Partner Focus - Japan GAA
From the interview to Jodi Meenan, Asia County Board North Asia Officer
Tell me about your organization?
Japan GAA is a non-profit volunteer organization, we are an Irish sports club that aims to promote Irish sport (Gaelic Football, Hurling, Camogie, and Handball) and Irish culture in Japan. Our club has developed over the last 25 years from a small group of Irish lads that wanted to play their native sport in Japan to a club of over 50 active players and many more social members from all walks of life and from countries all over the world. We have a large Japanese membership and our ladies' players have been very successful over the last number of years.
Why did your organization set up in Japan?
In 1995 the first Asian Gaelic Games was held in Manila and a group of players gathered together to represent Japan. The club was fully set up the following year to set firm roots of GAA in Japan with an official club. Japan GAA has undergone several turnovers in membership in its history, but each year manages to pull together an excellent group of players that aim to continue the original goals. We strive to grow and expand the popularity of GAA throughout Japan and with the aim to have competitive clubs in other regions of Japan. At the moment the club is primarily active in Tokyo although we have members dotted around Japan.
What initiatives are you looking forward to in the next year?
Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, all regional games and the Asian Gaelic Games had to be canceled this year. We also had plans to offer training to Physical education teachers and to try to introduce GAA into schools. We would hope that things will gradually return to normal and that international travel will be possible next year and we will be able to travel to the Asian Games.
However equally important we would like to take the initiative to begin educating children in GAA with the aim to grow as a Club from grassroots. We would like to invite any Teachers that would like a coaching course on GAA to get in touch with us, and when safe and possible to introduce GAA into schools. We would like to encourage all opportunities to introduce GAA to the community and strengthen the ties between Ireland and Japan.
With the Olympics due to take place next year, we hope to be able to take part in some events to support Team Ireland and bring the Irish diaspora together. We held the North Asian Games in Narita in 2019 with the help and support from the IJCC due to their connection with Ireland as a Host Town for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Narita will be one of the host towns for Ireland during the Olympics, along with Fukuroi city in Shizuoka ken, and Matsue city and Masuda city in Shimane ken. Although there are no fixed plans due to the pandemic, we would like to promote Team Ireland there also.
Why is the involvement of the IJCC important?
We are very happy to have a long working relationship with the IJCC. In working with the IJCC we are able to expand our connections and relationships to introduce GAA to as many people as possible. Our organization also relies on sponsorship to survive and the IJCC has been very helpful over the years in helping introduce us to interested Sponsors with Irish interests.
How can ties between Ireland and Japan become closer?
The ties between Ireland and Japan have been continually growing closer over the years. As we have seen from the success of the Rugby World Cup 2019, sport can be a great way to bring nations together. I think the ties can become closer through sport, the GAA and a greater Irish cultural understanding that can be gained from being part of the GAA
We are always looking for new members at Japan GAA and all levels of fitness are welcome. Should anyone in another area of Japan be interested in developing GAA in their area, please don’t hesitate to contact us, we can help support, give advice and help you seek funding to develop GAA in other areas of Japan.
We can be reached on
japangaa [at] gmail.com,