Japan and Rugby

Updated: Dec 12, 2019



What a game of rugby it was! I hope you watched the match yesterday Japan v Scotland. That was an astonishing game, again...


In the first half, Japanese side had the speed, techniques and tenacity. It was a pure joy watching this amazing side. The second-half was a bit tougher. My heart was pounding with the slight worry of Scotland catching up. It felt like the clock is moving in extra slow motion and the whole crowd in the stadium was counting down to the full time of 40 minutes. 3, 2, 1. Conquering the endurance game, as soon as a Japanese player kicked the ball out of the field, it was a historical moment in a hysterical way!!


Japan is a nation that can get excited about one thing and get enthusiastic about it very quickly. Everything can be hyped up for a short moment but it doesn’t last very long as people get bored very easily as well. After the World Cup four years ago, especially the match against South Africa, whole nation were entranced by this amazing sport. However, soon after all the enthusiasm has gone. We say the most admired player moved to Australia for his own career move and the Japanese domestic league somehow suffered. Even just before the rugby World Cup, the broadcaster of RWC was talked like they are betting on the huge risk.

On the other hand, for me, living in London for these four years, British people kept telling me how amazing the Japanese rugby side was four years ago in the English edition of the World Cup. People soon started planning on going to Japan for this 2019 mega event as a perfect occasion to explore this very quirky but fascinating nation. Many of forty something men, who were not clearly a manga and anime fans started asking me the travel tips with excitement.


Now Japanese side is showing the quality again proving they position in the very own society of the baseball lover nation and they are claiming their well-deserved recognition in their tenacious games.

Another thing that appeals to me in the success of Japanese rugby team is that it looks like Japanese are finally embracing the internationalism. Japan still is homogeneous society and they like doing thins in their own traditional way. But watching rugby team makes me feel for the first time real globalisation of Japan might be kicked off. As our captain speaking the perfect English in the post match interview, it tells that when you accept the people from different backgrounds as part of our society and under the same flag, we could achieve something amazing.

For sure the South Africa game for years ago was a huge turning point and our next opponent in South Africa. The bar is higher, your expectation is higher. But I’m sure they show the quality game no matter what.

It’s so fun to watch Japanese side. They are so good in hands and the effort and the effort they make even where physically disadvantaged is moving. Japan became everyone’s second favourite team four years ago and continue to be so because it’s impossible not to support them when they are proceeding to the line!

And I hope the people who went all the way to Japan from Britain to watch the Rugby World Cup get positive impression about our country. Even when typhoon hits and earthquake shakes the land of Japan, we are still the nation who want to show the greatest hospitality to the guests from other parts of the world: it’s the spirit of Omotenashi, which has been the keyword for the RWC and Olympic bids.

#Japan2019 #rugbyworldcup #rugby #sakurajapan

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