Project Reports

Katsuhiko Oku – a role model to be remembered

One of the biggest reasons for Waseda University to participate in the previous World University Rugby Cup was because a bond we have over the late Katsuhiko Oku, who was lost to us during his time as an ambassador in Iraq in 2003. To those that knew him he was fondly called Katsu. 

After graduating from Waseda University, and shortly after joining the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he got the chance to study at Oxford University, and not long after that he joined the Oxford University Rugby Club. With this he became the first ever Japanese representative on the team, and after graduating, he followed through with helping to strengthen the bond between the UK and Japan (especially Waseda University).

With his spirit being unforgettable to those that met and interacted with him, even 15 years after his passing,around the date of said passing, the Oku Memorial Cup is held. This has been so each year without fail.

While alive, one of the things that he would always say to his juniors was [Don’t do just what is expected! Do what others can’t do, with all your strength!].

Katsu retired from the Waseda Rugby Club during his second year. His reasoning was that in order to become a diplomat, it was necessary for him to put all his energy in studying. However, he was always sad that this had to be, and wished to carry on doing the sport he loved. Now, the real reason behind him quitting hasn’t been fully known. But what is known is that, even after quitting Waseda Rugby Club, he followed up with trying to pair being a diplomat and using rugby to help with this. With everything that happened after, and his actions, when looking back, right up to his death, many feel that he embodied the aims and goals of Noblesse Oblige.

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