Tomodachi Bowl coming to NAF Atsugi on March 9
NAVAL AIR FACILITY ATSUGI, Japan – Naval Air Facility (NAF) Atsugi, Japan is hosting the 3rd annual Tomodachi Bowl on Sun., Mar. 9 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m with kick off at 2 p.m. on Reid Field. The event is open to all SOFA personnel, their dependents, and Japanese guests by invitation and will feature several activities preceding the kick-off including bounce houses, flag and rough touch football games, and food vendors.
The first U.S. vs. Japan game, the Camelia bowl, was held in 2010 at Kawasaki stadium. The event was postponed the following year due to the Great East Japan earthquake on March 11, 2011. In 2012, the event was renamed the Tomodachi bowl and has been held at military bases in Japan since that time. The 2012 and 2013 were held at Yokosuka Naval base and Yokota Air Force base respectively.
“Events like this are important for these young athletes to represent their country in a competitive event,” said NAF Atsugi Recreation Director Thomas Durning. “The game builds national pride for the athletes and fans, while continuing to introduce and build popularity of American football in Japan.”
American football came to Japan in 1934 with the arrival of Paul Rusch, a teacher and missionary from Kentucky, who came to help rebuild after the 1923 earthquake. Along with fellow Americans, they created the first football teams at the Waseda, Meiji, and Rikkyo universities in Tokyo.
In November of 1934, the first game between the all-stars players of the three Japanese universities and the Yokohama Country and Athletic Club team of Americans and British living in Japan was played.
The Japan American Football Association (JAFA) has grown to 390 teams made up of corporate-sponsored teams, university teams and high school teams.