22 March 2019

World Cup mania: What’s all the fuss about this guy?

Anyone know Kojiro Hyuga?

If you’re under 30, the name won’t ring a bell. If you’re from mainland China, you haven’t heard it in 20 years.

But if you’re a football fan from Hong Kong, you’re going to be reintroduced to him in a big way.

Kojiro Hyuga starred in the Japanese animated series Captain Tsubasa which debuted on TVB in 1985. Hongkongers of a certain age might remember him as Siu Chi-keung, the obsessive football player who, with his friend Ozora Tsubasa (Tai Chi-wai), mesmerized young viewers with “tiger shots” and “super shots”.

Like all football players, their ultimate dream was to play in the World Cup — and come away with the golden trophy.

And there you have it.

Adidas saw the connection and promptly proceeded to dig up more than three decades’ worth of TV footage to bring Hyuga back to life.

Already, there’s a five-meter statue of the cartoon character in Hysan Place in Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay district.

The hoopla around Hyuga is part of a marketing campaign to lure shoppers to the shopping mall — and to Adidas stores, obviously — coinciding with the 2014 World Cup which kicks off in Brazil in June.

There is just one problem.

The younger Hong Kong generation may have little or no connection to the character.

Those born in the 1990s might have caught the last wave of Hyuga’s popularity as they began to take to Pokemon, the next cartoon hit in Hong Kong.

Mainland Chinese, another source of demand, are unlikely to have seen or heard of Hyuga. The series was last shown in China 20 years ago.

But there’s a certain Hong Kong age group the campaign’s organizers could be most interested in: 30-45-year-old middle class family men with a certain loyalty to the World Cup.

They are the ones who take their wives and children to shopping malls, nip out to catch the football on any number of monitors, leaving the rest of the pack to buy things up.

– Contact us at [email protected]


Chief reporter at EJ Insight

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