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Dr Kametaka at work in his laboratory

Dr Sokichi Kametaka, former President of Kobe Steel the Japanese multinational, and a strong supporter of OURFC has sadly passed away in Tokyo aged 86 on October 1st.  In the process of building up a company rugby side which won the Japanese Championship for 7 consecutive years in the late 80’s and early 90’s,  Dr Kametaka  recruited a series of Oxford rugby Blues including Phil Woodhead (1976),  Reg Clark (1978, 79),  Simon Wensley (1988),  Ian Williams (1988), and OURFC captains Mark Egan (1988,89,90) and David Henderson (1991,92).  Williams was additionally the recipient  of a Kobe Steel scholarship to St Catherine’s College (of which Kametaka became an Honorary Fellow) alongside fellow Wallaby Bill Campbell (1987). Egan’s winning side included moreover the Kobe Steel player Toshiyuki ‘Maru’ Hayashi , who thus became the first Japanese national to win a Blue.  All of this was driven to a large extent by Dr Kametaka’s close friendship with OURFC President and St Catherine’s Fellow, Dr Alan Taylor, who were introduced to each other shortly after the OURFC tour of Japan in 1983 by Reg Clark,  who acted as player/manager of the tour having completed 3 years with the company and its rugby team. Kobe Steel went on to sponsor the Stanley’s Match for several years and were a generous donor at the establishment of the Stanley’s Scholarship Trust.  A man of extraordinary energy and vision, Kametaka additionally oversaw the creation of the first overseas institute connected to an Oxford College, the St Catherine’s College Kobe Institute, and remarkably following his retirement attained a doctorate in pharmacology in 2008 at the age of 82.  OURFC sends its condolences to his family and friends in Japan and all over the world. A memorial photograph of Dr Kametaka will be unveiled in the Iffley Road Pavilion after the Oku Memorial Trophy games on Saturday 8th December.


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