rince Eugene Enrolls in Tsukuba University and Gakushuin Alumni Has Something to Say About It! | FRIDAY DIGITAL

rince Eugene Enrolls in Tsukuba University and Gakushuin Alumni Has Something to Say About It!

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Prince Eugene commuting to high school up “Annex Yokozaka” (Photo by Shinji Hasuo)

On June 4, Tsukuba University High School, where Prince Eugene, the eldest son of the Akishino family, is enrolled, will host a big event: a regular match against Gakushuin High School, which started in 1896 and is said to be the oldest rivalry match in Japan.

The Waseda-Keio match has had a long history starting in 1903, and the boat competition between Tsukuba University and Kaisei High School began in 1920. 


Since 1951, the two schools’ athletic teams have competed in honor of their alma maters for supremacy in track and field, kendo, soccer, basketball, equestrian sports, and other sports.

To prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, the games will be held at three different venues, as was the case last year, but this year’s games are said to be even more exciting than usual. It caused a stir when Prince Eugene decided to attend Tsukuba instead of Gakushuin, where many members of the Imperial Family attended.

 “To put it bluntly, I have the feeling that I was taken very lightly.”

 uttered by the Gakushuin alumnus.

 “I have a feeling that, of all places, a rival school would take us in. So, there must be many people who are fired up for this year’s Futsubu match. I feel the same way. My wife laughed at me and told me it was immature. But love for one’s alma mater is a special feeling that can only be understood by those who attended the same school.”

Another alumnus continued.

 “To be honest, I had forgotten about the Annex match. It has been more than 20 years since I graduated. But when I heard the news that His Highness Eugene had entered the attached school, I was excited. I received e-mails from classmates with whom I had lost touch, and we talked about whether we should all go to cheer him on, but we were all disappointed to hear that parents, alumni, and alumnae would not be able to watch the games because of the coronavirus.”

In 2019, before the spread of the new coronavirus, the game was held every other year, home and away, between Otsuka, where Tsukuba University High School is located, and Mejiro, where Gakushuin is located. Attended by all students, even those who are not in the athletic clubs, to support the game. Some athletic clubs even make this a retirement game, a special event for students who belong to their sports clubs.

Recently, the phenomenon of parents of students and alumni/alumnae visiting the event to cheer for the students has resurfaced, adding to the excitement of the event.

Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress watching the 60th anniversary of the All-Waseda vs. All-Gakushuin Equestrian Regular Tournament in September 2013 (at the time; photo: Sankei Shimbun).
Her Majesty the Empress (at the time) took the Emperor’s suit as she watched the regular equestrian competition held at Gakushuin University in Toshima Ward, Tokyo. His Majesty the Emperor, who was the head of the equestrian club at Gakushuin High School, used to visit the regular games when time permitted (Photo: Sankei Shimbun)As the regular season approached, Gakushuin alumni were particularly interested in whether His Imperial Highness Prince Eugene would attend the regular season games and what clubs he had joined. When Prince Eugene was a student at Ochanomizu University Junior High School, he was a member of the table tennis club for three years and participated in the Bunkyo Ward tournament. If he continues to play table tennis at Tsukuba University High School, the venue for his first In-house Tournament this year is scheduled to be the campus of Gakushuin University.Since entering the kindergarten attached to Ochanomizu University in April 2010, Princess Eugene has been in a school both near and far from Gakushuin. The Emperor’s eldest daughter, Princess Aiko, has consistently attended Gakushuin from kindergarten onward and is currently enrolled at the university. The Akishino family has taken a completely different path, starting from kindergarten with their eldest son, who is second in the line of succession to the throne.

Both the couple are graduates, and Princess Noriko’s father was a professor at the university. Looking only at Prince Eugene’s career path, it would appear that he has consciously avoided Gakushuin, and this is probably not interesting to Gakushuin alumni.

We asked the University of Tsukuba on the clubs Prince Eugene joined. However, they replied, “We cannot answer questions about individual students. There is no deadline for joining the club, but new students join the club almost by the end of April and are very active. To prevent the spread of the new coronavirus infection, we plan to limit the number of students who participate in the tournament to a limited number of players, etc.” But according to parents of students attending the high school, “It seems that he has joined the badminton club.”

In this regular tournament, badminton will be held only for girls. Gakushuin does not have a boys’ club, and if the above stories are true, it is unlikely that Eugene will set foot in Gakushuin’s school building for this “Insei Game,” but if the new Corona is contained in the future and the regular games return to the way they were before 2019, he may visit Gakushuin while still a high school student.

Sportswriter Toshiki Tsuda, an alumnus of Gakushuin Junior and Senior High Schools and the University of Tokyo, reveals, “Many Gakushuin alumni feel the same way.”

 Toshiki Tsuda, a sports writer, and alumnus of Gakushuin Junior High School, Senior High School, and the University of Tokyo, revealed, “I believe that many Gakushuin alumni are hoping that His Highness Prince Eugene will visit the Gakushuin campus just as his parents and other members of the Imperial Family have done in the past.

 Tsukuba University High School, where His Highness Eugene entered, is a wonderful school, but Gakushuin High School has also become an advanced school in recent years, with nearly half of the students who graduate from high school taking entrance exams to Tokyo University or Waseda Keio University. I believe that the rivalry between Gakushuin and the other schools contributes to the current buzz about the school.

His Imperial Highness Prince Eugene will be able to make friends with his parents and Gakushuin students who are his sisters’ juniors during the three years of competition at the two schools.

The rivalry between Tsukuba University and Gakushuin is not only Japan’s oldest comprehensive regular competition between current students but has also become part of history.

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