LAMEES OBEIDAT (ABU DHABI)
Renowned Japanese manga artist Yoichi Takahashi, the creative genius behind Captain Tsubasa, or Captain Majid as it is fondly known in the Emirates and the Arab world, expressed his heartfelt appreciation for Abu Dhabi and the organisers of the Middle East Games Con 2024.
Takahashi, also known as Taka-sensei, shared his gratitude during his participation in the region’s biggest pop culture event, organised by Informa Connect in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), which unfolded at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) on February 9-11.
In an exclusive interview with Aletihad, Takahashi delved into the origins of Captain Tsubasa, revealing that his inspiration struck at the age of 18 while watching the 1978 Argentine World Cup. His journey into manga, a form of comics originating from Japan, began then, with a desire to illustrate scenes he had never witnessed before.
Takahashi’s distinctive animation style draws inspiration from Mizushima Shinji, acclaimed for baseball manga such as Yakyū-kyō no Uta, Dokaben, and Abu-san, and a two-time recipient of the Shogakukan Manga Award. The artist admitted that he never anticipated the colossal fame Captain Tsubasa would attain, only realising its popularity in the Arab world and Europe during the 1990s.
In a heartfelt message to Captain Majid enthusiasts and Aletihad readers, Takahashi extended his gratitude for their unwavering appreciation of the characters and stories he crafts. He reassured fans that his creative journey would persist, inviting everyone to continue enjoying his works, including reading the manga. Additionally, Takahashi imparts a valuable lesson, urging fans to cherish their teammates and respect their rivals. Much like Captain Majid, he aspires for young readers to foster dreams within their hearts and relentlessly pursue them.
While the manga series has concluded, Takahashi contemplates the possibility of continuing the story, either personally or by entrusting it to someone else, or even suggesting an animation studio continue the animated adaptation.
Marking his first visit to Abu Dhabi, Takahashi expressed his admiration for the city and said: “The modernity, beauty, vibrant entertainment scene and beautiful beaches of Abu Dhabi are admirable”. He added: “Participating in the event filled me with joy, and I would like to thank Abu Dhabi for providing a platform to introduce Japanese culture and manga art to the region.” Meeting fans from this part of the world was a particularly gratifying experience for the artist.