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This special exhibition, produced in partnership with England Rugby Travel and Kanto District Transport Bureau, charts the evolution of rugby alongside the development of modern Japan.

Explore the full history of the birth and evolution of rugby union in Japan, from 1866 when Yokohama became the site of the oldest rugby club in Asia, to being awarded Rugby World Cup 2019. How ‘the father of Japanese rugby’, Ginosuke Tanaka, brought the sport to Keio University and how a series of sporting pioneers, including members of the Japanese Royal Family, allowed the sport to flourish. It will examine how Japanese corporations have nurtured the game at a domestic level allowing Japanese rugby to make significant impacts at international level, and culminating in the famous victory the Brave Blossoms achieved over the Springboks at Rugby World Cup 2015 and the awarding of Rugby World Cup 2019 to Japan.

Key elements include -

• The first artistic depiction of rugby being played in Japan in 1874
• A 1904 jersey from Keio University, the oldest rugby jersey in Japan
• Archival material relating to Prince Chichibu
• The story of the blossom as related by Demi Sakata
• Exclusive interviews with Eddie Jones about Rugby World Cup 2015, where he coached the Japanese team to their famous victory over the Springboks. He comments “Having a successful world cup and a successful national team gives kids a dream. They can play international sport at the highest level and it doesn’t matter what size you are. That’s really important for the future of Japanese Rugby.”

The exhibition opens on 17th November 2018, when England will take on Japan for the first time in a fully representative international test-match at Twickenham, and will run until 31st August 2019.


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