On 17th May (Friday), the event titled “Japan & Kingdom of Tonga~ bond connected by rugby and fascinating country; Kingdom of Tonga” was held at the Global Hall of Meiji University. This event was planned to deliver a message about favorable relations between Japan and Tonga through rugby as well as Tonga’s attractiveness, by focusing on Kingdom of Tonga which is one of the participating nations from Pacific Island Countries to the 2019 Rugby World Cup. Japan is going to host the quadrennial Rugby World Cup for the first time. Two famous Tongan rugby players, Mr. Toetsu Taufa, former member of Cherry Blossoms (National Team of Japan) and Mr. Holani Ryu Koliniasi, incumbent coach for Panasonic Wild Knights mounted the podium and talked about motivation for coming all the way to Japan and passion for this year’s Rugby World Cup, while introducing Tongan culture. Mr. Matsui, who had lived in Tonga as one of the senior volunteers of JICA, greeted in Tongan language and joined these two Tongan athletes to converse each other.
Her Excellency Lady Tania Laumanulupe ‘o Talafolika FUSITU’A, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Kingdom of Tonga in Japan, delivered an impressive opening speech pointing out the cultural similarities of Japan and Tonga that can be the reason why Tongan people are tend to be active in Japan.
There were more than 110 participants including Meiji University Rugby Team members, this year’s winner of all Japan University Rugby Championships, who enjoyed talking with Mr. Taufa and Mr. Koliniasi.