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Kyaw DIN

Japan Football Hall of Fame

4th group of inductees, 2007
Born in Burma in June 1900
Burmese student (at Tokyo Technical Higher School - now Tokyo Institute of Technology) whose soccer coaching and teaching of soccer philosophies caused revolutionary technical advances in Japanese soccer throughout the Taisho and early Showa eras.
Begins coaching at the Tokyo Normal Higher School-Affiliated Junior High School in around 1920, before moving to Waseda High School at the request of Shigeyoshi Suzuki and achieving two successive victories in the All-Japan High School Football Tournament (old Inter-High), which began in 1923. These successes bring attention to Kyaw Din's strong coaching skills, leading him to tour the country and give coaching at a number of schools. Teaches skills and philosophies from basic kicking and passing to the tactical idea of attacking through short passing, resulting in improved technique throughout Japanese soccer as a whole, and laying the foundations for progress on the international stage.
Writes the coaching textbook "How to Play Association Football". Japanese-language version published in August 1923 following the cooperation of Kyaw Din's pupils. This textbook was the first of its kind in Japan, going into the specifics and the theory of technique and tactics, and using many photographs and pictures.
The teams receiving his coaching achieved results based on his short passing tactics, and members of these teams would go on to bring further progress to Japanese soccer as players and coaches. A notable example was the Japan national team competing in the 1930 Far Eastern Championship Games, with Suzuki as manager and built around Shigemaru Takenokoshi and other University of Tokyo players, which achieved Japan's first East Asian title. Here, Japan established its own style of soccer, and built the foundations for its tactical traditions. These advances would go on to influence Japan's exploits in the Berlin Olympics six years later.
Returns to Myanmar in 1924. Date of death uncertain.
Elected into Japan Football Hall of Fame as part of fourth group of inductees in 2007.

*Information supplied by Japan Football Museum


Demonstrated by example to teach basic technique and preached organised, passing soccer

The coaching of Kyaw Din, a student from Burma (now Myanmar), led to a rapid improvement in technique and tactics in Japanese soccer from the late Taisho Era to the early Showa Era. Anyone learning the history of soccer ought to be taught this way. Even I, myself, have heard many stories from my elders who received his teaching directly.

Kyaw Din was a high jump athlete, and through an athlete at Waseda, was able to watch practices at the newly-formed Waseda High School Association Football Club. We should perhaps now be thankful for the fortunate series of events that saw him develop the desire to coach, and to then become acquainted with the influential Shigeyoshi Suzuki.

The coaching of Kyaw Din achieved a strong reputation across the country, with Shigemaru "Noko" Takenokoshi, a pioneering influence in the Showa Era who had learned from Kyaw Din directly, citing how "his coaching was extremely theoretical and easy to understand, he demonstrated basic techniques by example, and he wrote the textbook "How to Play Association Football" in English and had his students read a Japanese translation".

Sadayoshi Kitagawa, a member of the 26th class at the former Kobe First Junior High School (now Kobe High School), spoke of his memories of what was just a half-day's coaching by Kyaw Din during his fourth year of junior high school, in 1923.

"The only kind of football we had played before then was, in the case of a full back like myself, was to collect the ball that had been hoofed down by an opponent and simply hoof it back up the field. If the ball happened to land at the feet of a forward, he would dribble by jabbing the ball forwards. I would then go and try to steal it from him.

"Even in terms of tacking, our seniors standing around the pitch would just tell us to "get it back", and never told us how to go about making sliding tackles. I had therefore had to be as creative as I could, and I there was a lot that I was unsure about, but it felt as if each of my doubts were being unravelled and solved by Kyaw Din's explanations."

As a member of the 26th class, Kitagawa was 17 years older than myself (43rd class, graduating in 1942), and was around the same age as "Noko" (born in 1906), but what strikes me here is how, along with the basic techniques, Kyaw Din had preached a short passing, organised style of soccer, using short horizontal passes between teammates and feeding through balls in behind the opposing defenders.

After this coaching, Kitagawa would not simply hoof the ball back down the field but would pass to a teammate instead, and this style formed the foundations of a Kobe

First Junior High School that would overhaul Mikage Normal School and other normal schools around the country to become national champions. What is interesting here is that Kyaw Din had apparently first been taught how to play soccer by people from Scotland. Even his textbook says that soccer had originated in Scotland. As I am sure you will be aware, Scotland had always placed more emphasis on short passing than their rivals in England.

Around this time, Tokyo Normal Higher School-Affiliated Junior High School also developed a "passing" game under the coaching of Kyaw Din (Shigeyoshi Suzuki was among those to have studied at this school). Graduates of Kobe First Junior High School and Tokyo Normal Higher School-Affiliated Junior High School would move on through the old high school system and into the University of Tokyo, where a team built around "Noko" would develop an organised style of soccer.

The Japanese style of soccer, which believed in defeating physically stronger opponents with good technique, plenty of running, organised defence, and attacking through short passing, was to achieve great results at the 9th Far Eastern Championship Games in 1930, and at the Berlin Olympics in 1930.

We must also be thankful that this foreign coach, who was the first in Japan to teach the techniques of soccer through demonstrating by example, had happened to have been influenced himself by Scottish soccer. These are the kind of interesting coincidences that bind history together.