Welcoming RSJ Founding Principal to Japan


Welcoming RSJ Founding Principal to Japan

Yesterday, over 80 guests gathered to formally welcome Tony Darby, Rugby School Japan’s (RSJ) Founding Principal, to Tokyo. Hosted at the Akasaka Prince Classic House, the afternoon reception was attended by various RSJ partners and supporters, and opened by His Majesty’s Ambassador to Japan, Julia Longbottom CMG.

A new era

The Ambassador said that RSJ heralded a new era for UK-Japan educational relations, and she was pleased to hear that developments are on track at the RSJ campus site in Kashiwanoha, Chiba Prefecture.

Welcomed to the stage by Lori Henderson MBE, Managing Director of the CEA Group – the organisation responsible for developing Rugby School in Japan – a variety of project partners and supporters spoke about the importance of RSJ, which is set to become the first ever British boarding school in the Greater Tokyo area.


On behalf of the Rugby School Group, Neil Hampton spoke of the school’s 450-year history and the nature of a Rugby education, which aims to develop “fully-rounded” people. Pointing to Rugby’s Whole Person, Whole Point ethos he said:

‘From that day to this, Rugby School’s mission has been the development of  ‘character’ in its students, meaning that each child is treated as an individual.  Academic results are, of course, at the core of our educational ethos. However, development in all areas of the co-curriculum – sport, music and drama – is of equal importance.  Additionally, and essentially, service to others is deeply rooted in Rugby’s DNA”.

He went on to address Rugby’s holistic approach to education, seen most clearly though the boarding ethos of the school.

“All of this is made possible by the attentive pastoral care offered by our staff. In our system, the students are known deeply by the staff and cared for in a way that allows them to flourish socially and spiritually and, hence, in all areas of their lives”.

Rugby School Japan will open its doors to founding families in autumn 2023, and offer boarding as well as day options to girls and boys from across the country, region and the world.


Makoto Watanabe, Vice President of Chiba University took to the stage and said he was very pleased to have the opportunity to work on such a global project as the RSJ “landlord” and looks forward to strengthening links between Chiba University and Rugby School Japan over the coming months and years, in the greater pursuit of cross-cultural and educational exchange.

Managing Director of Mitsui Fudosan, Takashi Ueda, said the school is a landmark project for his team and all teams involved, adding to the already impressive Kashiwanoha Smart City’s International Campus Town, launched by Mitsui Fudosan in 2008 as a next-generation model city.


Campus Fly-Through

Guests were treated to a video fly through of the RSJ campus which fuses British and Japanese design elements, and showcases Mitsui Fudosan’s experience in sustainable architecture, including Zero Emission Buildings and Zero Energy Houses. The RSJ project involves a hybrid approach to campus design renovating legacy structures and weaving in new buildings to create a one-of-a-kind boarding school experience for pupils, families and the wider community.

Founding Principal of RSJ Tony Darby said “what today shows is that with the right partners that share the same vision and values then anything is possible”. 

The future

A lively panel discussion then featured Tony Darby alongside Kan Suzuki, former State Minister for Education, and Simon Lebus, Governor of Rugby School (UK).

Moderated by Kirsten O’Connor, RSJ Senior Education Advisor, the panel touched upon RSJ partnership opportunities, future possibilities for collaboration within Japan and globally, and the wider benefits of the RSJ project for Japan’s international competitiveness.

Simon Lebus said:

“It has been tremendously exciting seeing work start on creating the Rugby School Japan campus. Rugby is delighted to have Rugby School Japan as the newest member of the Rugby family, and looks forward to welcoming the first cohort of pupils in September 2023, which auspiciously coincides with the 200th anniversary of the invention of the game of Rugby”.

RSJ Admissions are now open.

Further reading

RSJ admissions HERE

New Campus HERE

Rugby School Japan announces founding principal appointment HERE