In an effort to promote the sport in 1981, the Japanese Football Association helped animator Yoichi Takahashi develop a seemingly “small” project that would cater to a younger audience. They logically reasoned that creating a popular cartoon would popularize it with a younger audience. Little did they know it would become a media goldmine, turning Captain Tsubasa into a cultural icon and help usher in a new era with Japan as a regional power in soccer. In several countries, “Captain Tsubasa” translated into “Oliver and Benji,” and a comic book and television cartoon that was born from Japan quickly became an international success—no matter where on the globe you grew up, you knew these characters. We went to Tokyo and met with the cartoonists and creative minds that built this empire.