ITOCHU Announces Joint Participation with Isetan Mitsukoshi on Machida City Government’s Contribution to Local Revitalization and Promotion of Sports Education through Rugby Equipment Donation

September 12, 2017

ITOCHU Corporation (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Masahiro Okafuji, President and CEO; hereinafter “ITOCHU”) and Isetan Mitsukoshi Ltd. (headquartered in Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo; Toshihiko Sugie, President and CEO; hereinafter “Isetan Mitsukoshi”) announced today the donation of rugby equipment to contribute to the local revitalization and promotion of sports education led by Machida municipal government in support of activities with goal-based games using the Onotake-style ball game, as part of Machida City Board of Education’s physical improvement project.

Background and Objective of Activities

Machida City Board of Education has set the educational goals of promoting the heathy growth of children, who will build the future, developing a society where everyone can keep learning throughout their lives and support each other, focusing on the unity of residents and communities through sports. Meanwhile, physical strength tests have revealed that Machida’s children spend less time exercising than Tokyo and national averages. In response, Machida City Board of Education began efforts for children to experience the fun and pleasure of exercise with an aim to promote the habit of playing sports. As part of such efforts, the Board has decided to introduce in physical education classes the “Onotake-style ball game” developed jointly by Mr. Hirotoki Onozawa, former player on the national rugby team of Japan, Mr. Shinichiro Shimotake, assistant professor at Physical Education Center, Chiba University of Commerce, and Mr. Yousuke Kotani, trainer who helped Japan’s women's national volleyball team win medals at international competitions.

The Isetan Mitsukoshi Group has been working to develop a corporate climate offering job satisfaction and an attractive corporate group that allows all employees to enjoy working both physically and mentally, create organizational vitality and continue to add new values. The Group has also been contributing to community activities and holding events and other projects to support working women through its sports club, Isetan Mitsukoshi Women's Rugby and Football Club (MI Rugirl). In this context, the Corporate Customer Account Division of Isetan Mitsukoshi aims to build new sports-based relationships with local governments that will host Rugby World Cup 2019 and a string of other international sporting events scheduled to be held in Tokyo.

ITOCHU has established ITOCHU Health Charter to perpetually achieve increased corporate value. It considers health improvement as an important management strategy and is actively implementing work style reforms and health promotion measures, in particular, by facilitating morning-hour working.

In connection with this, Isetan Mitsukoshi, ITOCHU, which holds exclusive import and distribution rights and the master license for Rhino Rugby products (hereinafter “Rhino”) of the U.K. in the apparel and fashion accessory sectors of the Japanese market, and the U.K.-based Rhino shared their desire to contribute to the local revitalization and promotion of sporting activities in Machida, which led to the donation.

Donated Goods

Ten rugby balls for each of the seven schools

Ten newly developed bibs in four different colors to each of the seven school

Onotake-style Ball Game

The most distinctive characteristic of this program, which has been developed by incorporating three aspects of rugby, training science and education, and overseas trends, is its ability to foster children’s “ability to think.”
It is neither a coaching method based on practice games (whole method of learning) nor one built on drills (partial method of learning), but a new coaching method for helping children think independently in a game with modified rules to allow skill learning while simultaneously helping them to acquire skills. This program does not require special skills, can be applied regardless of differences in the physiques and abilities of players, and helps them to develop their “ability to think,” which will instantly create solutions applicable to the rules and unlimited, unreproducible patterns.