Tokyo — Rugby fever swept through Japan on Friday as fans flocked to Tokyo Stadium for the start of the 2019 World Cup, ushering in the tournament to Asia for the first time with a lavish opening ceremony inspired by Japanese-style festivals and Kabuki dance.

Japanese “taiko” drums set the beat as the names of the 20 participating countries were projected onto a likeness of Mount Fuji. Huge cheers went up for defending champions New Zealand but the biggest, of course, were reserved for hosts Japan.

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