Celtic continue Japan fanfare as Kyogo stars in award-winning manga series

By Dave Flanigan

November 24, 2022

Celtic forward Kyogo Furuhashi has starred in an award-winning manga series, continuing the Hoops’ recent affiliation with Japanese football.

Ao Ashi, a football manga illustrated by Yugo Kobayashi and serialised in Japanese magazine Big Comic Spirts, began in 2015, and tells the story of an aspiring young Japanese footballer and his journey after being scouted by a prominent youth coach.

The series, which also was given an animated adaption earlier this year has reportedly sold 16 million copies across 30 different volumes, winning the annual Shogakukan Manga Award in 2019, the longest-running award for manga titles.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Kyogo marked the collaboration on his official Twitter account, writing: “I am very happy that I was featured in a soccer manga that is very popular in Japan, and that Mr. Yugo Kobayashi made an illustration of me! Details will be posted on Celtic’s official website, so be sure to check it out!”

A press release from Shogakukan Co., Ltd confirms details of the release, with the manga appearing in Issue 51 of Big Comic Spirits, alongside an illustration of Kyogo performing his signature “mushroom” goal celebration with series protagonist Ashito Aoi.

Celtic are selling products on the club store featuring the illustration, including a mug, poster, and t-shirts.

The striker had previously praised the series in a Q&A posted to Celtic’s official Twitter feed, responding to a question about his favourite anime with: “I like Shaman King, One Piece and Doctor Stone – they are my top three! There is one called Ao Ashi about football that I like but I think it is only in Japanese.”

Though Kyogo has been a favourite of the Celtic support since his arrival last summer, he was left out of Japan’s World Cup squad alongside Reo Hatate and Yosuke Ideguchi, whilst Daizen Maeda was selected by head coach Hajime Moriyasu, starting the Samurai Blue’s famous win over Germany yesterday.

Celtic confirmed the signing of their fifth Japanese player under Ange Postecoglou yesterday, with the arrival of 22-year-old central defender Yuki Kobayashi from Vissel Kobe.

In other news: Family ties no issue for Celtic star Carter-Vickers ahead of England-USA World Cup clash