Thursday, 12 March 2009

The Curse Of The Colonel

OSAKA JAPAN 10/03/09

For the vast majority of the world's inhabitants the Colonel is a figure of benevolence, of love and of hope. He's a memory to cherish and a talisman for all that is good in this world. However, for one group of people in Japan he has, over the last 24 years become something much more sinister.

Cast your mind back to the balmy summer of 85 where Japanese baseball team the Hanshin Tigers suprised the nation by winning that years Championship Japan Series, something akin to the giant killing often seen by minor league teams un the UK's Footballing FA cup. Whereas in the UK the minor league team is usually vanquised in the final stages of the competition, in this Japanese instance the Hanshin Tigers won the series. A feat thought impossible but greatly aided by this man:

RANDY BASS, attributed with having the most spectacular run of any American playing in Japan, ever!

Following their historic victory the crowd went wild and congregated at a nearby footbridge that spans the Dotonbori river. From here a strange ritual celebration began. The large crowd began to chant the names of the team's players wherupon any fan resembling the player whose name had just been called would jump into the river below. This celebration continued apace until Randy Bass' name was called. The wild fans realised that none of their number were bearded nor white and had to make do with an effigy. The only suitable one close at hand was a statue of the Colonel that can be found outside virtually all of Japan's 1160 branches of KFC.

The Statues are very popular amongs pilgrims who journey to the country to have their pictures taken and to offer the colonel a kiss in order that he may grant them a better understanding of the recipe. (See Picture Below)

The tigers fans cast him into the canal, and there began a 24 year losing streak. This losing streak is said to be due to 'The Curse of the Colonel' so placed due to Harland's anger over the treatment of one of his store front statues.

24 years has been a long time in the doldrums for the Hanshin Tigers, although they returned to the super league the curse said that they would never win again until the statue was retrieved.

Reports of last weeks events are sketchy with two competing stories. For the Hanshin Tigers however they were welcomed. A diver was either sent down specifically to recover the statue or stumbled upon it whilst surveying the river bed. Regardless of which version you believe, one thing is certain. . . The statue has been recovered from its watery hiding place.
“He was apparently found standing upright, which is fitting, because although he was a nice man he could also be very strict and demanding,”
said Sumeo Yokakawa, a spokeswoman at the chain’s Tokyo headquarters.

The upper half of the statue was found Tuesday in Osaka’s Dotonburi River during construction work to build a new walkway, according to city official Hideo Yuko. His legs and right hand were found Wednesday morning.

The colonel will be kept in police custody for the time being, but Yokakawa said KFC is considering donating him to the home stadium of the Tigers in Osaka. The store where he originally stood has since closed.


paulbot said...

I did read about this earlier last week, an interesting article!

Tweety said...

Could you correct the team name? It's not Hanjin but Hanshin. Thanks.

paulbot said...

Thanks for pointing this out, has been corrected!