Sunday Parody — Political Intelligence : The 2020 Tokyo Olympics Samurai [Case study: Belgium]

“All mistakes originate with people’s acting like experts thoroughly familiar with a subject, and looking down with an air of superiority on others.”

Yoshida Kenkō — Tsurezuregusa (ca. 1330)

July 25 2021 — To celebrate the 2020 Summer Olympics, a group of Japanese artists decided to replace the traditional flags of countries by a typical samurai. The result is fun and seems childish. But make no mistake. Much intelligence went into writing the profile of these warriors. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY

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Previous Olympics held in Japan have used the English language for the parade order. This year, the opening ceremony was based on the names of countries in Japanese, thus following the Gojūon order of Japanese Kana. Therefore, the Belgian team appeared between Peru and Portugal.

Here is the flashcard of the Belgium Samurai.

Name : 駄流電弩 (Dardenne)

Explanation — The first three characters are pronounced Da-ryū-den and they respectively mean no good, flow, and electricity. Are you galvanized into action yet?

Date of Birth : January 23

Explanation — In 1830 the flag, at that time non-officially, consisted of three horizontal bands, with the colors red, yellow and black. On January 23, 1831, the National Congress enshrined the tricolor in the Constitution, but did not determine the direction and order of the color bands. As a result, the “official” flag was given vertical stripes with the colors black, yellow and red. When working on the Meiji constitution (1889), the Japanese considered the Belgium text as a model, but rejected it in favor of the Prussian charter.

Height : 178

Explanation — This one is a bit odd. Actually, at an average height of 1.82 metres, Belgian men are only one place off being the world’s tallest men. They are just 0.8 cm shorter than their Dutch neighbors. Perhaps the intelligence was not updated. 100 years ago, Belgian men were 15 cm shorter. Another explanation is that the height quoted is the average of men and women height. Indeed, Belgian women are on average 1.66 metres tall, putting them in 20th position.

Blood type : O

Explanation — This is statistically questionable, but about true. Did you know that everyone can receive type O blood because it doesn’t contain any antigens. This is why people with type O blood are considered “universal donors.” However, people with type O blood can receive only type O blood. This blood is known as the blood of the hunter.

Hobby : Making waffle

Explanation — Originally showcased at the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair, Belgian waffles were introduced to North America by a Belgian named Walter Cleyman at the Century 21 Exposition in Seattle in 1962. In Belgium itself, there are several kinds of waffle, including the Brussels waffle and the Liège waffle. I will not discuss the matter for fear of starting a war between Belgian tribes.

Special skill : Drawing

Explanation — Belgium is the home of the comic strip. Belgium’s comic-strip culture has been called by Time magazine “Europe’s richest”.

Weak point : He can act like a fool

No explanation needed — If anybody ever made a film documenting the history of Belgium, it would have to be narrated by Inspector Clouseau. Manneken Pis — a statue of a little boy pissing — is actually the symbol of Brussels.

Favorite food : French fries

Explanation —  A Reuters headline read ‘Fry ban targets wrong country’ at the height of the French product boycott in the US following its stance against the war in Iraq. Make no mistake. French fries are very Belgian. In old English, to ‘french’ actually meant to ‘cut lengthwise’ which is the origin of the confusion… French fries permeate into every pore of Belgian culture, from pop art and comic strips to music and advertising. Turn any corner in one of Belgium’s beautiful towns or cities, and you are sure to stumble upon a frites stall (frietkot). PS — Belgium actually opposed the war in Iraq.

Motto : ひげが上を向けば気分は上々 — “If you turn your beard up, the feeling is great.”

Explanation — I will let you figure out by yourself the meaning of this motto… But I will give you a piece of information. According to a recent OECD Health report, Belgians drink on average 12,6 litres of alcohol per year per person. Belgians top the world in terms of alcohol consumption. To get the equivalent amount in litres of beer, one needs to multiply the number by 20, which would amount to 252 litres of beer. In 2016, UNESCO inscribed Belgian beer culture on their list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity.

Personality :

Dardenne is usually a calm and laid-back person. However, he has the mind of a warrior who can reach calm judgments. He can elaborate ruthless plans, but he is willing to compromise if that is going to be a plus in the long run.

In his private life, he is also an artist who loves contemporary art and manga. He likes documentary films. He likes waffles and chocolate, but only Belgian chocolates.

According to those who know him well, he is an elusive man who can be scary when he gets angry.

Not discussed in the flashcard

There are many other things worth a discussion about the Belgian Samurai. I am sure the reader has noticed the European Union symbol, the medallion with a Kanji, and the knots on the sageo (cord) of his sword.

BTW, Did you know?

After the opening of Japan to the outside world, Belgium was one of the first countries to establish formal diplomatic relations with Japan in 1866.

The very close ties between the Japanese Imperial family and the Belgian Royal Family add a very special accent to the relations between Belgium and Japan. 

REFERENCES

2020 Summer Olympics Parade of Nations — Wikipedia

Embassy and Consulates of Belgium in Japan — Diplomatic relations

DID YOU KNOW THAT BELGIAN MEN ARE THE SECOND TALLEST IN THE WORLD?

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Sunday parody — Political Intelligence : The 2020 Tokyo Olympics Samurai [Case study: Belgium]

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