CRITIQUE OF TWO ENGLISH LANGUAGE EXHIBITS EXPLAINING JAPAN’S RUGBY HISTORY IN JAPAN PAVILION IN LONDON DURING RWC2015: PART 1

I wrote and circulated the information below with Japanese translations to a number of people involved in the rugby world in Japan including at least one director after initially making a complaint to the two Japanese officials on the spot at the Japan Pavilion in London during the RWC 2015 in the UK immediately after reading the information about the history of rugby in Japan that was offered in the display. I didn’t expect to get any response and I didn’t get any.

SPOTLIGHT ON E. B. CLARKE – ONE FATHER OF RUGBY IN JAPAN

E. B. studied at the Victoria Public School alongside TANAKA Ginnosuke who helped him to introduce rugby in 1899 to the students of Keio University. At the age of 15 he won nearly all the academic and sporting prizes in the school, except that for mathematics which was awarded to Tanaka, and had several inspirational meetings with the famous writer Lafcadio Hearn while Hearn was a guest in the headmaster’s house.

EARLIEST AMERICAN FOOTBALL IN JAPAN

Unlike with the first official games of soccer, rugby, hockey, etc. in Japan., American football started with a big BANG and a big exhibition at the Meiji Shrine grounds on Thanksgiving Day (November 29) in 1934 watched by 15,000 (according to the JAFA* today – the Japan Times at the time said 10,000) people including Prince Chichibu and the American ambassador Joseph Grew who gave a speech as part of the ‘colorful’ opening ceremonies. These included the Florida Dance Hall orchestra playing the football songs of leading US colleges.

BEST 1930’S YC&AC RUGBY PLAYER

When I asked Bill the name of the best player in that period up to world war two, he seemed to hesitate before mentioning several names – Fleming, Archie Scherrer, Devison and Edwards – but when I asked Cecil Arab he quickly said, without any hesitation, ‘Lampy Lamport – the Oxford Blue!’ Years later I decided I should try to find out something about the legendary Lampy Lamport!

THE 1874 “FOOTBALL IN YOKOHAMA” ILLUSTRATION AND THE ARTIST WHO CREATED IT

The image is most likely the oldest image of rugby in Asia and one of the very oldest in the world relating to ‘club’ football – at glance at the picture will tell you that the players were certainly not playing a game of soccer –  actually being played as opposed to football/rugby played in schools and universities.

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