Tokyo Olympics: Japanese artists reimagine countries as anime samurai
The creators have used the flags of competing nations as inspiration to design Japanese warriors.
The way of the warriorSamurai soldiers have played a huge part in Japanese history since at least the 12th Century. Although samurais themselves no longer exist, "bushido" - the way of the warrior, based on honour and discipline - is a value system considered important in Japanese culture even today.
Even though the online initiative seems like a fitting promotional campaign for the Tokyo Olympics, the 15 people behind the project don't make any money from it and do it in their free time.image copyrightimage captionThe Japanese samurai is a huge part of the country's history
They have so far made samurais out of the flags of 84 of the 200 competing countries.And when it comes to the design of the characters, they've taken a more collaborative approach - sometimes holding polls on Twitter and asking people to vote for the most iconic symbol or object from a country. headtopics.com
For Paraguay for example, many responders mentioned the famous Iguazu waterfall. The country's write-up is a nod to that, mentioning that the samurai likes training there.image copyrightimage captionThe samurais representing Paraguay, Colombia and Costa Rica all use the colours of their flags
Sometimes however, they get negative feedback, which they say can also prove helpful. When they first drew Spain for instance, the character was imagined as a bullfighter."I admit that some of the characters might be a bit stereotypical because they are based on a Japanese perspective of the world," says Yamamoto.
"We didn't know that bullfighting is controversial in Spain. We received criticism online, so we changed it."Fame beyond JapanWorld Flagsimage captionThe artists take inspiration from the country's flags, such as Jamaica, when in the design stage
Other designs have become very popular in other countries, including Sri Lanka.The colours of the country's flag represent the three main ethnic groups of the country: Sinhalese, Tamil and Muslims. So the samurai not only wears these colours, but the image also includes a lion, prominently featured on the flag. headtopics.com
"We received so many messages online from Sri Lankans telling us how cool it is that we've turned their country into a samurai," Mr Yamamoto says proudly.image copyrightimage captionIt's hoped the artwork will get people excited about the Games
Some embassies in Japan - like Honduras and Venezuela - have separately contacted the artists because they want to display pictures of the samurais.The hope is that the images will help people get excited about the Olympics, especially since no-one will be able to actually watch any of the Games in person.
Japan is in a state of emergency because of Covid and all spectators are banned.image copyrightimage captionEach samurai also includes a write-up describing their personality traits"People will only be able to enjoy the Olympics online," says Mr Yamada. "So hopefully our designs will provide a bit of entertainment and relief for all those tired of Covid-19."
Additional reporting by Eddy Duan Read more: BBC News (UK) »
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Very cool. How has the British Broadcasting Corporation managed to write an article about Olympic countries and *not* include Great Britain! Hmm, anyone would think they hate our country. 😵💫😵😷 What is interesting about this is that people who are replying in English are people who are writing in Japanese who are commenting favorably and commenting the opposite.
Any idea what the GB one looked like? jiulee07 What a nice idea!! They push these characters more on the media! I’d live to see all the countries characters! But I myself live in Japan have never seen them so far. Why is that? 英国人の反応が様々で面白い。 At least show the British samurai, BBC!! No doubt this is probably racist somehow, don’t care how or why I think they look cool.
日本軍の「刀」と「武士道」ってこれじゃね？😔 (写真は下記サイトより) 🤔
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Welcome to the GETTR platform! Get trust, get truth, get the freedom of speech! Reject the speech censorship, break the information monopoly, spread the truth！ This is ridiculous. 🤢 え～これはないわ～ お子様すぎるからやめて～！！ This is why they’re better than the UK. This. Is. Why. 🤮 Is the personification of America white? Black? Native American? And there are no women, are there?
Very cool, but both Sri Lanka and Jamaica as white, with blond hair and blue eyes? 🤨 Lazy reporting. Didn't even include the link to the artists' entire artwork. They included 17 countries only.
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