Japanese Basketball Becomes a Reality of Slam Dunk Korean Basketball Envy
First Slam Dunk, which was released 30 years after the cartoon “Slam Dunk” began serialization, is very popular not only in Japan but also in Korea. The heat feels hotter when viewed from the creation or propagation and consumption of related content. This can be seen as a social and cultural phenomenon.
The more successful the first slam dunk is, the more empty a corner feels. It’s not just because the writer of the slam dunk is Japanese. I envy Japanese basketball.
25 wins and 1 loss. This is not the performance of the first slam dunk’s absolute powerhouse Sanwang basketball team. It is a record against the national basketball team of Korea and Japan since 1990, when the Slam Dunk was published and became very popular in both Korea and Japan. At this rate, both teams seem to be playing.
The Japanese national team was a team that won the first qualifying match by the Slam Dunk hero Tim Buksan to the South Korean national team. The problem is the next game. Few people can say that Korea will win if the Japanese national team plays as the best members, including Rui Hachimura (Los Angeles Lakers) and Yuta Watanabe (Brucklin Nets). It is great to be a strong team with such a good NBA player, but I envy the process.
The first slam dunk is gaining huge popularity in both Korea and Japan, but the impact on real basketball seems very different. As in Korea in the early 1990s, Japan’s interest in basketball cartoons continues to be in real basketball. Players like Utah Watanabe and Louis Hachimura, who are the real-life versions of the slam dunk, are more popular than ever. These players won Japanese high school basketball like the main characters of the slam dunk and moved to the U.S. to make it to the NBA stage. There is real basketball that can support the popularity of basketball cartoons.
On the other hand, Korea’s enthusiasm for basketball cartoons is so hot that interest in basketball shows no signs of reviving. I expected the first slam dunk wind to blow a little bit to Korean basketball, but the result is not so.
The stage of the basketball cartoon Slam Dunk is in Japan and there are things that are not in Korea. Thanks to this, Japanese basketball is now a difficult opponent for our country to win.
The background of the slam dunk is Japanese high school basketball. The main character, Team Buksan, will participate in the national competition, where 64 teams from the region participated in the regional preliminary round. The main stage of the First Slam Dunk is the match against Sanwang High School, the strongest in the country, which he met in the third round of the national tournament. There are so many high school basketball teams in Japan. Korea has only about 30 teams, less than half of the number of participating teams in Japan’s regional qualifiers. As a result, it is not only the adult national team that makes a difference. Other than elite players, even if they exchange teams from universities or clubs, there is a level difference that makes them feel sorry for the Japanese team.
Japan had players who consistently did not give up their dreams and challenged them. Japanese players inspired by slam dunks such as Watanabe Yutado, Matsui Kei and Tabuse Yuta before Rui Hachimura continued to advance to American basketball. Considering the level of Japanese basketball, which was inferior to that of Korea, the entry into the U.S. into the slam dunk is close to the content of science fiction movies.
However, the Japanese players kept knocking on the door and fans cheered for them. After small successes and failures, the Japanese national team has now become a team led by star players who play in the NBA. This is why I hope that Korean basketball prospects Lee Hyun-joong and Yeo Joon-seok will not give up and challenge even if they fail to advance to the NBA right away. We hope that the popularity of First Slam Dunk and our competitiveness against Japan will lead to supporting Korean used basketball teams and entering the U.S. as promising players.