Perceived as one of the most popular team sports in Japanbehind the baseball or the soccer, he rugby The XV is also considered an excellent means of staying in shape for the elderly.
Its nearly 125,000 federated players attest to the implantation of rugby in the Japanese country. Of those, about 10,000 are veterans over the age of 60.
Some, like Yasutake Oshima, are over 80 years old. And it is that in addition to a sport to keep fit, rugby also serves as an integrating element for these people who in many cases live without company.
The first rugby club to have seen the light of day in Japan is the Yokohama Football Club, created in 1866, although its first players were mainly foreign, American and British merchants.
Rugby began to really develop among the Japanese at the beginning of the 20th century, thanks mainly to the support of the imperial family and the creation of university clubs.
The national team played its first game in 1932 against Canada, ending in a meager defeat (9-8). Although ‘Brave Blossoms’ they participate in all the World Cups, for decades they were stuck in the group stage.
But in 2015 they managed the feat of defeating the South African favorites (34-32) in what has been called “The Brighton Miracle”and only the difference in points kept them from going to the quarterfinals, despite their three victories in the first phase.
Host in 2019, becoming the first Asian country to host a rugby World Cup, they repeated the feat by beating Ireland and Scotland, only to be crushed by the Springboks in the quarterfinals (26-3).
Japan will face Chile on September 10 in Toulouse, before taking on the other teams in Group D: England, Samoa and Argentina.
A few weeks before the 2023 Men’s Rugby World Cup in France, Agence France-Presse (AFP) has asked 20 young photographers, representative of each of the qualified countries, to show an aspect of local rugby culture, in collaboration with canon. From Namibia to Fiji, passing through Georgia or Chile, these reports are intended to illustrate the values of rugby.
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