Ryutsu Keizai University and their attached high school Kashiwa support girls and young women participating in high school and university rugby clubs. Through rugby, activities, workshops and mentorship from female coaches, the program aims to improve goal-setting, self-confidence and self-awareness, and help empower girls and young women to achieve their goals and become leaders in their communities.
Haruka is a member of the women’s rugby club at Ryutsu Keizai University Kashiwa High School. She made the switch from basketball to rugby when she entered her senior year in high school. “It was the greatest decision I had ever made in my life,” Haruka said, citing her love of working as “one team” with 14 others on the rugby field. She trains with the men’s team, and while “uncomfortable” at first, Haruka no longer shies away from a tackle. Through rugby, Haruka has built self-confidence and become a stronger communicator. “We cannot get stronger unless we can communicate what we think with each other, so we speak our mind honestly,” Haruka said. The Ryutsu Keizai University program has also helped Haruka set long-term goals. She says, “I want to go into the teaching profession to teach rugby and let everyone know that it’s a sport both men and women can be passionate about.”
To extend to the local community and create more allies, Play Academy with Naomi Osaka will support the University’s plans to organize a rugby festival and offer events and workshops to young people in the community as well as male members of the rugby club.