Over 10,000 kilometres separate Spain and Japan but the two countries are being brought closer together by a love of football. A new range of educational courses, designed by LaLiga and its clubs, will not only help increase the profile of the competition in Japan but will also help people to learn more about Spain, its culture and its language.
LaLiga has joined with the Cervantes Institute of Tokyo to launch the ‘#VolverEsGanar’ online education project. Borrowing the name from the global campaign that has supported LaLiga’s return after the COVID-19 pandemic, the course intends to teach how Spanish clubs of all sizes function and how their internationalisation projects can continue.
These courses will be held each Monday and Thursday, running from June 29th to July 30th, sharing lessons on how Spanish football operates, with directors from LaLiga clubs teaching the classes themselves. A wide range of Spanish clubs and cities will be represented through LaLiga Santander sides RCD Mallorca, SD Eibar, Deportivo Alavés, Villarreal CF and Real Betis and LaLiga SmartBank clubs Elche CF, SD Huesca, Cádiz CF, Deportivo de la Coruña and Real Zaragoza.
Building on existing links to Japan
The classes are presented by Sportsnavi, LaLiga’s official media partner in Japan, who will explain the structure and organisation of these clubs and will reflect on their history, fanbases and ties to Japan.
Several of the clubs involved have significant links with the Asian country, whether through tours or sponsors or playing staff. High-profile Japanese stars such as Shinji Okazaki, Takefusa Kubo, Shinji Kagawa, Gaku Shibasaki or Takashi Inui currently ply their trade in Spanish football.
Ivan Codina, LaLiga’s Managing Director for SEA, Japan, South Korea and Australia, explained: “Our objective is always to help promote the clubs beyond what happens on the pitch. In Japan, there’s not only great interest in Spanish football but there’s also great interest in our culture, traditions and language. Through this initiative, we believe that we’ll be able to bring fans in Japan closer to the clubs of LaLiga and to all that surrounds them.”
Víctor Ugarte, the director of the Cervantes Institute in Tokyo, adds that the power of LaLiga’s brand will encourage people to take the time to learn about Spain. “At this moment in time, LaLiga is the best-known Spanish brand in Japan,” he said. “The image that LaLiga has in Japan of being a worldwide leader in its field is very useful for Spain’s image and for the promotion of the Spanish language.”
LaLiga has previously partnered with the Cervantes Institute to promote education through football elsewhere around the world, while LaLiga also organised classes last season in which fans from various teams showcased the architecture, culture and gastronomy of each of their cities and regions.
“Japan is a very important country for LaLiga clubs because there are a lot of things that unite us,” Codina concluded. “However, even with the strong relationships between the countries, there are still differences that can be studied thanks to initiatives such as this.”