Oxford University RFC's historic Iffley Road ground once again played host to the Oku Memorial Trophy Rugby Tournament for its landmark 10th year. The tournament is played in memory of former Director of the Japan Information and Cultural Centre (JICC) at the Embassy of Japan in the UK, Ambassador Katsuhiko Oku*.
Known to his friends simply as ‘Katsu’, was the first Japanese national ever to play for the Blues XV at Oxford and become a member of the University’s prestigious sportsman’s club, Vincent’s, in the early 1980s whilst attending Hertford College.
He was a long standing member of the Japan RFU committee and campaigned tirelessly for many years for their ambitions to host a Rugby World Cup. Tragically he lost his life in Iraq in November 2003 whilst working for the UN post-war reconstruction programme in that country.
Former Prime Minister of Japan and President of the Japan Rugby Football Union, Mr Yoshiro Mori, referred to Ambassador Oku's contribution in a special message to mark the event -