Style and grace are two words that are synonymous with the Japanese way of welcoming visitors to their country, and that extends to national teams qualifying for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
All teams that qualify, either via continental championships or through the FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers, will receive a beautiful memento of the occasion: a "Gift of Hockey" piece of artwork carried out by the renowned Japanese calligrapher Hamano Kishin.
On the banner is a depiction of hockey players, accompanied by the words “Gift of Hockey”; along with traditional Japanese symbols which translate as “Believe” and “Good Luck”.
The motto, Gift of Hockey, is the phrase chosen by the FIH to promote the values of hockey in the lead-up to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. These values include inclusivity, equality, community-building and respect – values that mirror the aims of the Olympic movement.
In giving such a beautiful and timeless piece of art to each qualified national team, FIH is also paying tribute to the concept of legacy – handing something to the next generation. Again, this is a value that lies at the heart of both the FIH and the IOC.
The calligrapher, 44-year-old Hamano Kishin, has been pursuing his art since he was just five years old. When he was 20, Kishin received the Grand Master license for calligraphy. The artist says he has created more than 3,000 pieces of calligraphic brushwork for all types of businesses and organisations. He has also expanded into traditional Sumi paintings, which are black and white brush paintings with inspirational messages.
As teams continue to earn their places in Tokyo next year, these unique pieces of artwork will serve as a constant reminder of their own Olympic journeys.