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 one-sided, and the Sixth got five tries in succession, chiefly by forward play, with on 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 t 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 asub-editor for around a year at the ‘Japan Gazette’ in 1894. Then he joined theJapanese 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).

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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