National

Japanese rugby's 'One Team' motto declared buzzword of the year

by Masumi Koizumi

Staff Writer

“One Team,” Japan’s slogan for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, was picked as buzzword of the year on Monday after the Brave Blossoms thrilled fans with their historic advance to the top eight.

The annual awards are announced in early December, when the top buzzword is selected from words or phrases in the media that reflected the year’s trends in politics, business, culture, sports and other fields.

The event also recognizes individuals and organizations representative of the winning word or phrase.

As a representative, Shigetaka Mori, president of the Japan Rugby Football Union, took the stage to collect the honor during a ceremony for the 2019 U-Can Shingo Ryukogo Taisho (U-Can New Words and Buzzwords Awards).

“Although we used ‘Once in a Lifetime,’ as a catchphrase for the Rugby World Cup, we want to hold the games again, having experienced the frenzy created by them,” he said.

During the tournament from Sept. 20 to Nov. 2, the Japanese team made history by making it to the quarterfinals, where they lost 3-26 to South Africa, this year’s champion.

What held the 31-member multinational team together was the “One Team” motto set forth under head coach Jamie Joseph.

At the ceremony, University of Tokyo Professor Emeritus Kang Sang-jung, one of the seven members of the buzzword selection committee, said the unity shown by the team’s diverse collection of players surely resonated with the public.

The term “One Team” has since caught on in areas outside the realm of sports, including in business.

During a Nov. 18 news conference on the merger between Yahoo Japan and Line Corp., for example, Kentaro Kawabe, president and CEO of Z Holdings, Yahoo Japan’s parent, said “We are aiming to build a powerful ‘One Team.'”

The nine other candidates chosen from the shortlist of 30 include “Reiwa,” the name of the new imperial era under Emperor Naruhito, “keigen zeiritsu” (reduced tax rate), a temporary government measure to soften the impact of the consumption tax hike to 10 percent, and “keikaku unkyū” (planned train cancellation), an unusual step taken by some of the nation’s railway operators to ensure passenger safety ahead of Typhoon Faxai in September and Typhoon Hagibis in October.