Best Japanese Football Players of All Time

Since 1998 Japan has been consistent in World Cups. Let us look at some of the best Japanese Football players of all time.

Japan has a vibrant history in football. They have produced some great players in the history of football. Recently, a team knocked out the Germans from the 2018 FIFA World Cup. They are known for their Asian dominance. Here’s a look at some of the Best Japanese players.

10. Yuji Nakazawa (1999-2010, 110 caps, 17 goals)

One of the only four Japanese footballers who reached a century of caps for Japan. Yuji was a tough defender who had the knack for scoring goals.

Yuji Nakazawa - Player profile | Transfermarkt
Yuji Nakazawa (Transfermarkt)

After captaining the team at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, he retired from international football. Yuji scored 17 goals for his team, and some came in a crucial game.

9. Junichi Inamoto (2000-present, 83 caps, five goals)

Inamoto is one of the first Japanese players who got the chance in European football. First, he represented Arsenal but then moved to Fulham in 2002, where he scored goals against the likes of Manchester United, but a broken leg ended his time in West London.

Junichi Inamoto | Players | Men | Arsenal.com
Junichi Inamoto (Arsenal)

He was the leading scorer for his country at the 2002 World Cup and scored against Belgium and Russia. After that, however, he couldn’t sustain himself longer at the highest level due to a lack of self-belief.

8. Shinji Okazaki (2008-present, 73 caps, 38 goals)

Okazaki still works his way up to the Japanese national side’s goal scoring sheets. He is currently tied for third with Hiromi Hara. 

Leicester City fans will love what club legend Shinji Okazaki has said
Shinji Okazaki (Foxes of Leicester)

During his five-year spell with Shimizu S-Pulse, the attacker was quite successful, which earned him a 2010 switch to Bundesliga with Stuttgart. He also scored the game’s only goal when Japan defeated Argentina in October 2010.

7. Keisuke Honda (2008-Present 53 caps, 20 goals)

Japan had never won a World Cup fixture away from their home soil until 2010 when Honda struck a goal to seal victory for Japan against Cameroon. 

Keisuke Honda - Player profile | Transfermarkt
Keisuke Honda (Transfer Market)

FIFA voted him as the Man of the Match in three of Japan’s four matches at the tournament, and was also the Japanese Player of the Year. Honda has represented several big European clubs like AC Milan. CSKA Moscow.

6. Shunsuke Nakamura (2000-2010, 98 caps, 24 goals) 

Nakamura has produced some memorable moments during his years at Parkhead. Before his move to Scotland in 2005, he was linked with many clubs, including Athletico Madrid and Borussia Dortmund.

Shunsuke Nakamura names surprising most memorable Celtic moment
Shunsuke Nakamura (The Celtic Bhoys)

He has scored 24 goals for his country and was among the top players for Celtic. Nakamura showed what he is capable of at the 2004 Asian Championships, where he was named the Most Valuable Player.

5. Yasuhito Endo (2002-Present, 141 Caps, 12 goals)

Endo has stints early in his career with Yokohama Flugels and Kyoto Purple Sanga and has made the J-League Team of the Season 10 times.

J-Files Vol. 1: Yasuhito Endo | Goal.com
Yasuhito Endo (Goal)

A two-time winner of the Asian Cup in 2004 and 2007, Endo scored one of the goals in the 2-1 win over Denmark at the 2010 World Cup.

4. Hidetoshi Nakata (1997-2006, 77 caps, 11 goals)

Nakata called time to his career at the early age of just 29. However, he had a significant impact in Italy when he won the Serie A title with AS Roma.

Jonas Adnan Giæver Twitterissä: "HIDETOSHI NAKATA🇯🇵 A cult-hero and a  legend for any child growing up in the 90's. Nakata was perhaps most known  for his stints at Perugia and Parma, but
Hidetoshi Nakata (Twitter)

He scored five times when Japan qualified for their first World Cup in 1998. 

3. Shinji Kagawa (2008-present, 54 caps, 17 goals)

Shinji Kagawa is regarded as Japan’s best footballer ever. He had represented the likes of Borussia Dortmund and even helped them win the Bundesliga twice. 

Shinji Kagawa - Japan | Player Profile | Sky Sports Football
Shinji Kagawa (Sky Sports)

Kagawa is known for his playmaking abilities and has helped Japan win the Asian Cup. Having scored 17 goals for this country, Kagwa was voted Asia’s International Player of the Year.

2. Kazuyoshi Miura (1990-2000, 89 caps, 55 goals)

Miura currently leads the attack of the J-League second division at the age of 47. He is Japan’s second-leading goalscorer with 55 goals.

Kazuyoshi Miura - Player profile 2022 | Transfermarkt
Kazuyoshi Miura (Transfer Market)

He was the first Japanese footballer to appear in Serie A in 1994. 

1. Kunishige Kamamoto (1964-1977, 84 caps, 80 goals)

Kamamoto was the first superstar Japan has produced. Over his 17 year association with Yanmar Diesel, the centre-forward fired in over 250 goals. 

Kunishige kamamoto Archives - Playersaga
Kunishige Kamamoto (Players Saga)

He remains the leading goalscorer for Japan with 80 goals and has helped them win the bronze medal at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico.

Written by SUDIP TALUKDER

Alex Sandro with his wife Natalia Regina. (Picture was taken from Oh My Football)

Natalia Regina- Alex Sandro Wife, her family and more

Steve Gerrard

Liverpool’s all-time leading goalscorers