All Blacks legend John Kirwan, due to quit as Japan coach following their dismal showing at the World Cup, says he hopes the 2019 tournament they host will be a "very Japanese" fusion of sushi and sport.
Kirwan has stayed on in New Zealand, his home country, after the Brave Blossoms finished at the bottom of Pool A with three losses and one draw, identical to their tally in France 2007 when he also piloted them.
Kirwan, who confirmed last week that he would not seek a new contract with Japan when his current five-year deal expires in December, said the World Cup in New Zealand had been "intimate."
"Anyone who has been to a game here will also say how great the atmosphere has been and how the buildup really reflects our culture," he wrote in his column in the Daily Yomiuri published on Saturday.
The 46-year-old former wing, who was the hero of the All Blacks when they won the inaugural 1987 World Cup at home, added: "I would like to think the 2019 tournament will be a very Japanese affair."
"Imagine having a fan zone in Ginza (Tokyo's upscale shopping and entertainment district) with supporters getting the opportunity to have some good cheap sushi with their beer," he said.
"Camper vans have been the rage here but I hope plans are put in place so fans in eight years time can use the Shinkansen (bullet train) to visit some of the great cities and sites that Japan has to offer."
"What goes on on the field needs to work in harmony with the off-field activities and I still believe the 2019 tournament will be a huge success," he added.
Japan, perennial Asian champions but minnows in world rugby, won the right in 2009 to host the World Cup in 2019 as the first Asian nation to do so as the International Rugby Board sought to globalise the sport.
But rugby has remained a sport with limited popular support in a country crazy about baseball, football and sumo.
Only one of Japan's four Pool A matches was broadcast live on Japanese terrestrial television. Their other matches were only broadcast live on a paid satellite sports channel.
"There has been a real village-like atmosphere and the JRFU (Japan Rugby Football Union) needs to start thinking what it can do to make its tournament unique, not just from a logistical point of view but from a feeling point of view."
Kirwan, who ended his playing career with a Japanese club and previously coached Italy, had hoped to raise Japan, currently ranked 15th in the world, into a top-eight rugby nation before 2019.
"I am very proud of what the team have achieved and hope they go from strength to strength in the future," he said.
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