Rugby Tournament Held in Memory of Japanese Diplomat Katsuhiko Oku in London

Photo by Kazuhiko Makita / The Yomiuri Shimbun
Participants of the Oku Memorial Trophy Rugby Tournament pose for a group photo in London on Saturday with Japanese Ambassador Hajime Hayashi, center left, and Reg Clark, center right.

LONDON — An amateur rugby tournament was held in London on Saturday in memory of Katsuhiko Oku, a Japanese diplomat who was shot to death in Iraq in November 2003.

Japanese people living in London, local university rugby team members and others participated in the Oku Memorial Trophy Rugby Tournament to deepen friendships through rugby.

Oku, who was 45 at the time of his death, was a keen rugby player. The tournament has been held since 2005. Among its organizers is former British rugby player Reg Clark, 65, a good friend of Oku.

Oku was formerly a member of London Japanese RFC, a London-based amateur rugby team with both Japanese and British members.

“It is important for us to learn the history of the team to properly thank our seniors and the former members,” said Hideki Itabashi, 25, the captain of the team. “We made some special memories because this year is the 20th anniversary of Ambassador Oku’s death.”