Japanese football side Kawasaki Frontale have released images of their new training kit for the upcoming season, and it has a British theme. In case the plaid didn’t spell that out clearly enough, a sleeve badge reveals the whole thing is actually a homage to Thomas The Tank Engine.
The idea behind the team’s training range is that it helps foster international relations, specifically the UK in this instance because the original plan for 2020 was for some British athletes to use Kawasaki as a training base for the Tokyo Olympics.
That’s obviously not happening, but having been designed and manufactured the range is being released anyway. The plaid colours were chosen because they match two things: the city of Kawasaki’s own colours, but also those of Thomas, Percy and James, the three engines appearing on the sleeve badge.
While this might sound wild to American sports fans, Japanese football loves this kind of tie-in; the last few national team kits have had Captain Tsubasa tie-in versions released ahead of World Cups, for example.