News On Japan

How Rugby became one of Japan's most popular sports

May 27 ( - Rugby is a well-known sport all around the world, and some countries such as Australia, New Zealand, and England all know too well that it is a very physical, fast-paced and exciting sport.

Japan is also one of those countries, housing close to 4,000 teams with over 120,000 professional players – which would suggest that Japan has an unshakeable love for rugby. But do you know how rugby became one of the most played, and watched, sports in Japan?

Live Entertainment Across the Country

The Japanese population consume entertainment like no other nation; whether it's live action films or live action sports, there’s always an appetite for engagement.

As for rugby, a lot of the action was initially limited to live viewing in a stadium, but now rugby is often displayed on screens in big cities and readily available on the TV for anyone who wishes to view it from home. With this being said, if someone finds rugby entertaining and exciting to watch, it will only spur the popularity of the sport even more so than it already is.

The Japanese love their Rugby

Rugby took it’s time to obtain a foothold in the country however slowly but surely teams, coaches and more skilled players started to develop and the sport became competitive very quickly. As we’ll address shortly, rugby became a popular trend which helped to drive rugby’s success through the roof with all Japanese citizens.

Rugby remains in the top three competitive sports in Japan, with over 120,000 players playing rugby professionally which is far more than any other country in Asia relative to its population.

A Large Investment into the Sport

Japanese rugby teams have invested heavily into signing the best players from across the globe with more than 3,500 teams professionally playing rugby in Japan with 120,000 players from both inside Japan, and the wider, global population.

This investment does not come cheaply, and they are relying on rugby remaining one of the most well-loved sports in the country in order to keep putting money into grass roots development. Despite its popularity rising apparently overnight there has been a long tradition of developing local rugby in communities across Japan which has built the traditions and popularity over a number of years.

With Japan looking to open it’s doors to sports betting in the near future, Japanese citizens will possibly be able to place bets on rugby matches on sites like Vera & John in the near future presenting yet another new revenue stream for the sport.

A Long-Lasting Trend

Rugby has become much more than a flash in the pan. In fact, confidence and ability has grown hand in hand meaning Japan now compete admirably on the world stage with the national team able to defeat giants of the game in major tournaments like the Rugby World Cup. These achievements could only be dreamt of a mere 20 years ago.

On a local level, the professional Japanese leagues regularly bring in multi-national players from England, the US, New Zealand and Australia due to the significant funding - which drives fanbase growth and interest in the sport further..

The investment that rugby teams in Japan are making signify that it’s more than just a trend and is well on its way to becoming even more popular.

The Japanese International Rugby Team

There is no better feeling than being able to represent your home country whilst playing the sport you love. Many players would aim to achieve such heights and play internationally for Japan, and this spurred a lot of hope in people. The Japanese always come together to support their international teams as a sign of respect to each other, and the international rugby team is nothing short of that.

Many people turn out from Japan either online, in person, or over the TV to watch the Japanese international team so they can feel accomplished to watch their own people play high levels of rugby.

Japan’s love and devotion to rugby has put the country on the world stage. Their passion and appetite for entertainment turned to rugby putting it on a path that not many could have foreseen. We’re excited to keep a keen eye on the further development of rugby in Japan over the next few years.


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