Sake PR through Sports Diplomacy

In addition to using the existing drink industry platform, Sake Samurai UK strives to introduce sake to new audiences through entertainment, sports and the arts.

Rugby is well known for originating in England and interestingly, this particular sport and sake have something in common. Both represent the art of diplomacy and bring the world closer through sports and culture.

Sake Samurai UK has actively supported various rugby-related events in past years and continue this tradition, introducing events held recently.

Oku Memorial Trophy Rugby Tournament (on the 12th of November 2022)

This tournament has been taking place since 2004. Ambassador Katsuhiko Oku tragically lost his life in Iraq in November 2003 whilst working for the UN post-war reconstruction programme there. He was a long-standing member of the Japan RFU committee and campaigned tirelessly for many years, promoting their ambition for Japan to host the Rugby World Cup, which was realised in 2019. The organiser, Mr Reg Clark, played rugby at Oxford with Ambassador Oku, and now attains position as CEO of Rhino, a British manufacturer of rugby equipment. Naturally, sake was offered at their networking event after the game.

This year, the tournament was held just before the Japan versus England match, and Yuichiro Fujii, who is director of the Japanese National Rugby Team was invited to the event. All participants appeared particularly excited for the upcoming game and enjoyed sake together, bringing the two countries closer.

The drinks reception organised by MPs of Rugby Union Football Club members (On the 11th of November 2022)

This is another event Sake Samurai UK has been supporting over the years. MPs of Rugby Union Football Club hold the event within a hall in the palace of Westminster. The arrangement is successful in building friendships amongst the UK/Japan officials and associated people.

After a three-year-cancellation of the event due to the pandemic, it finally took place and many MPs, London-Japanese RFC members and UK/Japan embassy staff were invited. The esteemed participants were all connected through Rugby, although may not have a large insight into Japan or its culture. This event proved a great opportunity to introduce sake to its high profile members and let the interest and cultural appreciation take root.

Networking event after the talking event on Rugby history between England and Japan (on the 7th of November 2022)

After Japan hosted the Rugby World Cup, Japanese Rugby has taken more of a spotlight internationally, garnering increased interest in Japanese rugby and its history. In this event at SOAS university, they focused on the history of rugby in Japan, at match preparation as well as rugby’s role in sports diplomacy. The director of the Japanese National Rugby Team, Yuichiro Fujii,  Reg Clark from Rhino Sport & Leisure, and Rugby writer Satoshi Takeharna were invited as panelists. They eloquently introduced rugby to a captive audience, including students studying at the site. The evening culminated in a sake reception, re-emphasising that, as well as rugby, sake is also inherent in the art of diplomacy.