2013 Tomodachi Bowl kicks off March 10 at Yokota
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — Sportsmanship will be front and center March 10 as all-star athletes from across Department of Defense Education Activity Pacific high schools and the American School in Japan join forces as Team USA to square off against their Japanese counterparts on Team JAPAN in a premiere football matchup literally named for friendship: The Tomodachi Bowl.
Representing Team JAPAN at this year’s event will be teams from Waseda University High School and Hosei High School and Team USA will include students from ASIJ, Kinnick, Yokota, Zama American, Seoul American, Kadena and Kubasaki High Schools.
As an outgrowth of the now defunct NFL Global Junior Championship tournament formerly held the week before the Super Bowl, the first Camellia Bowl took place in 2010 as a way to continue providing Japanese and American youth from communities across the Kanto Plain an opportunity to cultivate international friendship and national pride by representing their respective countries.
The annual event was cancelled in 2011 due to the devastating aftermath of the Tohoku Earthquake that occurred March 11, 2011. In 2012, the organizing committee for the former Camellia Bowl officially adopted Tomodachi Bowl in honor of the good will and mutual respect fostered between Japan and the U.S. during the joint disaster recovery efforts that followed the Tohoku Earthquake.
While a contact sport like American football may seem a curious choice to promote friendship and cultural exchange, Japan’s interest in football actually dates back to 1934 when the Japan American Football Association first introduced collegiate competition between Rikkyo, Meiji and Waseda Universities.
With crowds typically numbering well over 500 each year, the Tomodachi Bowl enjoys a unique tradition of top dignitaries and senior military leaders joining fellow fans in the stands to cheer for their favorite team competing on the gridiron.
Kickoff takes place 2 p.m. March 10 at Yokota High School’s Bonk Field located on Yokota Air Base. The event is open to all SOFA status personnel and their dependents with base access and special arrangements have been made for the large crowd of Japanese fans attending via invitation. Yokota AB will host a number of events leading up to the Tomodachi Bowl according to the following schedule:
• 11:00 | Elementary grades 4-6 Flag Football Game:
o Japanese primary school vs. American primary school students
• 11:30 | Elementary grade 1-3 Flag Football Game:
o Japanese vs. American
• 12:10 | Junior HS "Rough Touch" football game:
o Japanese Hurricanes vs. American Little Tigers
• 12:50 | Team JAPAN and Team USA begin warm-ups on the field
• 13:40 | Special Addresses delivered by various dignitaries and VIPs in attendance
• 13:50 | Japanese and American anthems performed by PACAF band of the Pacific
• 13:55 | Dignitaries/VIPs, referees and team captains meet at midfield for coin toss
• 14:00 | Kickoff for 2013 "Tomodachi Bowl"
An awards ceremony and photo opportunity for the participants will follow the game.
The Tomodachi Bowl is a jointly organized by Japanese, military and school officials including Ko Hirasawa of the Kanto Football Coaches Association and Tim Pujol of Yokota High School.