2020 Photo Contest, Sports, 3rd Prize

Japan’s Veteran Rugby Players


Kim Kyung-Hoon


03 May, 2019

Ryuichi Nagayama (center) practices before a match in Kumagaya, Japan. At 86 years old, he is Fuwaku Rugby Club's oldest active player.

Tokyo’s Fuwaku Rugby Club, founded in 1948, is one of around 150 Japanese clubs that stage competitive, full-contact matches for players over the age of 40. Japan is the country with the largest aging population in the world, according to a United Nations report, with 28% of its population aged 65 or more. Seniors are particularly vulnerable to loneliness, with 15% of elderly men who live alone having fewer than one conversation in two weeks, according to a report in The Japan Times. Rugby not only keeps the players active, but offers a ready-made social life. The 2019 Rugby World Cup, held in Japan from September to November, boosted awareness and enthusiasm for the sport, with match attendance breaking previous World Cup records.

About the photographer

Kim Kyung-Hoon

Born in 1974, Kim Kyung-Hoon majored in photography at Chung-Ang University, and received a master’s degree in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at London College...

Technical information

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Canon EOS-1D X Mark II

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