Japanese television broadcaster NHK has brought together Para sports and the tradition of anime to promote the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. Japan’s only public broadcaster invited some of the country’s most famous manga artists and pop singers to take part in a series called “Animation x Paralympic: Who is Your Hero?”
The series was launched with a 5-a-side football episode featuring the Japan national team facing world champions Brazil. The story was directed by Yoichi Takahashi, the creator of the popular manga and animation series Captain Tsubasa. Rock band Okamoto was responsible for the theme song “Turn Up.”
The second story is about Para athletics showing a young girl with a leg impairment discovering the joy of feeling the wind through sports. The episode was created by Eisaku Kubonouchi and J-pop artist Sakura Fujiwara sings the theme song “Just the way we are.”
NHK announced: “By presenting the appeal of the para sports in an approachable way, we hope that many people will take a stronger interest in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. We hope to create additional works that correspond to the different sports to spread the appeal of para sports and foster people’s interest in the Paralympics,” announced NHK in a statement.
The series had a great response from the Japanese public on social media and in a survey conducted by NHK. The Japanese broadcaster is yet to announce when new episodes will be aired.
NHK has the exclusive broadcast and exhibition rights in Japan for the Paralympic Games through to Paris 2024.