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A brief history of the name sake of the "Imai Samurai Tournament" being played today.  This is a friendship tournament started a number of years ago to foster-good will between polo players from Japan and Hawaii and the ancient warrior spirit which is part of playing polo.

Samurai Cup Patron, Kunihiko Imai and Princess Noriko's contributions to Hawaii Polo began in the early 1970's when he, along with Toshiaki Kurihara and Yoritake Masudaira joined Clark Reynolds in the inaugural Hawaii ~ Japan Friendship Polo Match.

Polo in Japan began at Kapiolani Park in 1954, when Keishi Hamano and Colonel Innami, Olympic caliber equestrians, sought out Tommy Campos, Robert C. Allen and Clark Reynolds for polo lessons.  They shared their excitement with Prince Akihito, now Emperor Akihito, who was intrigued by this ancient sport.  Polo was soon played at the Palace among the young Prince's friends including Kuni Imai.

Kuni is a distinguished Professor of English literature with Gakushuin University in Tokyo, recently retired.  His bibliography on language and linguistics is extensive, perhaps 10 goals, a measure of expertise which he is also dedicated to achieve in his favorite pastime, polo.

Kuni is not with us today but we hope to see him back in the saddle here at the Honolulu Polo Club next year!

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