JFA_women's_Logo.svgThe Japan Football Association was formed in 1921, but the crest that it adopted and gave to the national team is a story thousands of years in the making. It features a mythical three-legged raven called Yatagarasu, which according to legend guided the Emperor Jimmu from Kumano to what would become Yamato over 2,500 years ago. Yatagarasu is thus a key part of Japanese culture, the messenger of the supreme Shinto sun goddess Amaterasu and a symbol for guidance.

Club teams that participate in the Emperor’s Cup can wear a Yatagarasu emblem the following season if they win it. And while Olympic football teams usually don the country flag as their badge instead of their usual one, you can expect the Japan men’s national team to have two Yatagarasu with them on the touchline at Rio 2016, as they are the team’s official mascots. That said, for all you Pokémon Go fans they used a Pikachu in the 2014 World Cup

But the badge featured here is not actually from the men’s football team, due to one key difference. The star above the usual JFA and the Yatagarasu highlights this badge to be that of Nadeshiko Japan, the women’s football team of Japan. The star is because the Japan women’s team won the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup, beating heavy favourites USA 3-1 on penalties after the final finished 2-2 AET. This made them the first Asian team to win the FIFA Women’s World Cup, and the first Asian team to win a senior FIFA title. The word ‘Nadeshiko’ that identifies the women’s national team translates into English as ‘beautiful flower’.