With World Cup 2014 fast approaching, participating teams around the world are making their final preparations for the big dance in Brazil. Finalizing travel plans, plotting training sessions, and most imporatntly figuring out their final roster spots. And national associations forging last-minute marketing partnerships — a.k.a. raking in investment funds — aren’t to be forgotten either. And this week’s “Pic of the Week” is a perfect example of that… albeit a strange one.
Japan’s national association, the JFA, struck a deal last week to have the world-famous video game/cartoon character Pikachu be the official mascot of their national sides. Yes, Japan’s official mascot comes to us from a Japanamation cartoon provider in the Pokémon Company. I’m sure the deal will prove invaluable for the JFA and their players, not to mention to Pokémon… even if it does reinforce an already prevalent ethnic stereotype.