The stadium stands as a testament to the indomitable spirit of the people of Kamaishi and will act as a beacon of hope and inspiration for generations to come
– Bill Beaumont, World Rugby chair
Construction is nearing completion on the only new stadium being built for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.
The 16,000-capacity Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium in Iwate Prefecture will host two fixtures at next year’s tournament. It will first open on the 19 August 2018 for a memorial match between the Kamaishi Seawaves Rugby Football Club and Top League side Yamaha Jubilo, in honour of those who lost their lives in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, which caused devastation across the city of Kamaishi.
Built on the former site of local elementary and junior high schools, construction of the stadium began in April 2017. It has a permanent capacity for 6,000 spectators, with 10,000 additional temporary seats to be added for the World Cup.
The design is inspired, in part, by the surrounding environment – which includes the Unosumai River and Pacific Ocean on one side, and steep mountainous terrain on the other. The roof structure evokes the image of a bird’s wings and the sail of a boat.
"We are proud to play the opening match at this great stadium, completed with the support and vision of so many people,” said Yoshihiko Sakuraba, general manager of Kamaishi Seawaves RFC and an official World Cup ambassador.
“It’s an honour to welcome our friends from Yamaha Jubilo, who were the first rugby team to come to Kamaishi to support us during the reconstruction effort following the earthquake and tsunami. This stadium remembers the past, honours the present and looks forward to the future. The game on 19 August will be a great step forward in the ongoing recovery of Kamaishi and the lead up to our city hosting the Rugby World Cup in 2019.”
The chair of World Rugby, Bill Beaumont, added: “The opening of the Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium will mark a very special moment on the journey to Rugby World Cup 2019. The stadium stands as a testament to the indomitable spirit of the people of Kamaishi and will act as a beacon of hope and inspiration for generations to come, providing an important legacy for the future of this region of Japan that has rugby at its heart.”
Twelve venues will be used in the World Cup, including the International Stadium Yokohama, the Misaki Park Stadium in Kobe and the 45,000-capacity Toyota Stadium.