Rugby Stonehenge? Hanazono Rugby Stadium, Osaka, Japan!

Stonehenge at Osaka, photo by @T0m0yeab0ii on Instagram

Japan has its share of large Stonehenges. We have posted the impressive one at the Gunma Observatory and the glorious one (with Buddhist shrine inside and a line of moai nearby!!!) at Makomanai Takino Cemetery in Sapporo. Here is yet another one, large and handsome, at Hanazono Rugby Stadium in Osaka. We’re guessing the thinking went: “Rugby is English, and what else is English? Stonehenge! We’ll build a Stonehenge!”

At any rate, the construction is suitably rugged in style to match the game. It isn’t a full Stonehenge like the others in Japan, but a bit abstract with several solid trilithons. For the Clonehenge connoisseur it is reminiscent of the exceptional Stonehenge in Odessa, Texas. In one article the Daily Mail captioned their photo with the curious words “Stonehenge-like objects”.

We would love to know more, though. Whose idea was this? What was their thinking? Who designed it? Who built it? Where did the stone come from and what kind is it? Is there a plaque or some kind of dedication? If anyone can give us answers, we would be grateful.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kintetsu_Hanazono_rugby_stadium_Entrance_2018.jpg photo of Hanazono stadium from Wikipedia, showing a section of the Stonehenge-ish things

In the 12 years we’ve been doing this blog, many new Stonehenges have appeared. We think the form’s popularity is due at least partly to the satisfaction of visiting a sculpture or construction that offers familiarity, simplicity, large size, and the pleasure of being able to interact with it, to actually walk through it. Add the hint of the ancient and of mystery that is associated with even the idea of Stonehenge and you have an attraction that many people will be eager to visit.

It has been suggested that a Stonehenge much like the real one be built near the original Stonehenge, to offer visitors the full experience of the stones without further threatening the ancient monument itself, many aspects of which, despite its rugged appearance, are fragile. As we are among those who have seen firsthand the damage created at Avebury and West Kennet Long Barrow by public free access there, we have to agree that a close imitation offering the spacial and tactile experience of the stone circle would in the long run serve the public well.

Future generations would appreciate the preservation of the original and current generations would benefit by the extraordinary experience of walking freely in the circle, feeling the extraordinary ambience the stones create just by their form, size, and positioning. Even better might be two imitation Stonehenges with access, one as the monument stands now and one how it is envisioned to have been if and when it was completed.

But that’s far afield from Hanazono! Blood, sweat and rugby! And Stonehenge! A winning combination.

And until next time, friends, happy henging!

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