Wednesday, 22 May 2024


Mascot selection has become a relatively important consideration for J.League teams these days, with many cubs condicting contests to identify and name their mascot. Some even have pushed the definition of "originality" to the limit. But that surely is preferable to the relative lack of planning or creative thought that went into the design of Gamba's mascot. Take the name selected for the mascot, for example.  "Gamba Boy". I suppose that is as good as any name, because that is exactly what it is -- a Gamba Boy. But surely they could have come up with something more original . . . .

The most plausible rumour surrounding the design of Gamba Boy claims that when the J.League kicked off, Sony Entertainment was handed the contract to develop the graphics for all J.League teams and those teams with hopes of joining soon thereafter. Most teams already had a character in mind, but a few just offered Sony some general design ideas and told them to invent something. Supposedly, a designer looked at the ideas proposed by Matsushita Electric ("something to do with electricity"), Hitachi ("something related to the sun") and Fujita Electric ("anything is fine"),  and hit upon an "Olympian Gods" theme. Reysol's character would be a cartoon Apollo (Sun God), Gamba would get an electricity-wielding Zeus (God of Thunder), and Bellmare, a cartoon Poseidon (Sea God). 

This explanation makes some sense, but there are questions about whether Reysol and Bellmare were even included in the initial planning of mascots, so the story cannot be confirmed. In any event, Gamba eventually ditched the lightning bolt, as a bit too blatant a plug for their main sponsor, and the current character looks nothing like a Greek God. Some observers have noticed a vague similarity to one of the characters in the "Dragonball" manga series, but then young blue-haired comic characters all tend to look pretty similar to us. One detail, however, has always bothered me: What is with the "loose socks"? Isnt that supposed to be a fashion statement for Osaka GIRLS?


Gamba Osaka -- Team Uniforms (1990-present)

Click on the small pictures to see a larger-size image

Pre-J (H) Pre-J (A) 1993 (H) 1993 (A) 1994 (H) 1994 (A)
1995-96 (H) 1998-99 (H) 2000 (H) 2000 (A) 2001 (H) 2001 (A)
2002 (H) 2002 (A) 2003 (H) 2003 (A) 2004 (H) 2004 (A)
2005 (H) 2005 (A) 2006 (H) 2006 (A) 2007 (H) 2007 (A)
2008 (H) 2008 (A) 2008 (ACL) 2009 (ACL) 2009 (H) 2009 (A)
2010 (H) 2010 (A) 2011 (H) 2011 (A) 2012 (H) 2012 (A)
2013 (H) 2013 (A) 2014 (H) 2014 (A) 2015 (H) 2015 (A)
2016 (H) 2016 (A) 2017 (H) 2017 (A) 2018 (H) 2018 (A)
2019 (H) 2019 (A) 2020 (H) 2020 (A) 2021 (H) 2021 (A)
2022 (H) 2022 (A) 2023 (H) 2023 (A)