At 89 years old, Hiroshi Kagawa was the oldest member of the press corps at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™, and the Japanese journalist was covering his tenth global finals. His first was in 1974, in West Germany, and he was at the Final at the old Olympiastadion in Munich, a game that inspired him to embark on a globetrotting career covering the beautiful game.
“This game was the genesis of modern football,” Kagawa told FIFA.com at Brazil 2014.
His remarkable journalistic career spans more than six decades. The first story of that career was published in 1951, about Swedish side Helsingborg’s visit to Kyoto. During the years since, he has seen his country evolve into a football powerhouse, even hosting a World Cup finals. It was not easy convincing his countrymen that football was worthwhile though. “Football was very low, behind baseball and even behind rugby,” Kagawa said of post-war Japan.
Thanks to his dispatches and his passion, his desire to illuminate and transmit the virtues of the world’s game, Japanese football has blossomed. He saw his team qualify for its first World Cup in 1998. “The pride I felt was bigger than you can imagine,” he recalled.
For his unstinting dedication to bringing football to a wider audience, his remarkable passion for the game and his commitment to his profession, Kagawa follows sporting luminaries Pele, Sir Alex Ferguson and Jacques Rogge in receiving the FIFA Presidential Award.