Only in Japan will you find anything and everything made into a manga character – you’ve got mascots for cities, pharmaceutical products, and even Japanese idioms. This time, a group of brilliant artists have come together to showcase their talents once again by making manga characters of national flags of the world for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
This time, you’ll actually want one of these made into a figurine, because all of the characters look really cool. What’s amazing is that the artists managed to incorporate the flags’ colours and characteristics into samurai outfits. Take a look at some of these really cool designs from Asia:
Don’t you just love how we have our very own anthropomorphised version of our flag? His armour is called Shiro-mikaduki (aka “the white crescent moon and five stars”) and he wields a sword featuring Merlion at the hilt. The tagline is a Chinese proverb, “Pulling up seedlings to help them grow,” often refers to someone hastening the pace hoping for quick results – it could be referring to the fast pace that Singapore has grown. He also has a nickname: “The Prince of the New World” – read below for a short comic to explain why!
This comic hilariously explains why he’s the Prince, and why Merlion is not merely a tourist attraction…
Let’s look at our neighbour Malaysia’s character, who looks quite fierce, with an odd tagline “Like a cucumber with a durian,” which is actually a Malay proverb meaning that a weak person who challenges a strong person will lose. His armour features ‘stripes of glory’ and a 14-pointed star on his helmet. How garang.
Indonesia’s character is rather sedate, with his short hair and glasses, wearing a monk’s robe. His tagline says “Where there is smoke, there is fire”, which means that if someone has done something wrong there is usually a good reason – but we think in this case, it could be a jibe at the haze.
Thailand’s character dons a Heian era costume, which eludes to Thailand’s royal background. He carries two chakrams, ready for action. His proverb “hard but easy to chip” refers to the fact that there is a limit to putting on a brave front.
Vietnam’s character is an Onmyoji who practises a traditional Japanese esoteric cosmology, which is a mixture of natural science and occultism, which explains the floating paper cat figures.
Japan’s character – Kamamoto – carries himself like a young, friendly samurai. His role is to mediate the bonds of various countries.
Unlike the other characters, South Korea’s dons a firefighter costume. He actually likes BTS, Big Bang, and Twice, and dislikes sweets. With a nickname of “Tiger of the Korean Peninsula, his tagline means “to begin is halfway there”.
The proverb for China’s character, “Reasonable win, unreasonable loss” means that you can lose if you have no reason. That pose is just so classic terracotta warrior.
India’s tagline is very apt for the Olympics: “Those who can endure conquer the world”. The helmet has an interesting tribute to the cows which are held sacred in India.
Not only are these artworks gorgeous to look at, the artists have also given them a background, and even mentions the history of the countries. So far there have been 32 countries represented, with more to come. While this is a cool project, the artists have stated that it is not an official project for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
If you want to check out more of these gorgeous artworks, check out the World Flags project. Which is your favourite character?