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Japanese Soccer Personalities


Japan Football Hall of Fame

3rd group of inductees, 2006
Born April 29, 1885, in Kanagawa Prefecture, as Sakuzo Shirota
Graduated from Tokyo Normal Higher School
Scholar of Chinese classics. Serves as professor at Tokyo Normal Higher School and Tokyo University of Science and Arts, head of literature at Komazawa University, and head priest at Daijoji (Soto Zen)
In 1919, when head of the graduates' football club at Tokyo Normal Higher School, Uchino - together with Jigoro Kano, president of Greater Japan Sports Association and headmaster of Tokyo Normal Higher School - accepts receipt of FA Cup from Football Association in England. Receiving guidance on the operation of the English FA and the rules of the competition from British Embassy Secretary William Hague, and devoting all energies both to organisation building and to the selection of a president (ultimately appointing Jikichi Imamura as first president), Uchino makes a tireless contribution to the foundation of the JFA in 1921. Even after the foundation, Uchino is active in the heart of operations as one of the founder board members. Meanwhile, the JFA "three-legged bird" logo adopted in 1931 is a composite by Jitsuzo Hinago of ideas presented by Uchino and others.
Takes interest in coaching as well as playing from time at Tokyo Normal Higher School, and works to strengthen the clubs and boost the popularity of soccer in his teaching roles at Toshima Normal School from 1909 and later at Tokyo Normal Higher School again.
In 1917, forms first club team in Japan, "Tokyo Football Club", consisting mainly of players from the three normal schools of Tokyo Normal Higher School, Toshima, and Aoyama. Focuses on raising level and popularity of Japanese soccer, bringing new perspective to previously school-centred sport.
In 1918, works on development of soccer in Kanto, including role as head of committee of Kanto Football Tournament, which was originally hosted by Tokyo Football Club. Later becomes president of Kanto Football Association.
Awarded 3rd Class Order of the Sacred Treasure in 1941
Passes away in 1953
Elected into Japan Football Hall of Fame as part of third group of inductees in 2006.

*Information supplied by Japan Football Museum


Foundation of JFA and formation of Tokyo Football Club. Scholar of Chinese classics who devoted energies to creating soccer organisations

Tairei Uchino was born on April 29, 1884, making him 33 years younger than the founding father of soccer in Japan, Gendou Tsuboi. While Tsuboi had been born at the end of the feudal era and was an expert in the English language, Uchino would become known as a scholar of Chinese classics, and wrote books on the subject including "A New Interpretation of the Mencius".

Born in Kanagawa Prefecture, he was adopted into the Soto Zen temple of Daijoji near his birthplace at the age of 14, and changed his birth name of Sakuzo Shirota to Tairei Uchino.

His first involvement with soccer came after graduating from the private Ikubunkan Junior High School and joining Tokyo Normal Higher School. In 1905, there was already a football club at the school, and a book entitled "Association Football" had been published (by Shobido) two years previously (1903). Senior students included Kuwayoshi Hori, who would be influential in the spread of soccer in Nagoya, while the leader of the club was Professor Gendou Tsuboi.

Over four years, Uchino dedicated himself to his studies and to soccer. He played at half-back in a match with Yokohama Country and Athletic Club on December 22, 1907, and enjoyed himself as a regular member of the soccer scene, being invited to a soccer match to commemorate the fiftieth birthday of Keio University.

Graduating from the faculty of Japanese language and Chinese classics in 1909, Uchino took the post of schoolteacher at Toshima Normal School in Tokyo, and here he would become enthusiastically involved in soccer coaching. He built the foundations to bring the school, which had always previously been a step behind, onto a par with Aoyama Normal School, but his scholarly roots led him to move back into specialist studies at Tokyo Normal Higher School (1911-13). After completing his studies, he would remain at the school as a teacher, before ultimately taking a professorship.

In 1917, the 3rd Far Eastern Championship Games was held at Shibaura in Tokyo, and Japanese soccer would gain its first experience on the international stage. A representative team consisting of members of Tokyo Normal Higher School were heavily defeated by both the Republic of China and the Philippines.
In a culture where individual student teams represented single schools, Uchino called up former students of Aoyama Normal School, Toyama Normal School, and Tokyo Normal Higher School to form a new club called "Tokyo Football Club". The members of Tokyo Football Club, who had answered Uchino's calls to continue playing after graduation and attempt to lead the improvement of soccer in Japan, organised the first Kanto Football Tournament the following year. The tournament, held in the grounds of Tokyo Normal Higher School with support from the Asahi Shimbun, enjoyed much success, with members of the Imperial Family and United Kingdom Ambassador in attendance as guest of honour.

News of the hosting of this tournament, together with other tournaments held around the same time in Nagoya and Osaka, reached the United Kingdom, and a silver cup was sent to Japan as a present from the FA (Football Association).

This triggered Japan to form an FA of its own, and under the instruction of headmaster Jigoro Kano, Uchino was at the centre of operations as the Greater Japan Football Association was founded on September 10, 1921. The early organisation of soccer in Japan had advanced progressively from the new concept of Tokyo Football Club, and Uchino was at the heart of everything. Even the "three-legged crow" logo that the JFA adopted in 1931 originated from the knowledge of Uchino himself.

As is mentioned in "Huainanzi" and in many other Chinese classics, it has long been believed in China that a bird (crow) lives inside the sun, and it is said that this is what led Uchino to think of this three-legged crow design. This eccentrically designed, grand logo is a legacy of this Chinese classics scholar.


  • 29 April 1884 - Born in Kanagawa Prefecture.
  • May 1898 - Adopted into the temple of Daijoji near his birthplace. Becomes the adopted son of Minrei Uchino and changes his birth name of Sakuzo Shirota to Tairei Uchino.
  • April 1905 - Enters preparatory course at Tokyo Normal Higher School (now Tsukuba University).
  • March 1909 - Graduates from the faculty of Japanese language and Chinese classics at Tokyo Normal Higher School.
    April - Takes teaching position at Toshima Normal School in Tokyo (now Tokyo Gakugei University).
  • April 1911 - Begins specialist studies at Tokyo Normal Higher School.
  • March 1913 - Graduates from the faculty of moral science and Chinese classics at Tokyo Normal Higher School.
    April - Takes a teaching position in the faculty of Chinese classics at Tokyo Normal Higher School.
  • 1920 - Takes a professorship at Tokyo Normal Higher School.
  • 1932 - Works at professor at both Tokyo Normal Higher School and Tokyo University of Education (now also part of Tsukuba University).
  • March 1940 - Becomes lead researchers of Chinese classics at Tokyo University of Education.
  • 1946 - Leaves professorship at Tokyo University of Education.
  • 1947 - Becomes professor at Komazawa University.
  • 24 December 1953 - Passes away at the age of 69.