FIRST JAPANESE TO PLAY RUGBY SCHOOL RULES FOOTBALL

The first recorded attendance and study by a Japanese boy at
Rugby School is of a boy from Shikoku in Japan who was at the school in 1878 to
1879 means that he was most likely the first Japanese to participate in a football
match played according to Rugby School rules. 
A long serving archivist at Rugby assured me that at the school all
pupils would have to participate in at least some football matches each year.

The Rugby School register gives his name as HAYASHI* Jukichi
Atsuyoshi (1862-1929) who was nearly 15 when he entered Rugby School in
September 1878 and was in Elsee’s House. In the 19th century, houses
in Rugby School excluding School House where the headmaster resided and Town
House which was for the children of local residents – William Webb Ellis was a
famous Town House alumni – the houses where the pupils resided were names after
the master in charge.  The Rev. Charles
Elsee, a maths teacher, was in charge of Elsee House and its pupils.

The register attempts to explain Jukichi’s complicated
background. It says he was the adopted son of HAYASHI Atsuyoshi of Tokio (old
name of present Tokyo), Japan and was the ward of  HACHISUKA Mokki Asso whose address is given as
2 Pall Mall Place, London.  The Hachisuka
family were the Lords of the Tokushima Han (domain) in east side of Shikoku
island near to Osaka.  ‘Mokki Asso’ is a spelling
mistake and Jukichi was the ward of HACHISUKA Mochiaki who supported the
education of many Japanese.

Entering Rugby School in September, HAYASHI is likely to
have quickly seen his first important football match because the annual Sixth
vs the School match probably took place on Saturday October 12 (if it didn’t,
it was on October 19). A description of the game survives: ‘The Sixth took the
Island Goal as usual, and Jessel kicked off for them. Play at first was pretty
even, but the Sixth were soon seen to be superior behind the scrummage and the
ball was gradually worked to the School goal. The game then got quite onesided,
and the Sixth got five tries in succession, chiefly by forward play, with one
noticeable exception, when Vecqueray made a good run and took the ball in
nearly behind the posts. Potts placed the first two, and Vecqueray, Hirst and
Johnson the others; all, however, were failures. So the game ended in a victory
for the Sixth, by five tries to ‘love.’’ Of the played named, all except for
Jessel and Potts were Old Rugbeans.

Japanese sources reveal that Yukichi HAYASHI was born in Awa
Kuni, the second son of INOUYE Tadanori, a clansman of the Tokushima han. Being
adopted by another family was quite a common practice in Japan at the time especially
when the other family was important but had no male heir.

In 1871 Jukichi ordered by his lord to go to Tokio to study
at Keio Gijuku school and then in 1873 he was one of seven boys selected by Lord
HACHISUKA Mochiaki to got to England to study. It is not clear where he studied
in England before moving to Rugby School.

At the end of the summer term in 1879 Jukichi moved to Kings
College and then spent a year studying in the Royal School of Mines two years
from 1881 although his name does not appear in the institution’s register.

After his return to Japan in 1883, Jukichi resumed his
original family name and first worked as an experiment assistant in the
Imperial University of Tokyo’s Science faculty. 
Then he began to teach English at a series of schools including the Tokyo
First Higher Middle School and Gakushuin. He changed jobs to become a
sub-editor for around a year at the ‘Japan Gazette’ in 1894. Then he joined the
Japanese Foreign Office in the same year as a translator. He rose to become
secretary of the Japanese Legation in Brussels in 1898 and in Washington in
1900.

INOUYE Jukichi published several illustrated books in
English including three on the Japan-China War in 1895 and two on life in Tokyo
like ‘Home Life in Tokyo’ (1910). He also translated several other books into
English. However, in Japan he is perhaps most famous for his books on how to
translate between Japanese and English, and his two pioneering dictionaries,
firstly the Inouye English-Japanese Dictionary (1915) and the Inouye
Japanese-English Dictionary (1921).

Note: INOUYE
Jukichi was not the first Japanese to play a form of rugby rules.  That honour goes to KIKUCHI Dairoku, despite
showing no interest in football, was mentioned in the magazine of University
College School in London as playing in the annual game between the school’s 3rd
Fifteen and ‘any fifteen chosen from the school’ on October 28th
1872 at Primrose Hill.  The game appears
to have been a good one and resulted in ‘4 goals, 4 touch-downs, and sundry
rouges to our 3rd, against 3 touch-downs to the School.’ Kikuchi was
one of four players in the School fifteen that ‘deserve mention’ and, because
the players on each team are not listed, that is how it is known that he
played.

* I have capitalized his family name and in Japanese
language the family name comes before the first and middle names.

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