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The visit focussed on the National Film Unit production we hold, Japan Verses New Zealand Universities from 1968. The Japanese Rugby team visited NZ in 1968. In our film they end up losing to the NZ Universities side. On the same tour, Japan beat the All Blacks Under 23’s, a huge upset at the time. The focus of NHK’s visit was to re-live that victory, even though we don’t have any footage of that game. The fact we didn’t has caused great suspicion in Japan as the running joke is the NFU destroyed the film once Japan won!

The visit to Archives was managed by our Research Services and Preservation teams. The crew wanted to get up close with the original film reel, viewing stills on a lightbox. They also watched the film we have in the reading room. For this documentary, Gaku has travelled to England and New Zealand. Cameron Bennett of NZ Network was part of the New Zealand based crew and was able to translate for our staff to ensure things ran smoothly.

The documentary titled Japan Rugby Legendary Match vs England aired on NHK1 on September 14. The reason for this title is that because of the strong performance of the Japanese team in NZ in 1968, the England rugby team visited Japan in September 1971. The English won but only by 6-3. The documentary looks back at how rugby became more popular in Japan in the build up to the match vs England.

As a thanks we received a fancy poster of Japanese sumo wrestlers which takes pride of place in our Research Services office!