Are you excited at FIFA World Cup? The nickname of the Japanese National Football/Soccer Team is “Samurai Japan.”
Their uniform is known as “Samurai Blue,” so Japanese supporters and football goods are all blue.
Then, you might ask, “Is Blue a meaningful color for Japan? The Japanese national flag is not blue….” or “Samurais used to wear blue kimono?”
Actually, I had been wondering, “Why is Japan blue?” Even a local like me didn’t have ANY ideas.
But this time, I finally got the answer.
When Japan started to participate World Cup qualifiers in 1954, there were few football players in Japan. There weren’t professional leagues nor professional players. So Tokyo University’s football club went to World Cup qualifiers in Asia as the Japanese national team. (They always lost, of course. Japan qualified for World Cup in 1998 for the first time.) Tokyo Uni’s school color was blue. Their football uniform was blue. As a result, the Japanese uniform became blue.
So….. No special meanings!
Yeah, as Japanese people know, samurai has nothing to do with blue.
What do you think?
In my opinion, it’s time to rethink of it. Japan has become stronger than decades ago and goes to World Cup today, so it’s time to end the corner-cutting uniform. There are other blue teams at World Cup, so Japan-like color will attract people. For example, how about “Sakura Japan”? Cherry blossoms are very well-known as a Japanese image. Pale pink uniform won’t be unfashionable when they hire good designers. Actually, athletes in Nihon Uni wear sakura pink uniform, and they look cool!
One more episode about Japan’s football.
The Japanese Women Football Team is “Nadeshiko Japan.” (Nadeshiko = pink = a garden flower, not color. Nadeshiko represents beautiful ladies in Japan.) Different from Men, Nadeshiko Japan is VERY STRONG. They WON Women’s World Cup in 2011! Yes, CHAMPION!! Their strategy is different from defensive samurais. Their play style was praised as “Women Barcelona” because of excellent, elegant, artistic passes.
As far as I see it, it will take decades for Japanese samurais to develop its football. Not just skills and physical toughness, each player’s independent thinking is a must for football.