By Ewelina Lepionko
A group of artists is bringing Japanese flair to the Tokyo Olympics. They interpret each competing nation in the Olympics as a Samurai, giving each a charming personality and back story.
This is a way of merging a very important part of Japanese culture and the spirit of the Olympics. Manga-style samurai are bringing some unique flavor to the games. All artists took part in this project to help reinvigorate some of that international camaraderie and Olympic spirit that seems to be missing this year.
【メディアミックスプロジェクト】— WORLDFLAGS （世界の旗本） 公式アカウント (@worldflagsorg) July 24, 2021
"Samurais are unique to Japan and we want everyone to get to know traditional Japanese culture," says creator Kamaya Yamamoto.
The World Flags project is a small team of 15 artists creating samurai characters themed around each country's flag, while also incorporating some famous cultural aspects into the design.
Tokyo Olympics: Japanese artists reimagine countries as anime samurai— Rangana Shamil Fernando (@ranganashamil) July 23, 2021
"We received so many messages online from Sri Lankans telling us how cool it is that we've turned their country into a samurai," creator Kamaya Yamamoto said. #lka #SriLanka #Olympics2021 #Olympics pic.twitter.com/yLxF2naWQ4
Each artist starts by researching the meaning and history of a country's flag as well as the colors and design and then researches their culture. Each character also comes with a short write-up on their personality, strengths, and weaknesses.
The World Flags manga casts the anthropomorphic nations as warriors in a special group known as the Flag Samurai, under the command of an organization called Babel, which is defending the planet against an invasion of man-eating demons called "Brigantes" in the year 2050.
The project creator Kamaya Yamamoto said that the project was an attempt to ensure that an audience around the world got to know the unique culture of Japan. The creators hope that the project will help fans to learn about other countries and cultures.
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. They have so far made samurais out of the flags of 84 of the 200 competing countries.
Samurai were the hereditary military nobility and officer caste of medieval and early-modern Japan from the late 12th century to their abolition in 1876. They were the well-paid retainers of the daimyo. They had high prestige and special privileges such as wearing two swords. Although samurai no longer exist, the influence of these great warriors still manifests itself deeply in Japanese culture and samurai heritage can be seen all over Japan - be it a great castle, a carefully planned garden, or beautifully preserved samurai residences.
© 2000 - 2021 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)