The American football club at Hosei University in Tokyo will change its name from "Tomahawks" to "Orange" -- the team color -- over concerns the old name is a form of discrimination against native North Americans.
Whether including tomahawk axes in sports teams' logos -- as well as team names such as the Washington Redskins of the National Football League, and the Cleveland Indians and Atlanta Braves of Major League Baseball -- is discriminatory has long been debated in the United States and Canada. However, it is unusual for a Japanese sports team to change its name over the issue.
The change was announced at a Jan. 18 event held in Tokyo by Hosei football club sponsor Dome Corp., a sporting goods distributor.
"The (tomahawks) moniker deviates from the diversity promoted by the university. We will clear away this empty legacy of the past, and play free and progressive football with all our strength," said Dome managing director Yoshiaki Imate, a Hosei graduate and former member of the football club.
The Hosei University American football club was founded in 1935, and has won the Japanese university league's Mainichi Koshien Bowl championship five times.