2023 New Year’s Greetings

Dear Rugby Family,

On behalf of all of us at the Japan Rugby Football Union, I would like to wish you a very Happy New Year for 2023!

This year not only sees France host the 10th addition of Rugby World Cup, but it also marks 200 years since the birth of our sport, when during a game of football at Rugby School in England, a young schoolboy, William Webb Ellis, disregarded the rules by picking up the ball and running with it. This simple act of schoolyard mischief has grown into the global game of rugby – a sport played around the world and enjoyed by fans everywhere.

Every four years at the Rugby World Cup, the world’s best teams compete for the honour of lifting the Webb Ellis Cup and being crowed world champions. At our home World Cup in 2019, Japan reached the last eight for the first time ever. We now look forward to the tournament in France, with the ambition to improve upon this result and sincerely hope that you will follow our journey and give us your enthusiastic support.

Japanese rugby is undergoing a period of change and evolution as we look to achieve more rapid growth in our sport. Japan Rugby League One, now in its second season, continues to bring together world class players and coaches as it improves the level of competition in its quest to become the world’s premier league.

At the end of 2022 we established Japan Rugby Marketing Ltd, a new company responsible for fan engagement across Japanese rugby. The new organisation will accelerate the marketing and promotion of Japan’s national rugby team assets and Japan Rugby League One, further enhancing the appeal of Japanese rugby to reach a wider audience.

The JRFU will continue to work together with all our stakeholders – players, teams, officials, sponsors, and fans to ensure that rugby in Japan is accessible to all players and fans. We will continuously strive towards our goal of making Japan the most enjoyable and accessible country in the world to experience the wonderful sport of rugby.

We wish you all a wonderful new year!

Masato Tsuchida

President of the Japan Rugby Football Union