Edward Bramwell Clarke

Edward Bramwell Clarke bigraphy, stories - Introduced rugby to japan

Edward Bramwell Clarke : biography

January 21, 1875 – April 28, 1934

Edward Bramwell Clarke (January 31, 1875-April 28, 1934) was an educator in Meiji period Japan, who is credited with introducing the sport of rugby to Japan.

Select works

  • 1914 — Representative Tales of Japan: Little Masterpieces from Present Day Japanese Writers with Asatarō Miyamori. Tokyo: Sanseidō.



Clarke was born at the treaty port of Yokohama, as the son of a baker. He graduated with degrees in law and literature from Corpus Christi College, Cambridge University in 1899.Venn only lists his BA degree in 1896. Returning to Japan at the same year as an oyatoi gaikokujin, he received a post as an instructor in English language and English literature at Keio University in Tokyo. Clarke wanted to give his students something constructive to do to avoid them idling and wasting "the lovely autumn weather", and rugby which he had enjoyed as a student was what he decided to pass on to them. Together with fellow Cambridge alumni Tanaka Ginnosuke, he established a rugby union at Keio in 1899 and served as coach to the fledgling team.Koyama, Noboru. (2004). Japanese Students at Cambridge University in the Meiji era, 1868-1912, p. 173.

On December 7, 1901, the members of the Keio Rugby Club, selected by Tanaka and Clarke, took part in the first rugby game with foreigners at Yokohama. Clarke that day played as full-back and Tanaka as stand-off. Clarke continued to coach rugby at Keio until 1907, after which an injury to his right leg complicated by rheumatism, led to its amputation.

In 1913, Clarke moved to a teaching post in Kyoto at the Third High School, and he became a professor of the literature department of Kyoto Imperial University in 1916. Clarke was an excellent academic and a prolific contributor to the Encyclopædia Britannica, under the initials "EB", and was in correspondence with Lafcadio Hearn. He continued to work at Kyoto Imperial University until his death in 1934 of an intracranial hemorrhage. His grave is at the Kobe Municipal Foreign Cemetery in Kobe, Japan.