Japan national football team

Last updated

Japan national football team crest.svg
Nickname(s) サムライ・ブルー
(Samurai Blue)
Association Japan Football Association (JFA)
Confederation AFC (Asia)
Sub-confederation EAFF (East Asia)
Head coach Hajime Moriyasu
Captain Maya Yoshida
Most caps Yasuhito Endō (152)
Top scorer Kunishige Kamamoto (80) [1]
Home stadiumVarious
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First colours
Kit left arm jpn18a.png
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Second colours
FIFA ranking
Current 27 Increase2.svg 23 (7 February 2019) [2]
Highest9 (March 1998)
Lowest62 (December 1992)
Elo ranking
Current 23 Increase2.svg 19 (2 February 2019) [3]
Highest8 (August 2001, March 2002)
Lowest123 (September 1962)
First international
Flag of Japan (1870-1999).svg  Japan 0–5 China  Flag of the Republic of China 1912-1928.svg
(Tokyo; 9 May 1917) [4]
Biggest win
Flag of Japan (1870-1999).svg  Japan 15–0 Philippines  Flag of the Philippines (navy blue).svg
(Tokyo; 27 September 1967)
Biggest defeat
Flag of Japan (1870-1999).svg  Japan 2–15 Philippines  US flag 48 stars.svg
(Tokyo; 10 May 1917) [5]
World Cup
Appearances6 (first in 1998 )
Best resultRound of 16 (2002, 2010, 2018)
Asian Cup
Appearances9 (first in 1988 )
Best resultChampions (1992, 2000, 2004, 2011)
Copa América
Appearances2 (first in 1999 )
Best resultGroup Stage (1999)
Confederations Cup
Appearances5 (first in 1995 )
Best resultRunners-up (2001)

The Japan national football team(サッカー日本代表,Sakkā Nippon Daihyō) represents Japan in association football and is operated by the Japan Football Association (JFA), the governing body for football in Japan. The current head coach is former footballer and current coach of the Japan national under-23 football team: Hajime Moriyasu.

Japan Constitutional monarchy in East Asia

Japan is an island country in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies off the eastern coast of the Asian continent and stretches from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and the Philippine Sea in the south.

Association football team field sport

Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a team sport played with a spherical ball between two teams of eleven players. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries and dependencies, making it the world's most popular sport. The game is played on a rectangular field called a pitch with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by moving the ball beyond the goal line into the opposing goal.

Japan Football Association sports governing body

The Japan Football Association or Japan FA is the governing body responsible for the administration of football in Japan. It is responsible for the national team as well as club competitions.


Japan is one of the most successful teams in Asia, having qualified for the last six consecutive FIFA World Cups with second round advancements in 2002, 2010, and 2018, and having won the AFC Asian Cup a record four times, in 1992, 2000, 2004 and 2011. The team has also finished second in the 2001 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2019 AFC Asian Cup. Their principal continental rivals are South Korea and most recently, Australia.

Asia Earths largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern and Northern Hemispheres

Asia is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern and Northern Hemispheres. It shares the continental landmass of Eurasia with the continent of Europe and the continental landmass of Afro-Eurasia with both Europe and Africa. Asia covers an area of 44,579,000 square kilometres (17,212,000 sq mi), about 30% of Earth's total land area and 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area. The continent, which has long been home to the majority of the human population, was the site of many of the first civilizations. Asia is notable for not only its overall large size and population, but also dense and large settlements, as well as vast barely populated regions. Its 4.5 billion people constitute roughly 60% of the world's population.

FIFA World Cup association football competition for mens national teams

The FIFA World Cup, often simply called the World Cup, is an international association football competition contested by the senior men's national teams of the members of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the sport's global governing body. The championship has been awarded every four years since the inaugural tournament in 1930, except in 1942 and 1946 when it was not held because of the Second World War. The current champion is France, which won its second title at the 2018 tournament in Russia.

2002 FIFA World Cup 2002 edition of the FIFA World Cup

The 2002 FIFA World Cup was the 17th FIFA World Cup, the quadrennial world championship for men's national football teams organized by FIFA. It was held from 31 May to 30 June 2002 at sites in South Korea and Japan, with its final match hosted by Japan at International Stadium in Yokohama.

Japan is the only team from outside the Americas to participate in the Copa América, having been invited in 1999 and 2011. [6] Although they initially accepted the invitation for the 2011 tournament, the JFA later withdrew following the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. [7]

Americas landmass comprising the continents of North America and South America

The Americas comprise the totality of the continents of North and South America. Together, they make up most of the land in Earth's western hemisphere and comprise the New World.

CONMEBOL Copa América, known until 1975 as the South American Football Championship, is a men's international football tournament contested between national teams from CONMEBOL. It is the oldest international continental football competition. The competition determines the continental champion of South America. Since the 1990s, teams from North America and Asia have also been invited to participate.

1999 Copa América

The 1999 Copa América was a football tournament held in Paraguay, from June 29 to July 18. It was organized by CONMEBOL, South America's football governing body.


Pre-war Era (1910s–1930s)

Japan's earliest international matches were at the 1917 Far Eastern Championship Games in Tokyo, where it was represented by a team from the Tokyo Higher Normal School. Although Japan made strong showings in swimming, baseball, and track and field, its football team suffered resounding defeats to the Republic of China and the Philippines. [8] Nevertheless, the game was promoted in Japanese schools in the 1920s. [9] The Japan Football Association was formed in 1921, [10] and Japan joined FIFA in May 1929. [9]

The 1917 Far Eastern Championship Games was the third edition of the regional multi-sport event, contested between China, Japan and the Philippines, and was held from 8–12 May 1917 in Tokyo, Empire of Japan. A total of eight sports were contested, following the dropping of cycling from the programme after the 1915 games.

University of Tsukuba university in Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan

The University of Tsukuba, located in Tsukuba, Ibaraki, is one of the oldest national universities and one of the most comprehensive research universities in Japan. The university has 28 college clusters and schools with around 16,500 students. The main Tsukuba campus covers an area of 258 hectares, making it the second largest single campus in Japan. The branch campus is in Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, which offers graduate programs for working adults in the capital and manages K-12 schools in Tokyo that are attached to the university.

Japan's first "true" national team (as opposed to a university team chosen to represent the country) was fielded at the 1930 Far Eastern Championship Games, and drew with China for the championship title. [9] Shigeyoshi Suzuki coached the national team to its first Olympic appearance at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin. [10] Japan was an entrant for the 1938 FIFA World Cup qualification, but withdrew before its scheduled qualifying match against the Dutch East Indies. [11]

The 1930 Far Eastern Championship Games was the ninth edition of the regional multi-sport event and was held from 24–27 May 1930 in Tokyo, Empire of Japan. A total of eight sports were contested over the course of the five-day event.

Shigeyoshi Suzuki was a Japanese football player who played for and later managed the Japan national team.

1936 Summer Olympics games of the XI Olympiad, celebrated in Berlin in 1936

The 1936 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XI Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event held in 1936 in Berlin, Nazi Germany. Berlin won the bid to host the Games over Barcelona, Spain, on 26 April 1931, at the 29th IOC Session in Barcelona. It marked the second and final time the International Olympic Committee gathered to vote in a city that was bidding to host those Games.

After World War II began in earnest, Japan did not play in international competition, except for a handful of matches against Manchuria and other colonies. [9] Its last prewar match for purposes of Elo ratings was a friendly against the Philippines in June 1940. [12]

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

Manchukuo former Japan puppet state in China

Manchukuo was a puppet state of the Empire of Japan in Northeast China and Inner Mongolia from 1932 until 1945. It was founded as a republic, but in 1934 it became a constitutional monarchy. It had limited international recognition and was under the de facto control of Japan.

The World Football Elo Ratings is a ranking system for men's national association football teams that is published by the website eloratings.net. It is based on the Elo rating system but includes modifications to take various football-specific variables into account, like the margin of victory, importance of a match, and home field advantage. Other implementations of the Elo rating system are possible and there is no single nor any official Elo ranking for football teams.

While Korea was under Japanese rule, several Koreans played in international competition for Japan, including Kim Yong-sik (1936–40), Kim Sung-gan (1940) and Lee Yoo-hyung (1940).

Post-war Era (1950s–1980s)

Japan's postwar debut was in the 1951 Asian Games in India. [12] Japan re-joined FIFA in 1950 and played in qualifiers for the 1954 FIFA World Cup, but lost the AFC qualifying berth to South Korea after two matches, beginning an intense rivalry. [10] Japan also joined the Asian Football Confederation in 1954. [9]

Dettmar Cramer joined the Japan national team as coach in 1960, and helped lead the team to the round of eight at the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. [13] Japan's first major achievement in international football came in the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, where the team won the bronze medal. Although this result earned the sport increased recognition in Japan, the absence of a professional domestic league hindered its growth and Japan would not qualify for the FIFA World Cup until 30 years later. [14]

Japan made its first appearance in the Asian Cup in 1988, where they were eliminated in the group stage following a draw with Iran and losses to South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

The late 1980s saw concrete moves to professionalize the sport in Japan. JFA introduced a Special Licensed Player system in 1986, allowing a limited number of professional players to compete in the domestic semi-professional league. Action committees were held in 1988 and 1989 to discuss the introduction of a full professional league in Japan. [13]


In 1991, the owners of the semi-professional Japan Soccer League agreed to disband the league and re-form as the professional J.League, partly to raise the sport's profile and to strengthen the national team program. The following year Japan hosted and won the Asian Cup in their second appearance, defeating Saudi Arabia 1–0 in the final. The J.League was officially launched in 1993, causing interest in football and the national team to grow.

However, in its first attempt to qualify with professional players, Japan narrowly missed a ticket to the 1994 World Cup after drawing with Iraq in the final match of the qualification round, remembered by fans as the "Agony of Doha". Japan's next tournament was a defence of their continental title at the 1996 Asian Cup. The team won all their games in the group stage but were eliminated in the quarter-finals after a 2–0 loss to Kuwait.

The nation's first ever World Cup appearance was in 1998, where Japan lost all their games. The first two fixtures went 1–0 in favour of Argentina and Croatia, despite playing well in both matches. Their campaign ended with a 2–1 defeat to Jamaica.


Japan against Brazil at Signal Iduna Park in Dortmund, Germany in the 2006 FIFA World Cup WM2006 BRA-JPN2.JPG
Japan against Brazil at Signal Iduna Park in Dortmund, Germany in the 2006 FIFA World Cup

In the 2000 Asian Cup, Japan managed to reclaim their title after defeating Saudi Arabia in the final, becoming Asian Champions for the second time.

Two years later, Japan co-hosted the 2002 World Cup with South Korea. After a 2–2 draw with Belgium in their opening match, the Japanese team advanced to the second round with a 1–0 win over Russia and a 2–0 victory against Tunisia. However, they subsequently exited the tournament during the round of 16, after losing 1–0 to eventual third-place finishers Turkey.

On 8 June 2005, Japan qualified for the 2006 World Cup in Germany, its third consecutive World Cup, by beating North Korea 2–0 on neutral ground. However, Japan failed to advance to the Round of 16, losing to Australia 1–3, drawing Croatia 0–0 and losing to Brazil 1–4.


During the 2010 World Cup qualification, in the fourth round of the Asian Qualifiers, Japan became the first team other than the host South Africa to qualify after defeating Uzbekistan 1–0 away. Japan was put in Group E along with the Netherlands, Denmark and Cameroon. [15] Japan won its opening match of the 2010 World Cup 1–0 against Cameroon, but subsequently lost to the Netherlands 0–1 before defeating Denmark 3–1 to advance to the next round against Paraguay. In the first knockout round, Japan were eliminated from the competition following penalties after a 0–0 draw against Paraguay.

After the World Cup, head coach Takeshi Okada resigned. He was replaced by former Juventus and Milan coach Alberto Zaccheroni. In his first few matches, Japan recorded victories over Guatemala (2–1) and Paraguay (1–0), as well as one of their best ever results, a 1–0 victory over Argentina.

At the start of 2011, Japan participated in the 2011 AFC Asian Cup in Qatar. On 29 January, they beat Australia 1–0 in the final after extra time, their fourth Asian Cup triumph and allowing them to qualify for the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup. [16]

Japan then started their road to 2014 World Cup in Brazil with numerous qualifiers. Throughout, they suffered only two losses to Uzbekistan and Jordan, and drawing against Australia. Afterwards, on 12 October, Japan earned a historic 1–0 victory over France, a team they had never before defeated. After a 1–1 draw with Australia they qualified for the 2014 World Cup, becoming the first nation (outside of Brazil, who hosted the tournament and qualified automatically) to qualify.

Japan started their 2013 Confederations Cup campaign with a 3–0 loss to Brazil. They were then eliminated from the competition after losing to Italy 3–4 in a hard-fought match but received praise for their style of play in the match. They lost their final match 1–2 against Mexico and finished in fourth place in Group A. One month later, in the EAFF East Asian Cup, they started out with a 3–3 draw to China. They then beat Australia 3–2 and beat South Korea 2–1 in the third and final match in the 2013 EAFF East Asian Cup to claim the title. The road to Brazil looked bright as Japan managed a 2–2 draw with the Netherlands and a 2–3 victory over Belgium. This was followed by three straight wins against Cyprus, Costa Rica and Zambia.

Japan was placed into Group C at the 2014 World Cup alongside the Ivory Coast, Greece and Colombia. They fell in their first match to Ivory Coast 2–1 despite initially taking the lead, allowing two goals in a two-minute span. They drew their second game to Greece 0–0. To qualify for the second round, they needed a victory against Colombia and needed Greece to beat Ivory Coast. Greece beat Ivory Coast 2–1, but Japan could not perform well against Colombia and were beaten 4–1, eliminating them from the World Cup. Alberto Zaccheroni resigned as head coach after the World Cup. In July 2014, former Mexico and Espanyol manager Javier Aguirre took over and Japan lost 0–2 to Uruguay in the first game he managed.

Aguirre would begin a strong revamp of the team, switching out Zaccheroni's long-used 4–2–3–1 formation for his own 4–3–3 and applied this with a roster of the J.League's finest, dropping many regulars. A 2–2 draw against Venezuela was followed by a 1–0 victory over Jamaica. However, they lost their following match to Brazil 4–0, with Neymar scoring all four goals. Japan's sights turned to January and their title defense at the 2015 AFC Asian Cup.

Japan national team vs Paraguay 2008 Japan national team anthem vs Paraguay.jpg
Japan national team vs Paraguay 2008

Japan won its opening match at the 2015 AFC Asian Cup in Group D against Asian Cup debutantes Palestine 4–0, with goals from Yasuhito Endō, Shinji Okazaki, Keisuke Honda via a penalty and Maya Yoshida. Okazaki was named man of the match. They then faced Iraq and Jordan in their next group matches, which they won 1–0 and 2–0 respectively. They qualified to knockout stage as Group D winner with nine points, seven goals scored and no goals conceded. In the quarter-finals, Japan lost to the United Arab Emirates in a penalty shootout after a 1–1 draw, as Honda and Shinji Kagawa missed their penalty kicks. Japan's elimination marked their worst performance in the tournament in 19 years.

After the Asian Cup, Aguirre was sacked following allegations of corruption during a prior tenure. He was replaced by Vahid Halilhodžić in March 2015. Japan started on a rough note during qualification, losing to the UAE 1-2 at home. They then picked up the pace in their other qualifier games against Iraq, Australia, and Thailand, picking up 5 wins and 2 draws. Then, on 31 August 2017, Japan defeated Australia 2–0 at home thus qualifying them for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, making it their sixth successive World Cup. However, the Japan Football Association decided to sack Halilhodžić on 9 April 2018, only ten weeks before the World Cup finals, citing reasons of a breakdown in relationship between coach and player, and poor recent friendly results, and appoint the Technical Director, Japanese coach Akira Nishino, who had managed the Japanese Under-23 team at the 1996 Olympics, as the new manager. [17]

Japanese players before match with Iran at 2019 AFC Asian Cup IRN-JPN 20190128 03.jpg
Japanese players before match with Iran at 2019 AFC Asian Cup

Japan made history in the 2018 FIFA World Cup by defeating Colombia 2–1, their first ever victory by any AFC team against a CONMEBOL team in an official tournament, [18] as well as Japan's first ever victory at the FIFA World Cup finals in UEFA nations. Their second match ended in a draw against Senegal, with one goal scored by Takashi Inui and the other by Keisuke Honda. [19] Japan were defeated in their last group game in the Group H against Poland 0–1, [20] leaving Japan and Senegal tied for second with an identical record, however, as Japan had received two fewer yellow cards, Japan advanced to the knockout stage on the Fair Play Points tiebreaker, the first team to do so. [21] The match with Poland caused controversy; as Japan were made aware of their advantage over Senegal with ten minutes left and decided to play an extremely conservative game, passing the ball around to one another and keeping it in their own box, seeking to avoid any bookings and didn't attempt to take any serious shots on goal, despite losing 0–1, with some fans booing the players. [22] [23] [24] The match received comparison to the 1982 World Cup Disgrace of Gijón, in which a similar game was played. [25] Japan were the only AFC team to have qualified to the knockout stage. [26] In the Round of 16 against Belgium, Japan took a surprising 2–0 lead with a goal in the 48th minute by Genki Haraguchi and another in the 52nd by Takashi Inui, but yielded 3 goals afterwards, including the winner by Nacer Chadli on the counter attack in the 94th minute. This was Japan's third time having reached the last 16, equaling their best result at a World Cup. [27] Japan's defeat to eventual third-place finishers Belgium was the first time a nation had lost a knockout match at the World Cup after taking a two-goal advantage since England lost to West Germany 2–3 in extra-time in the quarter-final of the 1970 edition. [28] [29] However, Japan's impressive performance was praised by fans, pundits and medias for their fighting spirits, as demonstrated by Japan's win over Colombia, a draw to Senegal and a strong counter offensive against heavyweight Belgium. [30]


South Korea

Japan maintains a strong football rivalry with South Korea. Japan has played 78 matches against the South Korean football team with 14 victories, 22 draws, and 41 losses. The football rivalry is long-seated and is often seen as an extension of an overall historic rivalry between the two nations.


Japan began to develop a fierce rivalry with fellow Asian powerhouse Australia, shortly after the latter joined the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). [31] The rivalry is regarded as one of Asia's biggest football rivalries. [32] The rivalry is a relatively recent one, born from a number of highly competitive matches between the two teams since Australia joined the AFC in 2006. [33] The rivalry began at the 2006 World Cup where the two countries were grouped together, and continued with the two countries meeting regularly in various AFC competitions, such as the 2007 AFC Asian Cup, the 2011 AFC Asian Cup Final and the 2013 EAFF East Asian Cup. [34]


Japan also has a long standing rivalry with China, because of historical tensions between two countries in the past. China is leading the series with 16 wins, with Japan only has 14 wins; however Japan has achieved more successes than China.

Team image


The Japanese team is commonly known by the fans and media as Sakkā Nippon Daihyō(サッカー日本代表), Nippon Daihyō(日本代表), or Daihyō(代表) as abbreviated expressions. Although the team does not have an official nickname as such, it is often known by the name of the manager. For example, under Takeshi Okada, the team was known as Okada Japan(岡田ジャパン,Okada Japan). [35] Recently, the team has been known or nicknamed as the "Samurai Blue", while Japanese news media during the 2018 FIFA World Cup still referred it to by the recently departed manager's (Akira Nishino) last name, as "Nishino Japan"(西野ジャパン,Nishino Japan). [36] [37]

Fan chanting

Fans waving flags in support of the Japanese national team. Japan national football team fans with rising sun flag.JPG
Fans waving flags in support of the Japanese national team.

Japanese national team supporters are known for chanting "Nippon Ole" (Nippon is the Japanese word for Japan) at home matches. [38]


Boeing 777-289 Samurai Blue Jet JAL JA8979 Boeing 777-289 Samurai Blue Jet 2018 No.1 (Starboard) at Haneda.jpg
Boeing 777-289 Samurai Blue Jet

The national team kit design has gone through several alterations in the past. In the early 1980s, the kit was white with blue trim. The kits worn for the 1992 Asian Cup consisted of white stripes (stylized to form a wing) with red diamonds. During Japan's first World Cup appearance in 1996 Asian Cup and in 1998, the national team kits were blue jerseys with red and white flame designs on the sleeves, and were designed by JFA (with the sponsor alternating each year between Asics, Puma, and Adidas). The 1996 design was reproduced in a special kit used against Syria on 7 June 2017.

Japan uses blue and white rather than red and white due to a superstition. Japan used blue shirts in a 3–2 victory over Sweden in the first game of its maiden major international competition, the 1936 Summer Olympics. [39] When Japan was coached by Kenzo Yokoyama (1988–1992) the kits were red and white, matching the colors of Japan's national flag. After failures at 1990 FIFA World Cup and 1992 Summer Olympics qualifications, the red shirt was scrapped.

In the 2013 Confederations Cup and the 2015 AFC Asian Cup, Japan temporarily switched the colour of the numbers from white to gold.

Japan's kit is provided by German company Adidas, the team's exclusive kit supplier since April 1999. [40] Before that, Asics and Puma had been the team's official apparel sponsor alongside Adidas.

Kit suppliers

Kit supplierPeriodNotes
Asics, Puma, Adidas –April 1999
Adidas April 1999–presentExclusive kit supplier

Kit deals

Kit supplierPeriodContract
2015–2022 (8 years) [41] Disclosed [42]


JFA logo used on the kits (2009-2017) JFA Logo.svg
JFA logo used on the kits (2009–2017)

The crest or emblem of the national team was adopted in late 2017 as part of a larger rebranding by the Japan Football Association. [43] The crest features the Yatagarasu, a three-legged crow from Japanese mythology , holding a solid red football. The text "JFA" (for the Japan Football Association) is inscribed at the bottom of the crow. A red stripe is also present at the center of the shield behind the crow. The shield has a metallic gold trim and has a thicker black outline. The name of the country represented by the national team "Japan" is also inscribed within the black border. [44] [45]

The previous crest had a shield with a more complex shape. The ball held by the Yatagarasu had white details. The text "Japan" is absent and "JFA" is written in a different typeface. [44]


Japan has one of the highest sponsorship incomes for a national squad. In 2006 their sponsorship income amounted to over 16.5 million pounds.

Primary sponsors include Adidas, Kirin, Saison Card International, FamilyMart, JAL, MS&AD Insurance Group, Asahi Shinbun, Mizuho Financial, Daito Trust Construction and KDDI.


The mascots are "Karappe" (カラッペ) and "Karara" (カララ), two Yatagarasu wearing the Japan national football team uniform. The mascots were designed by Japanese manga artist Susumu Matsushita. Each year when a new kit is launched, the mascots change uniforms.

For the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the Pokémon character Pikachu served as the mascot. [46]

Recent results and fixtures




Coaching Staff

Hajime Moriyasu, current head coach of Japan Hajime Moriyasu.jpg
Hajime Moriyasu, current head coach of Japan
Head Coach Flag of Japan.svg Hajime Moriyasu
Assistant Coach TBD
Assistant Coach TBD
Goalkeeping Coach TBD
Fitness Coach TBD
Technical Director TBD


Current squad

The following 23 players have been called up for 2019 AFC Asian Cup. [47]
Caps and goals as of 1 February 2019 after the match against Qatar.

No.Pos.PlayerDate of birth (age)CapsGoalsClub
121 GK Shūichi Gonda (1989-03-03) 3 March 1989 (age 29)110 Flag of Portugal.svg Portimonense
11 GK Masaaki Higashiguchi (1986-05-12) 12 May 1986 (age 32)70 Flag of Japan.svg Gamba Osaka
231 GK Daniel Schmidt (1992-02-03) 3 February 1992 (age 27)20 Flag of Japan.svg Vegalta Sendai

52 DF Yuto Nagatomo (1986-09-12) 12 September 1986 (age 32)1163 Flag of Turkey.svg Galatasaray
222 DF Maya Yoshida (Captain) (1988-08-24) 24 August 1988 (age 30)9510 Flag of England.svg Southampton
192 DF Hiroki Sakai (1990-04-12) 12 April 1990 (age 28)551 Flag of France.svg Marseille
202 DF Tomoaki Makino (1987-05-11) 11 May 1987 (age 31)384 Flag of Japan.svg Urawa Red Diamonds
162 DF Takehiro Tomiyasu (1998-11-05) 5 November 1998 (age 20)91 Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Sint-Truiden
182 DF Tsukasa Shiotani (1988-11-05) 5 November 1988 (age 30)71 Flag of the United Arab Emirates.svg Al-Ain
22 DF Genta Miura (1995-03-01) 1 March 1995 (age 23)60 Flag of Japan.svg Gamba Osaka
32 DF Sei Muroya (1995-04-05) 5 April 1995 (age 23)60 Flag of Japan.svg FC Tokyo
42 DF Sho Sasaki (1989-10-02) 2 October 1989 (age 29)40 Flag of Japan.svg Sanfrecce Hiroshima

83 MF Genki Haraguchi (1991-05-09) 9 May 1991 (age 27)4710 Flag of Germany.svg Hannover 96
103 MF Takashi Inui (1988-06-02) 2 June 1988 (age 30)346 Flag of Spain.svg Alavés
73 MF Gaku Shibasaki (1992-05-28) 28 May 1992 (age 26)323 Flag of Spain.svg Getafe
63 MF Wataru Endo (1993-02-09) 9 February 1993 (age 26)200 Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Sint-Truiden
93 MF Takumi Minamino (1995-01-16) 16 January 1995 (age 24)135 Flag of Austria.svg Red Bull Salzburg
143 MF Junya Ito (1993-03-09) 9 March 1993 (age 25)122 Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Genk
173 MF Toshihiro Aoyama (1986-02-22) 22 February 1986 (age 32)121 Flag of Japan.svg Sanfrecce Hiroshima
213 MF Ritsu Doan (1998-06-16) 16 June 1998 (age 20)113 Flag of the Netherlands.svg Groningen

154 FW Yuya Osako (1990-05-18) 18 May 1990 (age 28)4114 Flag of Germany.svg Werder Bremen
134 FW Yoshinori Mutō (1992-07-15) 15 July 1992 (age 26)293 Flag of England.svg Newcastle United
114 FW Koya Kitagawa (1996-07-26) 26 July 1996 (age 22)80 Flag of Japan.svg Shimizu S-Pulse

Recent call-ups

The following players have been called up to the Japan squad in last 12 months.

Pos.PlayerDate of birth (age)CapsGoalsClubLatest call-up
GK Eiji Kawashima (1983-03-20) 20 March 1983 (age 35)880 Flag of France.svg Strasbourg 2018 FIFA World Cup
GK Kosuke Nakamura (1995-02-27) 27 February 1995 (age 23)40 Flag of Japan.svg Kashiwa Reysol 2018 FIFA World Cup

DF Ryosuke Yamanaka (1993-04-20) 20 April 1993 (age 25)11 Flag of Japan.svg Urawa Red Diamonds v. Flag of Kyrgyzstan.svg  Kyrgyzstan , 20 September 2018 INJ
DF Shintaro Kurumaya (1992-04-05) 5 April 1992 (age 26)40 Flag of Japan.svg Kawasaki Frontale v. Flag of Costa Rica.svg  Costa Rica , 11 September 2018
DF Naomichi Ueda (1994-10-24) 24 October 1994 (age 24)40 Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Cercle Brugge v. Flag of Costa Rica.svg  Costa Rica , 11 September 2018
DF Gōtoku Sakai RET (1991-03-14) 14 March 1991 (age 27)420 Flag of Germany.svg Hamburger SV 2018 FIFA World Cup
DF Gen Shoji (1992-12-11) 11 December 1992 (age 26)151 Flag of France.svg Toulouse 2018 FIFA World Cup
DF Masato Morishige (1987-05-21) 21 May 1987 (age 31)412 Flag of Japan.svg FC Tokyo v. Flag of Ukraine.svg  Ukraine , 27 March 2018
DF Tomoya Ugajin (1988-03-23) 23 March 1988 (age 30)10 Flag of Japan.svg Urawa Red Diamonds v. Flag of Ukraine.svg  Ukraine , 27 March 2018

MF Shoya Nakajima (1994-08-23) 23 August 1994 (age 24)62 Flag of Qatar.svg Al-Duhail 2019 AFC Asian Cup INJ
MF Hidemasa Morita (1995-05-10) 10 May 1995 (age 23)20 Flag of Japan.svg Kawasaki Frontale 2019 AFC Asian Cup INJ
MF Kento Misao (1996-04-16) 16 April 1996 (age 22)60 Flag of Japan.svg Kashima Antlers v. Flag of Kyrgyzstan.svg  Kyrgyzstan , 20 November 2018 INJ
MF Jun Amano (1991-07-19) 19 July 1991 (age 27)10 Flag of Japan.svg Yokohama F. Marinos v. Flag of Costa Rica.svg  Costa Rica , 11 September 2018
MF Tatsuya Ito (1997-06-26) 26 June 1997 (age 21)00 Flag of Germany.svg Hamburger SV v. Flag of Costa Rica.svg  Costa Rica , 11 September 2018
MF Hotaru Yamaguchi (1990-10-06) 6 October 1990 (age 28)452 Flag of Japan.svg Vissel Kobe v. Flag of Chile.svg  Chile , 7 September 2018
MF Ryota Oshima (1993-01-23) 23 January 1993 (age 26)50 Flag of Japan.svg Kawasaki Frontale v. Flag of Chile.svg  Chile , 7 September 2018 INJ
MF Makoto Hasebe RET (1984-01-18) 18 January 1984 (age 35)1142 Flag of Germany.svg Eintracht Frankfurt 2018 FIFA World Cup
MF Keisuke Honda RET (1986-06-13) 13 June 1986 (age 32)9837 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Melbourne Victory 2018 FIFA World Cup
MF Shinji Kagawa (1989-03-17) 17 March 1989 (age 29)9531 Flag of Turkey.svg Beşiktaş 2018 FIFA World Cup
MF Takashi Usami (1992-05-06) 6 May 1992 (age 26)263 Flag of Germany.svg Fortuna Düsseldorf 2018 FIFA World Cup
MF Yasuyuki Konno RET (1983-01-25) 25 January 1983 (age 36)934 Flag of Japan.svg Gamba Osaka 2018 FIFA World Cup
MF Yōsuke Ideguchi (1996-08-23) 23 August 1996 (age 22)122 Flag of Germany.svg Greuther Fürth 2018 FIFA World Cup PRE / INJ
MF Ryota Morioka (1991-04-12) 12 April 1991 (age 27)50 Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Anderlecht v. Flag of Ukraine.svg  Ukraine , 27 March 2018

FW Takuma Asano (1994-11-10) 10 November 1994 (age 24)183 Flag of Germany.svg Hannover 96 2019 AFC Asian Cup INJ
FW Kenyu Sugimoto (1992-11-18) 18 November 1992 (age 26)81 Flag of Japan.svg Urawa Red Diamonds v. Flag of Kyrgyzstan.svg  Kyrgyzstan , 20 November 2018
FW Yuma Suzuki (1996-04-26) 26 April 1996 (age 22)00 Flag of Japan.svg Kashima Antlers v. Flag of Venezuela (state).svg  Venezuela , 16 November 2018 INJ
FW Kengo Kawamata (1989-10-14) 14 October 1989 (age 29)91 Flag of Japan.svg Júbilo Iwata v. Flag of Uruguay.svg  Uruguay , 16 October 2018
FW Yu Kobayashi (1987-09-23) 23 September 1987 (age 31)142 Flag of Japan.svg Kawasaki Frontale v. Flag of Panama.svg  Panama , 12 October 2018 INJ
FW Shinji Okazaki (1986-04-16) 16 April 1986 (age 32)11650 Flag of England.svg Leicester City 2018 FIFA World Cup
FW Yūya Kubo (1993-12-24) 24 December 1993 (age 25)132 Flag of Germany.svg Nürnberg v. Flag of Ukraine.svg  Ukraine , 27 March 2018

INJ Withdrew due to an injury.
PRE Preliminary squad.
RET Retired from national team.
SUS Player suspended.


Statistics below are from matches which the Japan Football Association consider as official. [1] [48] [49] [50]

Updated to 1 February 2019:



As of 1 February 2019 [51]
MatchesWonDrawLostWin %
Flag of Japan (1870-1999).svg Masujiro Nishida 192320020%
Flag of Japan (1870-1999).svg Goro Yamada 192520020%
Flag of Japan (1870-1999).svg Shigeyoshi Suzuki (1st)1930211050%
Flag of Japan (1870-1999).svg Shigemaru Takenokoshi (1st)1934310233.33%
Flag of Japan (1870-1999).svg Shigeyoshi Suzuki (2nd)1936211050%
Flag of Japan (1870-1999).svg Shigemaru Takenokoshi (2nd)19401100100%
Flag of Japan (1870-1999).svg Hirokazu Ninomiya 1951311133.33%
Flag of Japan (1870-1999).svg Shigemaru Takenokoshi (3rd)1954–561224616.66%
Flag of Japan (1870-1999).svg Taizo Kawamoto 195820020%
Flag of Japan (1870-1999).svg Shigemaru Takenokoshi (4th)1958–591242633.33%
Flag of Japan (1870-1999).svg Hidetoki Takahashi 1961–19621432921.43%
Flag of Japan (1870-1999).svg Ken Naganuma (1st)1963–196931187658.06%
Flag of Japan (1870-1999).svg Shunichiro Okano 1970–197119112657.90%
Flag of Japan (1870-1999).svg Ken Naganuma (2nd)1972–1976421662038.09%
Flag of Japan (1870-1999).svg Hiroshi Ninomiya 1976–197827661522.22%
Flag of Japan (1870-1999).svg Yukio Shimomura 1979–19801484257.14%
Flag of Japan (1870-1999).svg Masashi Watanabe 1980320166.67%
Flag of Japan (1870-1999).svg Saburō Kawabuchi 1980–19811032530%
Flag of Japan (1870-1999).svg Takaji Mori 1981–1985432251651.16%
Flag of Japan (1870-1999).svg Yoshinobu Ishii 1986–198717112464.70%
Flag of Japan (1870-1999).svg Kenzo Yokoyama 1988–199124571220.83%
Flag of the Netherlands.svg Hans Ooft 1992–199327167459.25%
Flag of Brazil.svg Paulo Roberto Falcão 1994934233.33%
Flag of Japan (1870-1999).svg Shu Kamo 1994–19974623101350%
Flag of Japan (1870-1999).svg Takeshi Okada (1st)1997–19981554633.33%
Flag of France.svg Philippe Troussier 1998–20025023161146%
Flag of Brazil.svg Zico 2002–20067137161852.11%
Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina.svg Ivica Osim 2006–200720135365%
Flag of Japan.svg Takeshi Okada (2nd)2007–20105026131152%
Flag of Japan.svg Hiromi Hara (caretaker)20102200100%
Flag of Italy.svg Alberto Zaccheroni 2010–20145530121354.54%
Flag of Mexico.svg Javier Aguirre 2014–20151071270%
Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina.svg Vahid Halilhodžić 2015–201836218757.58%
Flag of Japan.svg Akira Nishino 2018721428.57%
Flag of Japan.svg Hajime Moriyasu 2018–201912101187.89%
MatchesWonDrawLostWin %

Competitive record

*Denotes draws includes knockout matches decided on penalty shootouts. Red border indicates that the tournament was hosted on home soil. Gold, silver, bronze backgrounds indicate 1st, 2nd and 3rd finishes respectively. Bold text indicates best finish in tournament.

FIFA World Cup

FIFA World Cup Finals record Qualifications record
Hosts / yearResultPositionGPWD*LGSGAGPWDLGSGA
Flag of Uruguay.svg 1930 Did Not EnterNo qualification
Flag of Italy (1861-1946).svg 1934 Did not enter
Flag of France (1794-1815, 1830-1958).svg 1938 WithdrewWithdrew
Flag of Brazil (1889-1960).svg 1950 Suspended from FIFASuspended from FIFA
Flag of Switzerland.svg 1954 Did not qualify201137
Flag of Sweden.svg 1958 Did not enterDid not enter
Flag of Chile.svg 1962 Did not qualify200214
Flag of England.svg 1966 Did not enterDid not enter
Flag of Mexico.svg 1970 Did not qualify402248
Flag of Germany.svg 1974 410354
Flag of Argentina.svg 1978 401305
Flag of Spain.svg 1982 420242
Flag of Mexico.svg 1986 8512155
Flag of Italy.svg 1990 623173
Flag of the United States (Pantone).svg 1994 13931356
Flag of France.svg 1998 Group Stage31st300314159515112
Flag of South Korea (1997-2011).svg Flag of Japan.svg 2002 Round of 169th421153Qualified as hosts
Flag of Germany.svg 2006 Group Stage28th301227121101255
Flag of South Africa.svg 2010 Round of 169th42114214842239
Flag of Brazil.svg 2014 Group Stage29th30122614833308
Flag of Russia.svg 2018 Round of 1615th411267181332447
TotalRound of 166/21215511202912068262624785

AFC Asian Cup