Activity Report from SHIMADZU Breakers Rugby Team
Based on the wish to contribute to the well-being of mankind and the earth through sports, the SHIMADZU Breakers (hereinafter Breakers) rugby team is engaged in a variety of activities to promote sports and contribute to local communities. This digest will look at some of their recent activities.
Shimadzu Rugby Festival: Fostering the Next Generation
The 8th annual Shimadzu Rugby Festival was held on June 18. The objective of this event, which started in 2014, is to foster the next generation of athletes, and at the same time to share the results of daily training with the fans who consistently support the Breakers. Training matches are also held, with invitations to corporate rugby teams with whom they associate and to high school rugby teams. On the day of the festival, approximately 350 spectators visited the Shimadzu grounds.
Round robin matches were held with teams from three schools: Kyoto Kogakuin High School, Kyoto Prefectural Rakuhoku High School, and Kansai Ohkura High School (Osaka). Everyone at the grounds was excited by the enthusiastic matches. After that, the Breakers held a friendly match with the Ricoh Japan Rugby Football Team (hereinafter Ricoh Japan).
Friendly match with Ricoh Japan
The hands-on program “Rugby Park”, which was first tried at the Shimadzu Rugby Festival, was also implemented. Everyone from kids to adults had fun experiencing basic techniques and plays.
Trying out goal kicks and zig-zag running time trials
Rice Field Rugby in the Heart of Abundant Nature
On June 25, the Breakers attended and participated in the first Shimogamo Shrine Rice Field Rugby in Rakuhoku and Shizuhara, held at Shizuichi Shizuharacho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto. This event aims to deepen ties with the people of the region, and to contribute to regional promotion and the popularization of rugby through playing rugby in the heart of abundant nature.
This event consisted of a Shimogamo Shrine Cup determined by an enthusiastic 5-team round robin tournament, and a Shizuhara Shrine Cup in which 16 teams played rugby for fun in the mud. From the Breakers, one team played in the former, and the two teams played in the latter.
The Kubota Spears Funabashi Tokyo Bay (hereinafter the Spears), the winner of the 2022-2023 season of the top rugby league in Japan, the NTT Japan Rugby League One appeared at the Shimogamo Shrine Cup. In a 1 point upset, the Breakers won against the best team in Japan. There was a great cheer from the spectators, and they got very excited. In the end, the Breakers took the Shimogamo Shrine Cup to be the first champion with 3 wins and 1 draw.
Left: Following the match, the Spears (in the orange uniforms)
Right: The Breakers at the Shizuhara Shrine Cup, surrounded by children
Reflecting on the day, the Breakers General Manager Tomonori Yamaguchi said, "I was very impressed by the smiling faces of the children and everyone from the region, and I was pleased that they enjoyed themselves. All the team members participated, and we all had a meaningful time. We would like to continue such regionally rooted activities."
Cooperating in the Traffic Safety Activity “It’s Cool to Wear a Helmet”
A traffic safety awareness activity planned in collaboration with the Nakagyo Police Station and held in May of last year was held once again on June 28.
Following the non-binding obligation to wear a bicycle helmet introduced this April, they called on people within the Shimadzu grounds and at the intersection of Nishioji Street and Oike Street to achieve a 100 % helmet usage rate for Shimadzu cyclists and encourage a higher helmet usage ratio by citizens.
Distributing public awareness leaflets
Lecture to Junior High School Students in Nara Prefecture
On July 11, Masaya Nakagawa, a member of the Breakers, gave a lecture at Gose Junior High School (Nara), upon request from the school.
Nakagawa was tackled in a match during his time at university, which damaged his cervical spine, and needs to use a wheelchair to this day, but while working at Shimadzu, he participates enthusiastically in rehabilitation daily to return to rugby. In his talk on this occasion entitled “Masaya Nakagawa’s Approach to Life: The Strength to Overcome Difficulties,” he stressed the importance of having a dream, maintaining a fighting spirit, and never giving up.
Nakagawa talking about his own experiences
On September 23, the 2023 Top West A League, in which the Breakers play, was opened. The team has adopted "Attitude" as this year’s slogan, and stresses their fighting spirit. Our team, the SHIMADZU Breakers, will continue to work hard to achieve their goals at both work and rugby.