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Ryutaro TAKAHASHI

Japan Football Hall of Fame

1st group of inductees, 2005
3rd JFA President (term: 1947-1954)
Born in Ehime Prefecture on July 15, 1875.
Graduates from the Third Higher School (now Kyoto University).
President of Dai Nippon Beer Company. President of the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Member of the Imperial House of Peers, Member of the House of Councillors, Minister of Commerce and Industry.
Takahashi's son had been infatuated with football from his time at the old Matsuyama Higher School and at Kyoto Imperial University before his death in the war. This leads Takahashi to become respected for his character and achievements, and ultimately to appointment as JFA president "for the sake of football".
Holds presidential role during particularly difficult period after the war, and pours energies into rebuilding the sport in Japan. Receives the "Emperor's Cup" for the All-Japan Championship in 1948 – marking the first of the sports associations in the company to be presented with such an imperial trophy.
Also served as owner of the Takahashi Unions professional baseball team. Awarded the 2nd Class Order of the Rising Sun in 1964.
Passes away in 1967.

*Information supplied by Japan Football Museum

Introduction

For the sport of football that brought up his third son, Hikoya

The second president of the JFA, Ryutaro Fukai, was born in 1877 (passing away in 1948), but the third president, Ryutaro Takahashi, was into the same generation as his predecessor in 1875 (passing away in 1967), and like Fukao, was also born on the island of Shikoku. The Fukui family has stemmed from the lineage of the chief retainers of the Tosa Domain. The Takahashi family, meanwhile, was an old family that had been working in the brewing industry in Ehime Prefecture for generations, wealthy and respected locally for its support of the financial affairs of the Uwajima Domain.

Ryutaro moved from Matsuyama Ordinary Junior High School (now Matsuyama East Senior High School) to Tokyo High School of Commerce (now Hitotsubashi University), but having been forced to postpone his education due to illness, later went on to study at the Third Higher School in Kyoto (now Kyoto University). After graduation, he joined the Osaka Beer Brewery Company (later to become Nippon Breweries), and after returning from six years of study into beer brewing techniques in Munich, was appointed as head of the Suita Factory of Dai-Nippon Beer Company. Takahashi became the foremost figure in Japanese beer brewing, and was made president of the company in 1937.

His appointment as president of the JFA came two years after the end of the Pacific War.

Takahashi was a great lover of sports with a wide range of interests, and was indeed the owner of the pre-war Eagles and the post-war Takahashi Unions professional baseball teams, but the fact that he accepted the role of president of the Football Association was largely for the sake of his third son, Hikoya, who had died during the war.

Hikoya had been a footballer at the old Matsuyama High School (now Ehime University) and at Kyoto University. He was loved and respected by his friends, seniors, and juniors alike for his strong playing skills as a full back, his dedication to training, and his kind, caring personality towards those around him.

During the Second World War, Hikoya became a reserve officer in the navy working on costal defence ships, but when he was working around the island of Saipan after the war to clear the sea of mines, he was killed when his ship touched a mine and exploded.

His football teammates commented that it was typical of "Hiko" to step forward and take part in the kind of dangerous work - even though the war had already ended – that most would have sought to avoid.

A desire to contribute to the sport of football that had done so much to develop "Hiko" into such a loved and respected person was Ryutaro Takahashi's motivation for taking the role of JFA president.

Known as a major player in both the financial and the sporting circles, Takahashi's first major job as president was to welcome the Showa Emperor and the Crown Prince to watch the East-West Challenge Match on 3 April 1947. The imperial endorsement of this match would lead to the official donation of the Emperor's Cup, which is presented to the winners of the tournament bearing its name to this day.

The recovery of sporting activities required a lot of hard work at a time when many of Japan's major cities had been razed to the ground in air raids, but under the leadership of President Takahashi, Japanese football was able to return to the international stage within just seven years. With the national team learning new techniques through invitations to play in Sweden and West Germany, and a squad being sent to participate in the FISU International Sports Week in Germany, the foundations were laid for the next generation.

Profile

  • 15 July 1875 - Born in the village (now town) of Uchiko in Kita District, Ehime Prefecture, as the eldest son of Yoshihira Takahashi.
  • 1893 - Graduates from Ehime Prefecture Ordinary School (now Matsuyama East Senior High School). Moves to Tokyo High School of Commerce (now Hitotsubashi University), but is forced to postpone his education due to illness.
  • 1894 - Moves to study at the Third Higher School (now Kyoto University).
  • March 1898 - Graduates from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at the Third Higher School.
    July - Joins the Osaka Beer Brewery Company.
    November - Travels to Germany to study beer brewing techniques.
  • March 1904 - Returns home from Germany, and is appointed as head of the Suita Factory of the newly-founded Dai-Nippon Beer Company.
  • 1917 - Becomes head of the Osaka Branch of Dai-Nippon Beer Company.
  • 1924 - Becomes a director of Dai-Nippon Beer Company.
  • 1933 - Becomes executive director of Dai-Nippon Beer Company.
  • 1937 - Appointed as president of Dai-Nippon Beer Company.
  • January 1946 - Becomes a member of the House of Peers by imperial appointment. December - Becomes chief of the Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
  • January 1947 - Becomes chief of the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
    April - Appointed as president of the Greater Japan Football Association. Elected as a member of the House of Councillors for a national constituency (for six years, representing the Ryokufu-kai).
  • 1949 - Retires as president of Dai-Nippon Beer Company.
  • July 1951 - Appointed as Minister of International Trade and Industry (now Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry) in the third Cabinet of Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida.
  • October 1952 - Leaves post as Minister of International Trade and Industry.
  • 1954 - Retires as president of the Greater Japan Football Association.
  • 1957 - Awarded the Medal of Merit by the Federal Republic of Germany.
  • 1964 - Awarded the 2nd Class Order of the Rising Sun.
  • 22 December 1967 - Passes away at the age of 92.
  • 2005 - Elected into Japan Football Hall of Fame as part of first group of inductees.