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Rugby Test Match and Public Viewing 2018 in TOKYO/Japan vs. Georgia

Rugby Test Match and Public Viewing 2018 in TOKYO/Japan vs. Georgia

June 23rd, just outside of the Keio Line Chofu Station exit at the Chofu Station Plaza near the Chofu Aeon Cinema Theaters, the Public Viewing for the Test Match of Japan vs. Georgia for the Lipovitan D Challenge Cup was held! One the 9th and 16th of the same month, Japan played against the Italian team twice with a 1-1 result. The match against Georgia would be the deciding match in order to go to the RWC 2019.

At the event space near Chofu Station, there was a stage and dining area called ‘event corner’ as well as the ‘Rugby Experience’ corner. The event went underway at noon and many people were gathered around and excited.

At the Rugby Experience corner, visitors would be taught how to pass the rugby ball. Many children were seen playing with a rugby ball for the first time, it’s pretty tricky to catch since it’s not a normal round ball! The Lift Up area was very popular as well, adults were there to lift up people and help them experience what it’s like to be a real rugby player!

Little girl touches a rugby ball

Little girl touches a rugby ball for the first time!

Also in the Rugby Exerpeicene corner, there was the ‘Rugby in the City’ area. In this space, many people were seen playing a 3 on 3 match on a 12m x 10m field. The rules of ‘Rugby in the City’ allow no tackling, so this is touch rugby. This way, kids and beginners alike could all enjoy a shot at playing! During the event, Yuya Saito, a former Japan Representative Rugby Player, surprised everyone by showing up and giving advice while cheering everyone on.

Children and beginners alike could enjoy

Children and beginners alike could enjoy「Rugby in the City」

Former Japan player Yuya Saito

Former Japan player Yuya Saito shows up to help out and coach!

Guests take the stage to prepare for the Public Viewing event. Yuya Saito, Actress Umika Kawashima and comedy duo Identity, were greeted by a big round of applause as they got on stage. Yuya Saito explained about the strength of Japan’s opponent, Georgia, and the other guests expressed their excitement for the upcoming match.

Guests on stage for the Match Guide Talk Show.

Guests on stage for the Match Guide Talk Show.From left to right、Yuya Saito、Umika Kawashima、Identity (comedy duo)

Yuya Saito talking about previous match

Yuya Saito talking about Georgia’s previous match

she talking about her anticipations for the upcoming match

Umika Kawashima talking about her anticipations for the upcoming match

With an impressive imitation of Anime, Identity has everyone laughing

With an impressive imitation of popular Anime, Identity has everyone laughing

Before the talk show, Ink illustrator Hidekichi Shigemoto started off the show with an impressive live ink painting portraying the certain victory of Japan. Hidekichi Shigemoto had the audience wrapped around his finger with his powerful brush strokes on Japanese paper, everyone on the edge of their seats waiting to see the finished product. Slowly, the form of a Japanese player withstanding a tackle from the opponent was apparent and the crowd raised their voices in awe.

japanese famous Ink Illustrator Hidekichi Shigemoto

Ink Illustrator Hidekichi Shigemoto

brush strokes of Hidekichi Shigemoto

The powerful brush strokes of Hidekichi Shigemoto

Guests standing before the finished ink illustration

Guests standing before ink illustration

The event area was packed not just for the events on stage, but for the PR booth area and the Rugby Champion food and drink corner!

Cheerleading by dancers

Cheerleading by local dancers

Food corner is also fulfilling

Food Corner

Near the Aeon Cinema Theaters at Chofu station before the public viewing event, there was a wonderful Taiko performance. With a powerful and moving Taiko performance that reverberated around the entire event area, anticipations were high for the upcoming match. Guests and everyone alike headed to the public viewing seats to watch the match.

Taiko performance to support the Japan athletes

Taiko performance to support for the Japan athletes

Public Viewing event

Guests on stage for the Public Viewing event

Kick off was at 14:45。The quality of the sound was something you could only find in a movie theater. Everyone could comfortably watch the events unfold in the match before them. The audience watched every move of the players and cheered with their whole hearts. The first half of the match finished with Japan in the lead. Yuya Saito gave a brief overview of what happened in the first half.

A hall full of people in public viewing

Packed venue for the Public Viewing!

Yuya Saito commenting on the game

Yuya Saito giving commentary on the match

A hall that scores and swells

Shouts of joy as Japan scores

The 2nd half starts and the crowd goes wild as Japan scores a try. Celebrations range from fist pumps to waving flags, but everyone is excited! Umika Kawashima and Identity pump up the fans by raising their own voices as well. The match finishes 28-0, Japan wins in a shutout! Fans send off the players with a big round of applause。After the match, Yuya Saito explains the importance of Japan being able to hold a great team like Georgia to 0 points.

A place that gets excited with the scores of the Japanese team

Everyone going wild as Japan scores a try

Guests who are still excited after the game

Still excited about the match, the guests continue their talk show

As the event ends, guests Umika Kawashima, Yuya Saito give their closing comments.

●Umika Kawashima
Even though this was my first time watching a whole rugby match, it was very exciting. More importantly, I’m so happy that Japan was able to win today. When Japan scored their first try, I was so excited I thought I could fly!。At this public viewing event, I felt like i was really in a stadium. I could even say things like ‘oh!’ without feeling embarrassed. Being able to watch this match with everyone was just the first step to me becoming a fan. Next time I want to watch a live match!

●Yuya Saito
Today was my first time watching a match from inside a movie theater. The screen quality was excellent and I felt that we were all cheering for Japan as one. Maybe it was because of many new rugby fans here today, it would be great if we can all keep watching rugby in the future and work together to support Japan. Moving toward the RWC2019, we need a more uniform way to cheer as a group. Just like today, let’s keep enjoying rugby and make rugby more popular throughout Japan!

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