Captain Tsubasa creator targets real-life football glory

Japanese cartoon hero Captain Tsubasa impressed Lionel Messi and numerous different football stars worldwide. Now its creator is laying down his pen and aiming for the highest together with his personal real-life workforce.

Yoichi Takahashi started writing the caricature about 11-year-old football prodigy Tsubasa Ozora in 1981 and noticed it develop into a world smash hit spawning animated movies, video games and even statues in his hometown in japanese Tokyo.

Often called “Holly e Benji” in Italy and “Tremendous Campeones” in Spanish-speaking Latin America, the franchise was avidly learn and watched by gamers comparable to Messi and Andres Iniesta on their option to celebrity standing.

Now Takahashi is making ready to wrap up the comedian collection and concentrate on a distinct ardour — trying to guide his native non-league aspect into Japan’s skilled J-League in his function as proprietor.

The membership have been renamed Nankatsu SC — after Captain Tsubasa’s fictional faculty workforce — when Takahashi got here on board.

“I can do one thing new from right here,” the 62-year-old informed AFP at his Tokyo studio, adorned with signed football shirts given to him by well-known followers comparable to Iniesta and his former Spain team-mate Fernando Torres.

“It does not imply that I am utterly stopping all artistic work. I would like to start out one thing new in my very own method whereas I nonetheless have the power.”

Takahashi grew to become hooked on football after watching the 1978 World Cup on TV.

He created Captain Tsubasa with the intention of serving to to popularise the game in Japan, which didn’t have knowledgeable league on the time.

Now, greater than 100 international locations are believed to have tuned into the collection and the tales have bought greater than 70 million copies in e book kind in Japan and greater than 10 million abroad.

“I had no thought that folks all over the world would see it,” he mentioned.

– Captain Tsubasa Stadium? –

Takahashi says the upcoming collection of the comedian will probably be the final he attracts, though the beloved character will live on in different codecs.

He says he’s trying ahead to being freed from weekly deadlines and has “no dangerous emotions” about stopping.

Takahashi grew to become concerned together with his native membership 10 years in the past and took over as proprietor in 2019, serving to them rise to the fifth tier of the Japanese football pyramid.

Nankatsu are actually simply two promotions away from reaching J3, the third rung of the J-League.

Takahashi believes they will go all the best way to the highest flight however he says the essence of the membership is extra essential than league place.

“In Europe it is simply pure that you simply assist your native membership, however we did not have that tradition in Japan,” he mentioned.

“I did not have a neighborhood membership so I wished to create one myself.”

The J-League will kick off its thirtieth anniversary season later this month, and it has grown from 10 golf equipment in 1993 to 60 throughout three divisions.

Nankatsu’s native authorities final month introduced that it might purchase land to construct the membership a brand new stadium, which they would want to realize J-League membership.

Takahashi says it could possibly be named “Captain Tsubasa Stadium” and there are plans to incorporate a museum of character memorabilia to draw vacationers from all around the world.

The membership have even recruited big-name gamers to assist their promotion push, signing former Japan internationals Junichi Inamoto and Yasuyuki Konno.

– Messi magic –

Takahashi says being a membership proprietor is “typically enjoyable, however extra typically it is tough”.

“With a comic book, you may shut your self away in a room and draw it as you see it, however whenever you’re an proprietor, it’s important to meet lots of people and provide you with plans.”

He has performed a giant half in serving to football tradition take root in Japan, and believes there’s room for it to develop additional.

He thinks Japan can win the World Cup in his lifetime and he sees similarities between younger nationwide workforce ahead Takefusa Kubo and Captain Tsubasa.

Takahashi was in Qatar to observe final yr’s World Cup remaining, and was joyful to see Messi lastly elevate the trophy after years of making an attempt.

However he says Captain Tsubasa’s potential to encourage is one thing that “does not simply go for celebrity gamers”.

“Comics are one thing that, at coronary heart, are for youths,” he mentioned.

“If a comic book can have a constructive influence on children at that stage of their lives, then that makes me very joyful.”


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