Japanese society.

In a 2011 interview with Nipon, painter Takahashi received the comment that “Tsubasa sparked the football wave in Japan, fueling love and growth with the sport”.

The talented artist replied humbly, “I don’t think Tsubasa’s influence is that much because of the attractiveness of football that leads to today’s popularity. But I’m still happy when people say that, to be honest. I think I’m happy to contribute to Japanese football to a certain extent.

In the first episode, a commentator teased Tsubasa with the question “when will Japan go to the World Cup?” Tsubasa replied immediately: “One day, I will make this dream come true”.

Tsubasa may just be a fictional character, but the boy’s dream with the Japanese is real. And it is the inspiration from Tsubasa that motivates a lot of her, the Japanese boy decided to stick with football to make Tsubasa’s sentence come true.

Legendary midfielder Hidetoshi Nakata in an interview on FIFA said of Tsubasa’s inspiration: “In Japan, 20 to 30 years ago, baseball was very popular and football was still in its infancy. Which idol or dream team?

“But from the comic book, called Captain Tsubasa, I read it and really love football. I used to think about playing baseball or soccer. And the final decision was football.”

Not only within the Japanese border, the Tsubasa image was also directed to a wider world. After helping the fictional town team Nankatsu, Tsubasa set out on a journey abroad with the Campeonato Brasileiro Serie A championship with Sao Paulo (Brazil), scoring a hat-trick against Real Madrid when he moved to Barcelona, ​​…

Thanks to that, Tsubasa fascinated audiences all over the world. In Spain, the film was renamed “Oliver y Benji”. During his time with Chelsea, striker Fernando Torres spoke of an image that made him want to study football as a child.

“When we were kids, we couldn’t find a really good radio signal, but any kid at school talked about a cartoon with soccer content, from Japan” – Torres said: “That is a series called ‘Oliver y Benji’ in Spanish “

“Two players started in the youth team, went into the national team and won the World Cup. Then they moved to Barcelona and Bayern Munich. It was a dream. I started playing football so I wanted to. become Oliver “.

In 2017, Nicolas Olea who wrote an autobiography for Alexis Sanchez revealed: “When Alexis was at Barcelona, ​​he had a collection of every series. I think Alexis has something to do with that fictional world. He considers himself to be. is a cartoon character and runs forever on the field “.

Many other players in the world also admit that Captain Tsubasa inspired them, including Alessandro Del Piero, Lukas Podolski, Zinedine Zidane Thierry Henry, Gennaro Gattuso and even Andres Iniesta. When she joined Vissel Kobe, Iniesta took advantage of meeting with painter Takahashi to receive souvenir paintings.

In Tokyo’s bustling Katsushika neighborhood where the artist Takahashi grew up, a bronze statue of Tsubasa is placed to honor the inspiration for an entire country. As the Japanese often introduces visitors to the bronze statue: “Doumo arigatou, Takahashi-san” (roughly translated: Thank you very much, Takahashi).

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