Takayasu Tsuji, who is about to Debut for the National Rugby Team, Revealed to have a “Remarkable Family”
Isao Matsuoka, former president of Toho and a Davis Cup representative, is the grandson of Itsuo Kobayashi, founder of the Hankyu Toho Group. Isao’s father, Tatsuro Matsuoka (former Toho president), who was a great-grandfather to Tsuji, is the brother of Haruko (Isao’s aunt), a major shareholder of Kotobuki Real Estate, the parent company of Suntory at the time, who married Yoshitaro, the eldest son of Shinjiro Torii, founder of Suntory. Nobutada Saji, the current chairman of Suntory Holdings, is the grandson of Shinjiro Torii.
Isao’s wife, Tsuji’s grandmother, was Shizuka Senba, a former Takarazienne, and his grandmother’s two sisters and their daughter were also Takaraziennes. The children found out later that their grandfather Isao, a tennis player, had played tennis after he joined Toho and devoted himself to business, but first Toshiko, Tsuji’s mother, took up tennis, followed by Hiroyasu and Shuzo.
Incidentally, the daughter of the uncle of Takanori Iwata, “Gun-chan” of the J Soul Brothers III, is Chairman Saji’s wife, Eiko. Although Gun-chan is not related to the Matsuoka family by blood, he is a distant relative.
Tsuji had a hard time competing in games during his first year in the workforce due to shoulder surgery. In his second and third years with Tokyo Sangoliath, Tsuji showed his presence as a silver medalist, and this summer he was selected for the Japan national team for the first time.
Although Tsuji is a member of a “splendid family,” he says he is not particularly conscious of this fact when playing rugby, and his play is earnest and muddy, as if he is from Keio, where low tackles are traditional. He does not want to be like his uncle, who is known as a hot guy, but he often listens to his uncle Shuzo’s advice as an athlete.
The family motto of the Matsuoka family, “Never Give Up,” is a phrase that Isao Matsuoka, Tsuji’s grandfather on her mother’s side, has always said, and his uncle, Shuzo, has often spoken these words. This is the very spirit of challenge that his grandfather and uncles, whom Tsuji says he admires, have each pioneered in their own new ways. Naturally, Tsuji, who is descended from the Matsuoka family, also values this motto in his rugby career.
After being promoted to the Japan national team, Tsuji would like to make his debut for Japan wearing the cherry blossom jersey against Uruguay and France. Then, with the spirit of “Never Give Up,” he will continue to make his appeal and aim to participate in the 2023 World Cup as a Japanese lock.