Remembering Ambassador Katsuhiko Oku



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After a Covid-induced gap of 18 months, London Japanese RFC recently took the earliest opportunity to stage a touch rugby tournament for the Oku Memorial Trophy at the Richmond Athletic Ground on Saturday 17th April.

The event commemorates the life of Ambassador Katsuhiko Oku, a much-loved Japanese rugby player and administrator who lost his life while on diplomatic duty with the UN post-war reconstruction programme in Iraq in 2003. Oku, who was the first Japanese national to play for the OURFC Blues XV at Oxford, was widely credited during the 2019 Rugby World Cup for initiating the process by which the tournament was awarded to Japan.

London Japanese were joined by Hertford College Oxford, Oku’s alma mater, an OURFC alumni team, Kew Occasionals and the Commons & Lords rugby clubs in a much enjoyed social tournament in the sunshine.

Newly arrived Japanese Ambassador Hajime Hayashi was there to enjoy the tournament and warmly thanked those taking part. Richmond Rugby Chairman Nick Preston in thanking the Ambassador for Japan’s magnificent hosting of the World Cup also spoke of the club’s longstanding and growing relationship with Japan.

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