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Taro KAGAWA

Japan Football Hall of Fame

2nd group of inductees, 2006
Born in Hyogo Prefecture on August 9, 1922.
Graduates from Kobe University of Economics (now Kobe University).
Plays football at Kobe First Junior High School (now Hyogo Prefectural Kobe High School), Kobe University of Economics (now Kobe University), Tanabe Seiyaku, and Osaka Club. During his time at Kobe First Junior High School, achieves victory in the 20th All-Japan Junior High School Football Championship Tournament in 1938 and, as captain, in the 10th Meiji Shrine Sports Tournament in 1939. After the war, achieves victory in the Kansai Student League with Kobe University of Economics after his readmission.
Achieves victory in the 3rd All-Japan Company Football Tournament in 1950 with Tanabe Seiyaku, having joined the company in 1948, and goes on to win the tournament a total of seven times, including six in a row up to 1957. Contributes to the establishment of an unbeaten record of 93 wins and one draw in 94 matches after the qualifiers for the All-Japan Company Football Tournament in 1950, building a golden age for Tanabe Seiyaku.
Also plays for the Osaka Club (established following a proposal by Taizo Kawamoto) alongside players such as Toshi Iwatani at the same time, and appears in three consecutive finals at Emperor's Cup All-Japan Soccer Championship Tournament, beginning with the 31st tournament in 1951.
With the Japan national team, Kagawa plays in the 1st Asian Games in 1951 (New Delhi), the 2nd Asian Games in 1951 (Manila), and the Asian qualifying tournament for the 1954 World Cup in Switzerland. Combines successfully with the right-winger, Masanori Tokita, even at national level, and displays a high level of ball control and an eye for tactics. As one of the players to remember the period of growth in pre-war football after the Berlin Olympics, becomes one of the generation of people to work to keep Japanese soccer in existence and improve its level during the difficulties after the war. Plays in five "A" matches for Japan.
Passes away in 1990.
Elected into Japan Football Hall of Fame as part of second group of inductees in 2006.

*Information supplied by Japan Football Museum

Introduction

Profile

  • 9 August 1922 - Born in Hyogo Prefecture.
  • March 1935 - Graduates from Kobe Municipal Unchu Ordinary Elementary School.
    April - Enters Hyogo Prefectural Kobe First Junior High School, where he joins the school's football club.
  • 1937 - Becomes a regular for the football team in his third year, and achieves a runner-up finish in the 19th All-Japan Junior High School Football Championship Tournament (now the All-Japan High School Soccer Tournament).
  • 1938 - Achieves victory in the 20th All-Japan Junior High School Football Championship Tournament, playing in the centre-forward position.
  • 1939 - Becomes captain, but sees the school team eliminated from the 21st All-Japan Junior High School Football Championship Tournament in the second round. The team does, however, beat Hokkai Junior High School, Hiroshima First Junior High School, and Meisei School of Commerce to win the Meiji Shrine Tournament in autumn, before beating Hiroshima Normal School 1-0 in a 15-minute match attended by the emperor.
  • 1940 - Graduates from Kobe First Junior High School, and joins the first year of the preparatory course at Kobe University of Commerce (now Kobe University), where he founds a football club. Becomes a regular for the full Kobe University of Commerce football team from his first year in the preparatory course, and appears in the Kansai Student League.
  • 8 December 1943 - Called up into the navy at Maizuru during his second year as a full university student, following the abolition of the law exempting students from conscription. Takes the military reserves student examination, and spends time in the air fleets in Tsuchiura and Izumi before joining the fleet in Tsukuba the following year.
  • 1945 - The Second World War comes to an end on 15 August, while Kagawa is in operation with the Chitose air fleet in Hokkaido, as a member of the navy's special air forces. Kagawa returns to university.
    October - His discharged teammates are reunited for their first football match after the end of the war.
  • February 1946 - Appears as captain for the West Japan team in the resurrected East-West Challenge Match, in which two student select elevens play out a 2-2 draw.
  • May - The Kobe University of Economics (name changed from Kobe University of Commerce) football club finishes as runners-up in the 26th Emperor's Cup.
    October - Achieves victory in the Kansai Student League.
  • April 1947 - Appears in the East-West Challenge Match in front of the emperor, as a member of the West Japan team. Kobe University of Economics finishes as runners-up in the 2nd National Sports Festival (in Kanazawa).
  • 1948 - Joins Tanabe Seiyaku, and becomes a member of the company's football team.
  • 1950 - Tanabe Seiyaku achieves its first victory in the 3rd edition of the All-Japan Company Football Tournament. Between the Kansai preliminary round on 9 April, and their defeat in the final of the Kansai Company Football Tournament on 27 May 1956, the Tanabe Seiyaku sets an unbeaten record of 93 wins and one draw in 94 matches, including six All-Japan Company Football Tournament titles in a row.
  • 1951 - Appears for the bronze medal-winning Japanese national team at the 1st Asian Games in New Delhi, India. Plays for the newly-formed Osaka Club, which finishes as runners-up in the 31st Emperor's Club, before going on to repeat this feat in the 32nd and 33rd editions as well.
  • 1952 - As representatives of Osaka, Tanabe Seiyaku wins the football event at the National Sports Festival (in Sendai) in autumn.
  • 1953 - Takes part in a series of matches for the Japanese national team against visiting club sides from Europe, including games against Offenbach FC Kickers of West Germany in June, and against Djurgarden of Sweden in November.
  • March 1954 - Plays in Japan's two matches against South Korea in the Far Eastern qualifying section for the World Cup in Switzerland, losing 1-5 and drawing 2-2.
    May - Called up to represent Japan at the 2nd Asian Games in Manila, but is not in good condition, and only appears in the first half of Japan's first game. Following the defeats suffered in full internationals throughout the year, the Japan Football Association calls for a rejuvenation of the national team, and players in their 30s who had served the national team since before the war - including Hirokazu Ninomiya, Taro Kagawa, and Koji Miyata - are dropped from the squad.
    September - Tanabe Seiyaku wins the All-Japan Company Football Tournament for the fifth year in a row, with Kagawa having recovered from the problems he suffered in Manila to combine successfully with Masanori Tokita, and lead the team to greater successes.
  • 1956 - A change in the registration rules for company teams sees Tanabe Seiyaku lose a number of its key players, including Kagawa, who was working in Tokyo. The team's All-Japan Company Football Tournament campaign ends with defeat in the final.
  • 1957 - The registration rules for company teams are changed once again, allowing Kagawa and his teammates to return to their Tanabe Seiyaku team and lead it to a seventh title success in the 14th All-Japan Company Football Tournament.
  • 1960 - Retires from top-level playing activities, but reassembles his successful partnership with Tokita, who was also working in Tokyo. Enjoys playing alongside names such as Shunichiro Okano at the Tokyo Trick Club. Dettmar Cramer praises Kagawa's passing and trapping as "exemplary" after a match against Furukawa Electric.
  • 1962 - Moves to the forerunners of Nagoya Grampus Eight, and enjoys playing in old boys' matches for the Nagoya Club.
  • 1967 - Moves to Okayama, where he founds the Ryogo Yakuhin pharmaceutical company, becoming its inaugural president. Forms a company football team, and plays himself in the team's matches in the Okayama Prefecture League. Continues to play for the team in official matches in the league's second division until the age of 62.
  • 6 March 1990 - Passes away at the age of 67.
  • 23 May 2006 - Elected into the Japan Football Hall of Fame as part of the second group of inductees.