Former Japan Rugby Football Union chairman Shigeru Konno, who fostered international friendship through his involvement with the game, is to be posthumously inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame, the sport’s governing body said Friday.
Konno, who led the JRFU from 1972 to 1994, is one of six “legends of the game” who will be honored at the World Rugby Awards in Tokyo on Nov. 3, World Rugby said.
The others are former Samoa captain Peter Fatialofa, who will also be inducted posthumously, former New Zealand coach Graham Henry, two-time South African World Cup winner Os du Randt, All Blacks great Richie McCaw and former Uruguay international Diego Ormaechea.
Chairman of the Hall of Fame panel John Eales said it was “an honor” to recognize the contributions of the latest inductees.
“Through their induction, they represent the many thousands of men and women who have made our game great,” former Australia captain Eales said.
Konno, who died in 2007 at age 84, was active in the Asian Rugby Football Union. He served as an executive member of the International Rugby Board’s Council from 1991 to 2001, an era in which the sport made the transition from amateur to professional.
A lock for Doshisha University, Konno missed the chance to play for his country because of World War II, in which he served as a pilot.
He was a liaison officer for Oxford University during its visit to Japan in 1952. He was picked for the job because of his strong command of English, which he learned during his early schooling in London.
Affectionately referred to as Japan’s “Mr. Rugby,” Konno in 1985 was named an honorary Officer of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II for his contributions to the game and Anglo-Japanese relations.
Konno will be the third Hall of Fame inductee from Japan, following former national team wingers Yoshihiro Sakata and Daisuke Ohata, who entered in 2012 and 2016, respectively.