OURFC joins Vincent’s Club in sending our very best wishes to Crown Prince Naruhito, who studied at Merton from 1983 to 1985, on his accession today to the Chrysanthemum Throne as Emperor of Japan.
The Prince was a keen tennis player in his Oxford days and later became President of the University Judo Club. In 1984 he became the second ever Japanese national to become a member of Vincent’s following our own Katsuhiko Oku who was elected to the Club in 1982 and was also the first Japanese player to represent the Blues XV.
OURFC’s very strong connections with Japan are well known, starting with a ground-breaking tour in 1952, the first in the post-war era by any foreign sports team, and continuing to this day with our forthcoming trip to the World University Invitation Tournament in September during the Rugby World Cup. OURFC are proud of initiating this tournament in 2015 in Oxford, and as on that occasion the opening game will be between Waseda University (the hosts this year and the alma mater of Ambassador Oku) and the Men’s Blues – played for the Oku Memorial Trophy, donated by former Primer Minister and JRFU Hon President Mr Mori, who was hugely instrumental in bringing the RWC to Japan.
Katsu Oku was a much-loved figure at OURFC and became an influential and popular administrator in world rugby. He was tragically killed whilst on diplomatic duty in Iraq in 2003 and since then OURFC has been heavily involved in the Oku Memorial Trophy series of games which have been played over the years in Oxford, London and Tokyo.