It’s safe to say that the current main sports in Japan are baseball and soccer. The older of the two, Japanese baseball, can be defined by its players’ almost militaristic commitment to the game developed through the harsh training they undergo as youths.

However, with soccer, it’s not uncommon to see players with shaggy long hair or even dye jobs, and along with that a new attitude to playing professional sports in Japan. As a result, the nation may be witnessing its first true sports celebrity in Keisuke Honda: AC Milan and Japanese National Team forward and now an award-winning perfumer.

■ L’eau de Diamond by Keisuke Honda

On September 10 the Japanese Fragrance Association got together and honored L’eau de Diamond with two of their prestigious awards: Popular Men’s “Fragrance of the Year” and “Best Bottle Design.” This scent was a joint venture of Honda and Japanese fragrance maker Fits which was released in 2013.

More than just critically, L’eau de Diamond has excelled commercially as well. It’s said that to be a hit a scent should sell 30,000 units in a year, but Honda was able to move an impressive 140,000 bottles in only ten months. Sales also show no signs of slowing.

■ L’eau de Laughter by sports fans

While the thought of an athlete producing a cologne, BBQ sauce, rap album, or line of jewelry isn’t unusual in some other countries’ pro-sports, this is rather new ground for a Japanese athlete and some are wondering what kind of an impact it might be having on their star player’s performance.

▼ “Keisuke Honda HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA  is producing a perfume HAHAHAHAHAHAHA What are you doing? Go play soccer HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHH”

▼ “Fragrances are good and all but maybe you should focus a little more on football…”

▼ “Honda, concentrate more on soccer and less on selling perfume.”

On the other hand, there are countless other tweets celebrating the pleasant scent of L’eau de Diamond, but it’s not certain how many of the fragrance’s supporters felt the sting of Japan’s devastating early defeat in Brazil during the last World Cup.

■ L’eau de Diversification by Keisuke Honda

Those who are complaining about Honda’s foray into the fragrance industry surely must realize that it probably didn’t take up much of his day. It’s hard to believe that he was standing in a lab with a white jacket detecting the subtle notes of his master creation.

It more than likely went like this:

Fits Rep: We’d like you to smell these ten bottles and tell us which one you like the best.

Honda: sniff, sniff… Um [thinking they all smell the same]… This one?

Fits Rep: Congratulations that is your new scent! By the way, what’s your favorite suit of playing cards?

Honda: Diamond?

Fits Rep: Hmm. Clubs would have worked better for the soccer angle, but Diamond it is! Okay, meeting adjourned.

While he probably wasn’t getting a masters in chemistry, Keisuke Honda actually has had his fingers in many pies over the past few years. He is currently the “producer” of the Soltilo Familia Soccer School with 49 locations in Japan and rapidly growing. He is also the chairman of the Austrian Football First League club SV Horn.

This is not by accident either, Honda had long thought about a life beyond soccer. In an interview with NewsPicks he said “For me soccer is just warming up for life” and mentioned that he had seriously considered getting into politics later on as well.

■ L’eau de World Cup Russia by Sour Grapes

Although he’s clearly gearing up for the transition from soccer to business and maybe even public office, it looks as if Honda will try to stay in the game until the World Cup Russia in 2018. We might have seen the 29-year-old make an exit before then, but after the Japanese team’s ousting in the group stage at Brazil with zero wins Honda no doubt has revenge on his mind.

So even despite his line of fragrances, fine clothes, and snappy haircuts, Honda apparently still hasn’t lost his passion to play the game that has given him so much.

Source: NewsPicks, Naver Matome
Images: FITS/L’eau de Diamond