The Tokyo Gaijin RFC was the brainstorm of Andrew Lunt. He first thought of putting a team together after playing a couple of games for a Japanese side, and not agreeing with the way they played the game, decided to put together the Tokyo Gaijin RFC, although he didn’t know the name until a fter the first meeting. The first meeting was held in August 1991 at Shin Hi No Moto (which would become the club house/team restaurant and pick up place in future years).
The first meeting was attended by Andrew Lunt, James Phillips, Sean Brophy, Richard Ratcliffe, Paul Clifford, Christian Howles, Barry Legg, Katsuhiko Terada, Chris from NZ, Simon Advice, and a couple of others whom we can’t remember at this time. The most talked about topic at the meeting was the name of the team, what should we call ourselves?
After great discussion it was decided that we needed something that would standout, just like ourselves, something that would make people notice the new team on the block. It was finally suggested that the team be called the Tokyo Gaijin because of the amount of non Japanese that were in the team . This name wasn’t to every ones liking, mainly because it stated the obvious, so Barry Legg who didn’t like it suggested in jest that we call ourselves the Tokyo Keto with the word keto in Chinese characters on the shirt . For all those who don’t know the meaning of keto, it means ‘Hairy pillaging barbarian’ or something along those lines.
Barry subsequently lost the vote and we decided to go with Tokyo Gaijin, and just for good measure the person who made the rugby shirts put keto on anyway, to the annoyance of The Tokyo Rugby Union who in the end banned it from the shirt.
There were a number of other issues that were decided at the meeting like, ‘Do we get free beer for playing?,’ ‘How do we get grounds?,’ Are there beer vending machines at the grounds?,’ How do we get in contact with other teams?,’ Do they supply beer and will they get angry if we try and pick up their girlfriends?,’ etc. With the answers being NO, TELEPHONE, MAYBE, TELEPHONE, NO and YES. Andy was subsequently named President, Captain and financial backer of the team. As everyone else was quite on their way to oblivion nothing else was decided.
The first game was played against YCAC in Yokohama (a mostly non-Japanese club) in October or November 1991, which we lost 24 – 10. The first try scorer for the Gaijin was Barry Legg and our fearless leader missed both kicks. The Tokyo Gaijin were a very sociable side for the first couple of years with most of our members arriving to the ground 5-10 minutes before Kickoff, after being rounded up by Andy from the local night club area and been driven to the ground in the famous Fish Van. The van was a work van that Andy took to the local fish market to buy the catch of the day for his restaurant, so it stank quite badly.
The Gaijin first overseas trip was to Hong Kong in October 1992 to play a 15s match against the Hong Kong football clubs sequins side. The Gaijin put on quite a show both on and off the field and were asked if they would be interested in putting a side in the Hong Kong 10s in March 1994. This we accepted if for no other reason that at that time in Hong Kong the food and beer was so cheap.
Early in 1993 something happened that would change the Gaijin for ever . The Gaijin were suddenly inundated with Australians, 3 to be exact, Jamie Myers, Kaz Naito and Garna Dowling, two young guys and one not so young guy, and Jamie took over the captaincy soon after arriving (Andy practically threw it at him) and decided to take the Gaijin to another level (up from crap drunks to just plain ordinary drunks). He was ably assisted by Kaz Naito (one of the other young guys ) together they started a recruitment drive and by March 1994 had what most of us thought was a side that might do all right on the paddock and do great off of it. Actually we did well both on and off the paddock and we (all except Jamie and Kaz) were very surprised when we actually won the Bowl. That was the start of the serious Gaijin. Serious on the paddock and serious drinkers off the paddock.
Since then the Tokyo Gaijin have been to the Hong Kong 10s five times and have done quite well every year. (Please go to the Tokyo Gaijin records page for further information on this). We have also been to the Beijing 10s twice and we are planing to go to America and play in a tournament over there in the near future. The Tokyo Gaijin are a club side and have changed quite a lot over the years, although we do take our rugby a little more serious than we did when we first started we still try to enjoy ourselves as much as possible both off and on the paddock.
If you are interested in Joining the Tokyo Gaijin, whether it is to play with us in Tokyo or even if it is just to join us on one of our tours please contact us and we will be more than willing to assist. Also if you are interested in Sponsoring us for any reason please contact us immediately and we can discuss what you have in mind and what we have to offer in return. And to end with the Tokyo Gaijin war cry. GO YOU GOOD THING!