At 62 years and 1 month, he broke the record for the oldest player ever! Rugby’s Ironman Toshiro Yoshino: “Physical beauty of morning weights 6 times a week”.
Yosan, get it!
Young men as old as his son or even grandson call out to the veteran. Yosan” receives a pass and runs across the field, stepping on the ground. He is Toshiro Yoshino, a 62-year-old active rugger who belongs to the Waseda Club of the Top East League. When asked why he continues to play rugby even after his 60th birthday, Yoshino replied with a smile, “For me, rugby is a hobby.
For me, rugby is a hobby. Hobbies can be continued forever. If you like fishing, would you stop just because you turned 60?
Yoshino started playing rugby when he was a student at Hitachi Daiichi High School, a preparatory school in Ibaraki Prefecture.
While I was studying for the entrance examination, I decided to watch TV for 30 minutes a day. It happened to be a live broadcast of the Waseda-Mei rugby match. I was hooked, and although I was a member of the baseball team in junior high school, I started playing rugby in high school.
Yoshino went on to Waseda University, where he played in the Waseda-Mei games as a fast-footed center, a position he had longed to play. Together with his classmates Kazuhiko Honjo and Makoto Tsubukuma, he was known as the “Waseda Three Crows. After graduating from Waseda University, he joined Suntory.
He said, “There were many meetings that involved drinking, and it was difficult to balance work and rugby. After business hours, I had meetings with people at restaurants until 1:00 a.m., and then drove to a hotel near the venue of the game. Sometimes I would take a short nap and then play. My legs almost cramped up.
In 1996, he scored three tries in the final of the National Working Men’s Tournament, leading Suntory to its first victory. In 1998, he left the rugby club when he was transferred to Osaka. Since he was already 38 years old, he is likely to retire from active service. ……
He was already 38 years old and was about to retire from the game, but he said, “(Waseda University junior and Suntory colleague) Kiyomiya (Katsuyuki) said, ‘Yosan, I still play rugby. Yosan, you’re still going to play rugby, aren’t you? After playing for about four and a half years, I was transferred back to Tokyo and joined the Waseda Club, where I am now.
Last October, Yoshino played in an official match against an IBM Japan club, and at 62 years and one month old, he broke the record for the oldest player to play a game in the Top East. What is the secret behind his 46 years of playing since his high school days?
I think it is not getting depressed when I make a mistake. If you are depressed on the field, you can’t play the game. Three seconds of reflection, and the rest is positive.
Yoshino has been training with weights for an hour six times a week from 7:00 a.m. since he was a youngster.
It’s like brushing my teeth every morning, and I feel bad if I skip it. When I was younger, I focused on areas I wanted to strengthen, such as the pectoral muscles and broad back muscles. Now I try to train the entire body, considering the balance of the body. Thanks to that, my 176 cm, 68 kg body shape hasn’t changed since high school.”
At 62 years old, Yoshino has a goal in mind.
Tomorrow, I want to be as good as possible,” he said. The style of rugby today is completely different from the old days. I have a lot to learn from the younger players.
Yosan, the iron man of the rugby world, is entering his 47th season with the youngsters.
From “FRIDAY” February 24, 2023 issue
PHOTO： Hiroyuki Komatsu, courtesy of Mr. Yoshino