ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailPositive ArrowIcon Print
Tea Leaves

Lessons in identity and sport from Planet Rugby

Japan's Brave Blossoms show they have skin in the game

Japan's Rugby World Cup squad has players from various backgrounds. (Photo by Toshiki Sasazu)

Japan's squad for the 2019 Rugby World Cup now underway contains a remarkably diverse cast of characters. Kotaro Matsushima, who scored a crucial try against Scotland, was born in South Africa to a Zimbabwean father and a Japanese mother. Luke Thompson, the huge second rower who, at 38, is the oldest player in the tournament, hails from New Zealand. Isileli Nakajima, the Tonga-born prop, has added to his already considerable presence by dyeing his hair and beard blonde.

Altogether, half the team's players are foreign born. The contrast couldn't be greater with Japan's national soccer team, which is made up of Japanese born citizens who look typically Japanese.

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

Discover the all new Nikkei Asia app

  • Take your reading anywhere with offline reading functions
  • Never miss a story with breaking news alerts
  • Customize your reading experience

Nikkei Asian Review, now known as Nikkei Asia, will be the voice of the Asian Century.

Celebrate our next chapter
Free access for everyone - Sep. 30

Find out more