A while back on Oldest Olympians, we covered the Japanese rowing delegation to the 1928 Amsterdam Games, and today we wanted to briefly cover a squad that is equally mysterious to us: the 1932 delegation. Japan entered two crews into the tournament in Los Angeles, one each for the coxed fours and the eights, and we know very little about both delegations.
(Umetaro Shibata, pictured on the left, at a ceremony of the Olympians Association of Japan)
We do know the biographical details of one member of the coxed fours crew that was eliminated in the round one repêchage: Shokichi Nanba, born September 26, 1911 in Tokyo and died January 24, 1995. Like the other members of his crew, Nanba represented Keio University, but Nanba later had a prominent career in business, which is why we know more about him. We have learned at least the date of birth of two others: Rokuro Takahashi and Umetaro Shibata were both born in 1909, and we covered Shibata in an earlier blog post because he was still alive in 2006 at the age of 97. About the other two members, Daikichi Suzuki and Norio Ban, we have no information.
As for the eights crew, from Waseda University, we know full biographical details for two of the rowers: Setsuji Tanaka and Hidemitsu Tanaka, the latter of whom later became a well-known novelist. For another two, Kenzo Ikeda and Setsuo Matsura, we are aware that they were born in Hiroshima Prefecture. For the others, Taro Nishidono, Shigeo Fujiwara, Yoshio Enomoto, Saburo Hara, and Toshi Sano, we have no biographical details, although we have learned that Enomoto is definitely deceased.