Everybody knows that style is superior in Japan, be it on Takeshita Street or in the football arena. As clubs around the globe ready their offerings for season 2021/2022, the Japanese FA has blown all and sundry out of the water with a slapper of an anniversary shirt that has our proxy on red alert.
When describing kit designs, the word nice is commonly used as a euphemism for "boring." But just look at this work of art — it truly is the essence of nice. Arriving in a sky blue colorway, the kind reminiscent of a cloudless spring view from the Mt. Fuji summit, it features a preppy, old-school collar and non-invasive tonal adidas branding. Rather than mere sportswear, one would be forgiven for thinking it was a limited-edition polo that had recently been discovered in the Ralph Lauren archive.
Usually, gold on a shirt is a sign of tacky pretension, but here it works, having been utilized sparingly around the Hinomaru badge. It's classic, not fusty; clean to the point that you wouldn't mind if your future daughter's football-mad boyfriend waltzed into a formal family event wearing it.
adidas has always had a special sauce up in its locker when it comes to working with the Japan national football team, and has yet to make a bad kit since becoming its official partner in 1998. This baby, however, is something else — like a soothing spa for the eyes compared to some of the year's highly confusing releases that adhere to an incredibly specific brand of tasteless. No shade, Spurs and Chelsea fans.
Limited to just 2,021 units (see what they did there), those lucky enough to get their hands on one will receive it in a rather gorgeous paulownia treasure box that features 10 postcards telling the story of Japanese football thus far. Looking at the photos, it would also double up as a neat storage compartment for any ceramic sake set.