Edward Bramwell Clarke

Edward Bramwell Clarke

Edward Bramwell Clarke
Born (1874-01-31)31 January 1874
Yokohama, Japan
Died 28 April 1934(1934-04-28) (aged 60)
Kobe, Japan
Nationality English
Occupation Educator

Edward Bramwell Clarke (31 January 1874 – 28 April 1934)[1] was an educator in Meiji period Japan, who is credited with introducing the sport of rugby to Japan.


  • Biography 1
  • Select works 2
  • See also 3
  • Notes 4
  • References 5


Clarke was born at the treaty port of Yokohama, the son of a baker. He graduated with degrees in law and literature from Corpus Christi College, Cambridge University in 1899.[2] Returning to Japan at the same year as an oyatoi gaikokujin, he received a post as an instructor in English language and English literature at Keio University in Tokyo. Clarke wanted to give his students something constructive to do to keep them from idling and wasting "the lovely autumn weather", and rugby which he had enjoyed as a student was what he decided to pass on to them. Together with fellow Cambridge alumni Tanaka Ginnosuke, he established a rugby union at Keio in 1899 and served as coach to the fledgling team.[3]

On 7 December 1901 the members of the Keio Rugby Club, selected by Tanaka and Clarke, took part in the first rugby game with foreigners at Yokohama. Clarke that day played as full-back and Tanaka as stand-off. Clarke continued to coach rugby at Keio until 1907, after which an injury to his right leg complicated by rheumatism, led to its amputation.

In 1913, Clarke moved to a teaching post in Kyoto at the Third High School, and he became a professor of the literature department of Kyoto Imperial University in 1916. Clarke was an excellent academic and a prolific contributor to the Encyclopædia Britannica, under the initials "EB", and was in correspondence with Lafcadio Hearn. He continued to work at Kyoto Imperial University until his death in 1934 of an intracranial hemorrhage. His grave is at the Kobe Municipal Foreign Cemetery in Kobe, Japan.

Select works

  • 1914 -- Representative Tales of Japan: Little Masterpieces from Present Day Japanese Writers with Asatarō Miyamori. Tokyo: Sanseidō. OCLC 8049337

See also


  1. ^ "Clarke, Edward Bramwell (CLRK893EB)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  2. ^ Venn only lists his BA degree in 1896. "Clarke, Edward Bramwell (CLRK893EB)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  3. ^ Koyama, Noboru. (2004). Japanese Students at Cambridge University in the Meiji era, 1868-1912, p. 173.


  • Cotton, Fran and Chris Rys. (1985). The Book of Rugby Disasters & Bizarre Records. London. Century Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7126-0911-1; OCLC 12549558
  • Koyama, Noboru. (2004). Japanese Students at Cambridge University in the Meiji era, 1868-1912: Pioneers for the Modernization of Japan. Morrisville, North Carolina: Lulu Enterprises. ISBN 978-1-4116-1256-3; OCLC 57055021
  • Nish, Alison (1999). "Britain's Contribution to the Development of Rugby Football in Japan, 1874-1998," in Britain & Japan: Biographical Portraits, Vol. III (James Hoare, editor). Richmond: Japan Library. ISBN 978-1-873410-89-9; OCLC 277409764