Japan beat Germany 2-1 at the start of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, one of the great surprises of the tournament. And for many, it is still curious to see how the Japanese have made such solid progress when their football is relatively young. Did the manga and anime have to do with it? super championscreated by Yoichi Takahashi, in this? It is more than possible.
Soccer came to Japan in the early 20th century. and his first selection appears only in 1921. The first participation in a world-class tournament was at the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, where he reached the quarterfinals.
World War II significantly affected the country, and after the drop of the two atomic bombs in 1945 A kind of protectorate of the United States began, demilitarizing the Japanese nation and adapting it to Western customs.
one of them was baseball practice. Thus, baseball became the most popular sport in Japan for a long time, with Sadaharu Oh as one of its great figures between the 60s and 80s.
Yoichi Takahashi and the origin of Super Champions
A young writer and illustrator named Yoichi Takahashi saw his passion for soccer strengthened with Argentina’s triumph in the 1978 World Cup. Takahashi had an idea: make a manga about a group of soccer players.
It is the origin of Captain Tsubasa, known in Latin America as Supercampeones.
Tsubasa Ozora, known as Oliver Atom in Latin America and Spain, is a boy who entered the world of soccer, becoming one of the best players on the planet. The story of Supercampeones narrates his evolution, his bond with his friends and colleagues and his confrontations with great rivals.
The first issue of the manga came out in 1981, and two years later it made the leap to television as an anime. Since then, it has not only conquered Japan, but also other markets such as Europe and Latin America.
“Not many people in Japan knew much about the World Cup when my manga first came out,” said Takahashi. In an interview with FIFA, before the World Cup in Qatar 2022. “But I was surprised to see the hero worship that followed Tsubasa, not only from children in Japan, but also all over the world.”
The explosion of soccer in Japan and its arrival in Qatar 2022
Japan’s J-League, the country’s league system, was founded only in 1993 (previous attempts didn’t work) and Japan, which had never qualified for a World Cup, made its debut in France in 1998.
Since then he has not missed any World Cup appointment, reaching the round of 16 in three of them, Korea-Japan 2002 (tournament he organized), South Africa 2010 and Russia 2018.
The Japanese team began its golden era in 1992, with the Asian Cup victory, a feat that it would repeat in 2000, 2004 and 2011. And the passion for Super Champions went hand in hand, growing more and more. Even, fans use Takahashi’s manga characters to cheer on the Blue Samurai, as the players of the national team are known.
In Qatar 2022, after the 2-1 victory over Germany with goals from Ritsu Doan and Takuma Asano, they lost 1-0 to Costa Rica. This Thursday, December 1, they will seek qualification against the powerful Spanish team.
“Since the Blue Samurai are competing, of course it’s something we look forward to (their victory). I want to say that Japan are favorites to win (the cup), but realistically, it is difficult for me to look beyond Brazil.” Takahashi says.
“It seems that this World Cup It will be the swan song for Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar. I’m really looking forward to seeing if they can come out strong, if Spanish youngsters Gavi and Pedri will thrive and how Kaoru Mitoma’s dribbling stands out on the world stage.”
With the spirit of Super Champions, The Blue Samurai will come out with everything for the win and qualify for the round of 16 of the Qatar 2022 World Cup.