“Not even Yoichi Takahashi, the creator of Holly and Benji, could have imagined such an ending”
, RAI Commentary on Japan-Croatia
at the final whistle of extra time by Japan-Croatiafirst round of eight world Cup disputed yesterday, RAI commentator luca de capitani Thus he accepted the epilogue of the penalty: he did so by referring to the fictiveness that many people in Italy directly associate with Japan’s football and certainly, in his intention, he did not do it subtly or ironically. .
On balance it is also arguable that, in these parts, we allow ourselves to be influenced by a product that (even more than the manga in the animated series) was able to make its mark at the time, essentially a parallel reality In which Japan came to play with the most important challenges thanks to its young stars.
At the same time, however, an important side effect is underlined: the linking of a football reality to a manga (and later anime) creates an illusion, about a picture parody of the same reality. A context that is “sympathetic”, trivially, but which we are then unable to endow with the trappings of credibility and authority that we would attribute to other sporting contexts.
One wonders here, therefore, whether Italy views the Japanese football reality with a certain air of adequacy: the answer is generally positive, despite the prerequisites already outlined. Selfless Of our eyes
Nearholly and benji effectAs for the idea that Football Japan becomes a continuation of that fantasy, then other aspects come to the fore (not just the game) that could explain such an approach.
First of all, it is clear that j league Doesn’t appear to our eyes as a reference championship: historically limited television coverage and trivial time zone issues with technical discourse have clearly eluded it from us.
In the mind and memory of the Italian fan, is closely linked with the Japanese championship. a nostalgic effect that goes beyond the Holly and Benji speech and addresses a different era, one that pioneered Toto Schillaci wear a shirt jubilo iwata From ’94 to ’97.
The years immediately following did the rest: emphasizing the technical merits of Nakata And nameless (although in this case latent in Serie A) it is clear how, even at the media level, the arrival of those talents also affected Mass entry of Japanese journalists into stadiumsAs if they were visiting tourists ready to photograph a monument.
Not Just Football: Orientalism and Life Stories
As mentioned, the subject walks away from the ball and marries the distractions and cultural defect: the occurrence ofapproaches, in this case, explains part of our approach. In fact, it is often a partial and superficial knowledge of everything related to the East, such that we are able to standardize (in our perception) everything that happens at those latitudes, keeping the Western point of view at the center of discussion and perception. Were. It – with prejudice – as superior, as more worthy of study and storytelling.
Returning to football and its stories, we can also recognize that Japanese reality, in our eyes, presents examples that are far from the cliché that we usually associate with “footballer”: Nakata and his journey to escape the football-business, Nagatomo and his degree in political economy, measure And his endless career.
All avenues of life full of charms, such as to arouse our curiosity, avenues that however – in the end – do not lead us to pay attention to the professional side in itself, the technical value of the footballer (as we are, fact, from his story).
And yet, at the present time, it is necessary to recognize the weight and authority of those who, among other things, have managed to reach Round of 16 of the World Cup on four of the last six occasionshas never been able to reach the quarterfinals.
So, the sporadic venture or “sympathy team” isn’t set to go into oblivion anytime soon, but apparently, a consolidated football reality And it is difficult to face (Croatia saw it yesterday, Belgium saw it in 2018).
To this day we can feel how much Italy has lost the Japanese context, even at club level, without weighing its potential: None of the 26 called up for Qatar 2022 play in ItalyThe Bundesliga instead lays down the law and gives Japan as 8 of the squad available for Moriyasu.
Germany, Spain and Belgium, but also Scotland and Portugal, are realities that, to date, have been more successful than Italy in fostering Japanese talent. as well as a feat like that tomiyasuWho moved from Bologna to Arsenal for 20 million, let’s understand how far-sighted was the investment of Rosoblas (7 million) at that time.
Where will the 26-man Japan squad for Qatar 2022 play:
Bundesliga: Itakura, Ito, Yoshida, Doan, Endo, Kamada, Osano, Tanaka (2nd Bundesliga)
j league: Gonda, Nagatomo, Sakai, Taniguchi, Yamane, Soma, Machino
league 1: Kawashima, Ito, Minamino
Premier League: Tomiyasu, Mitoma
Federation: Kubo, Shibasaki (Segunda Division)
Portuguese League: morita
Belgian Pro League: Ueda, Schmidt
Scottish Premiership: Fine flour
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