Rory Smith
For Rory Smith's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Fans of the Malmo soccer team during a match against Elfsborg at the Eleda stadium in Malmo, Sweden, on Nov. 12. While most of Europe’s leagues engage in a Sisyphean quest to source as much money as possible, Sweden has chosen a different model. But its rewards come with risk.
Nov 21, 2023
Business booming after Swedish soccer puts fans before finances
The story surrounding the game is one of rejecting orthodoxy, of asking why sports exist and whom they exist for — but also how hard it is to stand alone.
Japan Times
Jun 11, 2023
Manchester City is Europe’s champion, a title years and billions in the making
City is now only the second English team — and one of only a select handful of clubs across Europe — to have completed a domestic and European treble, soccer’s final challenge.
Japan Times
Apr 29, 2023
German soccer team will test a new ticket price: zero
Starting next season, Fortuna will set out to give away tickets for several games at its 54,600-seat Merkur-Spiel Arena for nothing.
Japan Times
SOCCER / World cup
Dec 19, 2022
For Messi, and Argentina, the (extra) wait is worth it
Lionel Messi scored twice in one of the most exciting World Cup finals in history. Kylian Mbappe scored a hat-trick for France, whose furious comeback fell short.
Japan Times
SOCCER / World cup
Dec 15, 2022
Morocco gave everything. It needed a little more against France.
The defending champions overcome a gallant Morocco 2-0 in the World Cup semifinal to remain on track to become the first nation to win back-to-back World Cups since Brazil in 1958 and 1962.
Japan Times
SOCCER / World cup
Dec 14, 2022
The maestro conducts, and the band plays the hits
The most clinical of smash-and-grabs kept Lionel Messi on track for his date with destiny as Argentina booked a spot in Sundayu2019s final with a ruthless 3-0 victory in Qatar.
Japan Times
SOCCER / World cup
Nov 23, 2022
A Saudi soccer victory rings out across the Arab world
Few had given the Saudis a chance of winning a game at the tournament, much less overcoming the might of Argentina and Lionel Messi, arguably the finest player the sport has ever seen.
Japan Times
Aug 11, 2021
In Lionel Messi’s move, a dim portrait of modern soccer
With clubs backed by oligarchs, billionaires and nation states, meaningful change in the game looks unrealistic.


Tokyo Healthcare University professor Takayuki Mifune explains how he is trying to re-create bonito broth from 1,300 years ago.
The quest to re-create what the Japanese ate 1,300 years ago