Japan national football team

This article is about the men's team. For the women's team, see Japan women's national football team.
Nickname(s) サムライ・ブルー
(Samurai Blue)
Association 日本サッカー協会
(Japan Football Association)
Confederation AFC (Asia)
Sub-confederation EAFF (East Asia)
Head coach Vahid Halilhodžić
Captain Makoto Hasebe
Most caps Yasuhito Endō (152)
Top scorer Kunishige Kamamoto (80)[1]
First colours
Second colours
FIFA ranking
Current 45 Increase 6 (24 November 2016)
Highest 9 (February–March 1998)
Lowest 62 (December 1992)
Elo ranking
Current 26 (10 July 2016)
Highest 8 (August 2001, March 2002)
Lowest 60 (September 1962)
First international
 Japan 0–5 Republic of China 
(Tokyo; 9 May 1917)[2]
Biggest win
 Japan 15–0 Philippines 
(Tokyo; 27 September 1967)
Biggest defeat
 Japan 2–15 Philippines 
(Tokyo; 10 May 1917)[3]
World Cup
Appearances 5 (first in 1998)
Best result Round of 16, 2002 and 2010
Asian Cup
Appearances 8 (first in 1988)
Best result Champions, 1992, 2000, 2004 and 2011
Copa América
Appearances 1 (first in 1999)
Best result Group Stage, 1999
Confederations Cup
Appearances 5 (first in 1995)
Best result Runners-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 association football in Japan. The current head coach is Vahid Halilhodžić.[4]

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

Japan is the only team from outside the Americas to participate in the Copa América, having been invited in 1999 and 2011.[5] Although they initially accepted the invitation for the 2011 tournament, the JFA later withdrew following the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.[6]

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).[7] Recently the team has been known or nicknamed as the "Samurai Blue", while Japanese news media still refer it to by the manager's last name, as "Halilhodžić Japan" (ハリルホジッチジャパン Hariruhojitchi Japan), or "Halil Japan" (ハリルジャパン Hariru Japan) in an abbreviated form.[8][9]


Japan against Brazil at Signal Iduna Park in Dortmund, Germany in the 2006 FIFA World Cup

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.[10] However 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, United Arab Emirates, and Qatar.

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 FIFA 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 defense of their continental title at the 1996 Asian Cup. The team won all their games in the group stage but were eliminated in the quarterfinals after a 2–0 loss to Kuwait.

The nation's first ever FIFA World Cup appearance was in 1998, where Japan lost all their games. The first two fixtures went 1–0 in favor of Argentina and Croatia, despite playing well in both games. Their campaign ended with a 2–1 defeat to Jamaica. 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 FIFA World Cup with South Korea. After a 2–2 draw with Belgium in their opening game, 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 June 8, 2005, Japan qualified for the 2006 FIFA 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 FIFA 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.[11] Japan won its opening game of the 2010 FIFA World Cup defeating Cameroon 1–0 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 AC 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 FIFA Confederations Cup.[12]

Japan then started their road to 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil with numerous qualifiers. Throughout they suffered only two losses to Uzbekistan and Jordan, and drawing against Australia. Afterwards on October 12, Japan picked up 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 FIFA World Cup, becoming the first nation (outside of Brazil, who is hosting the tournament) to qualify.

Japan started their 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup 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 game 1–2 against Mexico and finished 4th place in Group A in the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup. 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 3rd 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 grouped with 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 FIFA 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.

Javier 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 game 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 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 also named as man of the match. They faced Iraq and Jordan in their next group matches which they won 1–0 and 2–0. 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 UAE 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 nineteen 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 possesses a strong rivalry with South Korea. Japan has played 76 matches against the South Korean football team with 14 victories, 22 draws, and 40 losses. The football rivalry is long-seated and is often seen as an extension of an overall rivalry that runs deep between the two nations. Controversies occasionally flare up between matches between the two nations, most recently at the 2013 EAFF East Asian Cup, where at the final match of the tournament, played between South Korea and Japan on 28 July, South Korean fans booed the start of the Japanese anthem and later upped the political sloganeering with a banner that covered most of the width of one end of the ground that read, in Korean, "The nation that forgets history has no future."(Korean: 역사를 잊은 민족에게 미래는 없다),[13] in response to the Japanese Rising Sun Flag, apparently aiming at the Japanese leaders' reluctance to admit to wrongdoings during its militaristic and colonial past, after they displayed huge pictures of Ahn Jung-geun, who assassinated the first Prime Minister of Japan and then-Japanese Resident-General of Korea Itō Hirobumi back in 1909, and Yi Sun-sin, a Korean naval commander who is famed for his victories against the Japanese navy during the Imjin war in the Joseon Dynasty back in the 16th century.[14]

Japan began to develop a fierce rivalry with fellow Asian powerhouse Australia, shortly after the latter joined the AFC.[15] The rivalry is regarded as one of Asia's biggest football rivalries.[16] The rivalry is a relatively recent one, born from a number of highly competitive matches between the two teams since Australia joined the Asian Football Confederation in 2006.[17] The rivalry began at the 2006 FIFA World Cup where the two countries were grouped together. The rivalry 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.[18]

Team image

Supporters of the Japanese national team during a friendly match against Bosnia and Herzegovina. January 30, 2008

Fan Chanting

Japanese national team supporters are known for chanting "Nippon Ole" (Nippon is the Japanese term for Japan) at home matches.[19]

Kits and colours

Japan's current kit is provided by German company Adidas, the team's official apparel sponsor since 1986. The current contract with Adidas is set to end on December 31, 2015.[20]

The current home kit consists of a blue jersey with Japan's crest and flag on the chest, blue shorts with bright pink patches on the side and blue socks with pink tops. The away kit is neon yellow, accented with navy blue and orange. In 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup and 2015 AFC Asian Cup, Japan temporarily switched the color of the numbers from white to gold.

Prior to Adidas, Asics and Puma had been the team's official apparel sponsor. The national team kit design has gone through several alterations in the past. In the early 80s, the kit was white with blue trim. When Japan was coached by Kenzo Yokoyama (1988–1991) the kits were red and white, matching the colors of Japan's national flag. The kits worn for the 1992 AFC Asian Cup consisted of white stripes (stylized to form a wing) with red diamonds. During Japan's first World Cup appearance 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).

Japan uses blue and white rather than red and white due to a superstition. In its first major international competition, the 1936 Summer Olympics, Japan used a blue kit in the match against Sweden and Japan won the match by a score of 3–2.[21]



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, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance, Sony, Asahi Shinbun, Konami, Mizuho Financial and Audi.[22]


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.[23]

Competitive record

All time results

Recent results and fixtures

Date Opponent Result Score* Venue Competition
24 March 2016  Afghanistan W 5–0 Japan Saitama Stadium 2002, Saitama, Japan 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification – AFC Second Round
29 March 2016  Syria W 5–0 Japan Saitama Stadium 2002, Saitama, Japan 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification – AFC Second Round
3 June 2016  Bulgaria W 7–2 Japan Toyota Stadium, Toyota, Japan Kirin Cup Soccer 2016 Semi Final
7 June 2016  Bosnia and Herzegovina L 1–2 Japan Suita City Football Stadium, Suita, Japan Kirin Cup Soccer 2016 Final
1 September 2016  United Arab Emirates L 1–2 Japan Saitama Stadium 2002, Saitama, Japan 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification – AFC Third Round
6 September 2016  Thailand W 2–0 Thailand Rajamangala Stadium, Bangkok, Thailand 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification – AFC Third Round
6 October 2016  Iraq W 2–1 Japan Saitama Stadium 2002, Saitama, Japan 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification – AFC Third Round
11 October 2016  Australia D 1–1 Australia Docklands Stadium, Melbourne, Australia 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification – AFC Third Round
11 November 2016  Oman W 4–0 Japan Kashima Soccer Stadium, Kashima, Japan Kirin Challenge Cup 2016
15 November 2016  Saudi Arabia W 2–1 Japan Saitama Stadium 2002, Saitama, Japan 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification – AFC Third Round
23 March 2017  United Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification – AFC Third Round
28 March 2017  Thailand Japan Saitama Stadium 2002, Saitama, Japan 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification – AFC Third Round
13 June 2017  Iraq Iran Iran 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification – AFC Third Round
31 August 2017  Australia Japan Saitama Stadium 2002, Saitama, Japan 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification – AFC Third Round
5 September 2017  Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia King Fahd International Stadium, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification – AFC Third Round

* Japan score always listed first

  Win   Draw   Loss


Position Name
Head Coach Bosnia and Herzegovina Vahid Halilhodžić
Assistant Coach France Jacky Bonnevay
Assistant Coach Japan Makoto Teguramori
Physical Coach France Cyril Moine
Conditioning Coach Japan Naoki Hayakawa
Goalkeeping Coach Bosnia and Herzegovina Enver Lugušić
Goalkeeping Coach Japan Yukiya Hamano


Current squad

0#0 Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1GK Eiji Kawashima (1983-03-20) 20 March 1983 72 0 France Metz
1GK Shūsaku Nishikawa (1986-06-18) 18 June 1986 31 0 Japan Urawa Red Diamonds
1GK Masaaki Higashiguchi (1986-05-12) 12 May 1986 2 0 Japan Gamba Osaka

2DF Yūto Nagatomo (1986-09-12) 12 September 1986 91 3 Italy Internazionale
2DF Maya Yoshida (1988-08-24) 24 August 1988 71 9 England Southampton
2DF Masato Morishige (1987-05-21) 21 May 1987 39 2 Japan FC Tokyo
2DF Gōtoku Sakai (1991-03-14) 14 March 1991 33 0 Germany Hamburg
2DF Hiroki Sakai (1990-04-12) 12 April 1990 32 0 France Marseille
2DF Tomoaki Makino (1987-05-11) 11 May 1987 24 2 Japan Urawa Red Diamonds
2DF Yuichi Maruyama (1989-06-16) 16 June 1989 2 0 Japan FC Tokyo
2DF Naomichi Ueda (1994-10-24) 24 October 1994 0 0 Japan Kashima Antlers

3MF Makoto Hasebe (1984-01-18) 18 January 1984 104 2 Germany Eintracht Frankfurt
3MF Shinji Kagawa (1989-03-17) 17 March 1989 84 27 Germany Borussia Dortmund
3MF Hiroshi Kiyotake (1989-11-12) 12 November 1989 43 5 Spain Sevilla
3MF Hotaru Yamaguchi (1990-10-06) 6 October 1990 30 2 Japan Cerezo Osaka
3MF Yūki Kobayashi (1992-04-24) 24 April 1992 2 1 Netherlands Heerenveen
3MF Yosuke Ideguchi (1996-08-23) 23 August 1996 0 0 Japan Gamba Osaka
3MF Ryota Nagaki (1988-06-04) 4 June 1988 1 0 Japan Kashima Antlers

4FW Shinji Okazaki (1986-04-16) 16 April 1986 106 49 England Leicester City
4FW Keisuke Honda (1986-06-13) 13 June 1986 86 36 Italy Milan
4FW Genki Haraguchi (1991-05-09) 9 May 1991 20 6 Germany Hertha Berlin
4FW Yuya Osako (1990-05-18) 18 May 1990 17 5 Germany 1. FC Köln
4FW Takuma Asano (1994-11-10) 10 November 1994 10 2 Germany Stuttgart
4FW Manabu Saitō (1990-04-04) 4 April 1990 6 1 Japan Yokohama F. Marinos
4FW Yuya Kubo (1993-12-24) 24 December 1993 2 0 Switzerland Young Boys

Recent call-ups

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

Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club Latest call-up
GK Akihiro Hayashi (1987-05-07) 7 May 1987 0 0 Japan Sagan Tosu v.  Thailand, 6 September 2016
GK Yūji Rokutan (1987-04-10) 10 April 1987 0 0 Japan Vegalta Sendai Training camp March 2016

DF Kōsuke Ōta (1987-07-23) 23 July 1987 6 0 Netherlands Vitesse v.  Australia, 11 October 2016
DF Wataru Endo (1993-02-09) 9 February 1993 7 0 Japan Urawa Red Diamonds v.  Thailand, 6 September 2016
DF Gen Shōji (1992-12-11) 11 December 1992 2 0 Japan Kashima Antlers v.  Thailand, 6 September 2016
DF Hiroki Fujiharu (1988-11-28) 28 November 1988 3 0 Japan Gamba Osaka v.  Syria, 29 March 2016
DF Tsukasa Shiotani (1988-12-05) 5 December 1988 2 0 Japan Sanfrecce Hiroshima Training camp March 2016
DF Kōki Yonekura (1988-05-17) 17 May 1988 2 0 Japan Gamba Osaka Training camp March 2016
DF Shintarō Kurumaya (1992-04-05) 5 April 1992 0 0 Japan Kawasaki Frontale Training camp March 2016

MF Yōsuke Kashiwagi (1987-12-15) 15 December 1987 11 0 Japan Urawa Red Diamonds v.  Australia, 11 October 2016
MF Takashi Usami (1992-05-06) 6 May 1992 18 3 Germany Augsburg v.  Thailand, 6 September 2016 INJ
MF Mū Kanazaki (1989-02-16) 16 February 1989 10 2 Japan Kashima Antlers v.  Bosnia and Herzegovina, 7 June 2016
MF Gaku Shibasaki (1992-05-28) 28 May 1992 12 3 Japan Kashima Antlers Training camp March 2016
MF Takuji Yonemoto (1990-12-03) 3 December 1990 2 0 Japan FC Tokyo Training camp March 2016
MF Yasushi Endō (1988-04-07) 7 April 1988 0 0 Japan Kashima Antlers Training camp March 2016
MF Tomoya Ugajin (1988-03-23) 23 March 1988 0 0 Japan Urawa Red Diamonds Training camp March 2016

FW Yu Kobayashi (1987-09-23) 23 September 1987 8 0 Japan Kawasaki Frontale v.  Australia, 11 October 2016
FW Yoshinori Mutō (1992-07-15) 15 July 1992 19 2 Germany Mainz 05 v.  Thailand, 6 September 2016 INJ
FW Mike Havenaar (1987-05-20) 20 May 1987 18 4 Netherlands ADO Den Haag v.  Syria, 29 March 2016
FW Shinzō Kōroki (1986-07-31) 31 July 1986 16 0 Japan Urawa Red Diamonds Training camp March 2016
FW Kensuke Nagai (1989-03-05) 5 March 1989 6 0 Japan Nagoya Grampus Training camp March 2016
FW Yūki Mutō (1988-11-07) 7 November 1988 2 2 Japan Urawa Red Diamonds Training camp March 2016


Statistics below are from matches which the Japan Football Association consider as official.[1][25][26][27]

Updated to 15 November 2016:

Most Caps
# Player Caps Goals Career
1Yasuhito Endō152152002–2015
2Masami Ihara12251988–1999
3Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi11601997–2010
4Yuji Nakazawa110171999–2010
5Shinji Okazaki106492008–
6Makoto Hasebe10422006–
7Shunsuke Nakamura98242000–2010
8Yuto Nagatomo9132008–
9Kazuyoshi Miura89551990–2000
10Yasuyuki Konno8722004–2016

Top Goalscorers
# Player Goals Caps Career
1Kunishige Kamamoto80841964–1977
2Kazuyoshi Miura55891990–2000
3Shinji Okazaki491062008–
4Hiromi Hara37751978–1988
5Keisuke Honda36862008–
6Takuya Takagi27441992–1997
7Shinji Kagawa27842008–
8Kazushi Kimura26541979–1986
9Shunsuke Nakamura24982000–2010
10Naohiro Takahara23572000–2008



As of 24 March 2016[28]
Manager Period Record
MatchesWonDrawLostWin %
Japan Masujiro Nishida192320020%
Japan Goro Yamada192520020%
Japan Shigeyoshi Suzuki (1st)1930211050%
Japan Shigemaru Takenokoshi (1st)1934310233.33%
Japan Shigeyoshi Suzuki (2nd)1936211050%
Japan Shigemaru Takenokoshi (2nd)19401100100%
Japan Hirokazu Ninomiya1951311133.33%
Japan Shigemaru Takenokoshi (3rd)1954–561224616.66%
Japan Taizo Kawamoto195820020%
Japan Shigemaru Takenokoshi (4th)1958–591242633.33%
Japan Hidetoki Takahashi1961–19621432921.43%
Japan Ken Naganuma (1st)1963–196931187658.06%
Japan Shunichiro Okano1970–197119112657.90%
Japan Ken Naganuma (2nd)1972–1976421662038.09%
Japan Hiroshi Ninomiya1976–197827661522.22%
Japan Yukio Shimomura1979–19801484257.14%
Japan Masashi Watanabe1980320166.67%
Japan Saburō Kawabuchi1980–19811032530%
Japan Takaji Mori1981–1985432251651.16%
Japan Yoshinobu Ishii1986–198717112464.70%
Japan Kenzo Yokoyama1988–199124571220.83%
Netherlands Hans Ooft1992–199327167459.25%
Brazil Falcão1994934233.33%
Japan Shu Kamo1994–19974623101350%
Japan Takeshi Okada (1st)1997–19981554633.33%
France Philippe Troussier1998–20025023161146%
Brazil Zico2002–20067137161852.11%
Bosnia and Herzegovina Ivica Osim2006–200720135365%
Japan Takeshi Okada (2nd)2007–20105026131152%
Japan Hiromi Hara (caretaker)20102200100%
Italy Alberto Zaccheroni2010–20145530121354.54%
Mexico Javier Aguirre2014–20151071270%
Bosnia and Herzegovina Vahid Halilhodžić2015–Present22145363.63%


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

FIFA World Cup

FIFA World Cup Finals Record Qualifications Record
Hosts / Year Result Position GP W D* L GS GA GP W D L GS GA
Uruguay 1930 Did Not Enter ------
Italy 1934 ------
France 1938 Withdrew ------
Brazil 1950 Withdrew ------
Switzerland 1954 Did Not Qualify 201137
Sweden 1958 Did Not Enter ------
Chile 1962 Did Not Qualify 200214
England 1966 Did Not Enter ------
Mexico 1970 Did Not Qualify 402248
West Germany 1974 410354
Argentina 1978 401305
Spain 1982 420242
Mexico 1986 8512155
Italy 1990 623173
United States 1994 13931356
France 1998 Group Stage31st300314 159515112
South KoreaJapan 2002 Round of 169th421153 ------
Germany 2006 Group Stage28th301227 121101255
South Africa 2010 Round of 169th421142 14842239
Brazil 2014 Group Stage29th301226 14833308
Russia 2018 To be determined ------
Qatar 2022 To be determined ------
TotalRound of 165/22174491422 14084282823890

AFC Asian Cup

AFC Asian Cup Finals Record Qualifications Record
Hosts / Year Result Position GP W D* L GS GA GP W D* L GS GA
Hong Kong 1956Withdrew ------
South Korea 1960 ------
Israel 1964 ------
Iran 1968Did Not Qualify 431084
Thailand 1972Withdrew ------
Iran 1976Did Not Qualify 411234
Kuwait 1980Withdrew ------
Singapore 1984 ------
Qatar 1988Group Stage10th401306 421163
Japan 1992Champions1st532063 ------
United Arab Emirates 1996Quarter-Finals5th430173 ------
Lebanon 2000Champions1st6510216 3300150
China 2004Champions1st6420136 ------
IndonesiaMalaysiaThailandVietnam 2007Fourth Place4th6231117 6501152
Qatar 2011Champions1st6420146 6501174
Australia 2015Quarter-Finals5th431081 ------
United Arab Emirates 2019Qualified 8710270
Total4 Titles9/1641241258038 3526459117

FIFA Confederations Cup

FIFA Confederations Cup record
Hosts / Year Result Position Pld W D * L GF GA Squad
Saudi Arabia 1992 Did Not Qualify
Saudi Arabia 1995 Group Stage 6th 2 0 0 2 1 8 Squad
Saudi Arabia 1997 Did Not Qualify
Mexico 1999
South Korea Japan 2001 Runners-up 2nd 5 3 1 1 6 1 Squad
France 2003 Group Stage 6th 3 1 0 2 4 3 Squad
Germany 2005 Group Stage 5th 3 1 1 1 4 4 Squad
South Africa 2009 Did Not Qualify
Brazil 2013 Group Stage 7th 3 0 0 3 4 9 Squad
Russia 2017 Did Not Qualify
Total Runners-up 5/11 16 5 2 9 19 25 -

Olympic Games

Since 1992, the Olympic team has been drawn from a squad with a maximum of three players over 23 years age, and the achievements of this team are not generally regarded as part of the national team's records, nor are the statistics credited to the players' international records.

Olympic Games Record
Hosts / Year Result Position GP W D* L GS GA
United Kingdom 1908Did Not Enter
Sweden 1912
Belgium 1920
France 1924
Netherlands 1928
Germany 1936Quarter-Finals8th2101310
United Kingdom 1948Did Not Enter
Finland 1952
Australia 1956Group Stage10th100102
Italy 1960Did Not Qualify
Japan 1964Quarter-Finals8th310259
Mexico 1968Third Place3rd632198
Germany 1972Did Not Enter
Canada 1976Did Not Qualify
Soviet Union 1980Did Not Enter
United States 1984Did Not Qualify
South Korea 1988
1992 – present See Japan national under-23 team
Total1 Bronze Medal4/1931134144054

Copa América

Japan is the only team from outside the Americas to participate in the Copa América, having been invited in both 1999 and 2011.[5] However, Japan declined their invitation on May 16, 2011 after events related with the difficulty to release some Japanese players from European teams to play as a replacement. On May 17, 2011, CONMEBOL invited Costa Rica to replace Japan in the competition, the Costa Rican Football Federation accepted their invitation later that day.

CONMEBOL Copa América record
Hosts / Year Result Position GP W D* L GS GA
Paraguay 1999 Group Stage 10th 3 0 1 2 3 8
Argentina 2011 Withdrew
Chile 2015 Withdrew
Brazil 2019 Invited
Total Group Stage 2/44 3 0 1 2 3 8

Head-to-head records against other countries

As of 12 November 2015[29]

FIFA ranking

Last updated 25 August 2016

Key to FIFA World Rankings table
Highest position
Lowest position
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Team Records

As of 23 January 2015[30]
Biggest victory
15–0 vs Philippines, 27 September 1967
Heaviest defeat
8–0 vs Italy, 7 August 1936
Most consecutive victories
8, 8 August 1970 vs. Indonesia – 17 December 1970 vs. India
8, 14 March 1993 vs. United States – 5 May 1995 vs. Sri Lanka
8, 26 May 1996 vs. Yugoslavia – 12 December 1996 vs. China
Most consecutive matches without defeat
20, 24 June 2010 vs. Denmark – 11 November 2011 vs. Tajikistan
Most consecutive defeats
6, 10 June 1956 vs. South Korea – 28 December 1958 vs. Malaya
Most consecutive matches without victory
11, 13 August 1976 vs. Burma – 15 June 1976 vs. South Korea
Most consecutive draws
4, 13 August 1976 vs. Burma – 20 August 1976 vs. Malaya
Most consecutive matches scoring
13, 19 December 1966 vs. Singapore – 16 October 1969 vs. Australia
13, 7 February 2004 vs. Malaysia – 24 July 2004 vs. Thailand
Most consecutive matches without scoring
6, 18 June 1989 vs. Hong Kong – 31 July 1990 vs. North Korea
Most consecutive matches conceding a goal
28, 6 November 1960 vs. South Korea – 11 December 1966 vs. Iran
Most consecutive matches without conceding a goal
7, 19 November 2003 vs. Cameroon – 18 February 2004 vs. Oman



Bronze Medal (1): 1968
Runners-Up (1): 2001


Champions (4): 1992, 2000, 2004, 2011
Years (5): 2000, 2005, 2008, 2010, 2011


Champions (3): 1992, 1995, 1998
Champions (1): 2013
Champions (1): 1930


Champions (2): 1993, 2007
Champions (1): 2001
Champions (11): 1991, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011
Years (1): 2002

See also


  1. 1 2 80 days to go – With 80 goals in 84 appearances, Kunishige Kamamoto is Japan's all-time leading goalscorer. (FIFA.com)
  2. "Japan National Football Team Results: 1910–1919". Football Japan. p. 29 December 2012. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
  3. Motoaki Inukai 「日本代表公式記録集2008」 Japan Football Association p.206
  4. "Japan sack coach Javier Aguirre due to ongoing match-fixing investigation". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. 2015-02-03. Retrieved 2015-02-03.
  5. 1 2 Japan Invited To Copa America 2011 Along With Mexico Goal.com 2 Jun 2009
  6. ESPNFC.com 17 May 2011
  7. A common methodology of nickname creation is done by taking the last name of incumbent head coach followed by "Japan". Past teams have been referred to as, "Osim Japan" (オシムジャパン Oshimu Japan), "Zico Japan" (ジーコジャパン Jīko Japan), "Troussier Japan" (トルシエジャパン Torushie Japan)
  8. ハリルジャパン、白星発進!!岡崎&本田のゴールで初陣飾る. Gekisaka (in Japanese). Kodansha. 2015-03-27. Retrieved 2015-04-09.
  9. 岡崎、本田がゴール! ハリルジャパン初陣を勝利で飾る. Football Channel (in Japanese). Kanzen ltd. 2015-03-27. Retrieved 2015-04-09.
  10. Matsushima, Ken. "History of the J. League". Rising Sun News. Archived from the original on 2006-05-12. Retrieved 2016-11-02.
  11. Hongo, Jun, "SOCCER IN JAPAN: Japan team has foot in World Cup door but can it kick?", Japan Times, February 9, 2010, p. 3.
  12. "Australia 0–1 Japan (AET". Daily Telegraph. 2011-01-29. Retrieved 2011-02-02.
  13. "Banner Controversy Mars Japan-Korea Soccer Match". Alastair Gale. The Wall Street Journal. 2013-07-29. Retrieved 2013-07-30.
  14. 안중근·이순신 현수막 논란…붉은 악마는 '응원 보이콧' [Ahn Jung-geun, Yi Sun-sin banners controversy…Red Devils' "Cheering boycott"] (in Korean). Seoul Broadcasting System. 2013-07-28. Retrieved 2013-07-28.
  15. "Australia, Japan rivalry hits new heights". Football Federation Australia. Retrieved 30 September 2013.
  16. "Highlights". Foxtel.com.au. Retrieved 2015-05-03.
  17. Sebastian Hassett. "Socceroos to resume Japan rivalry in qualifying group for Brazil". Smh.com.au. Retrieved 2015-05-03.
  18. "Japan-Australia: a classic football rivalry". theroar.com.au. Retrieved 30 September 2013.
  19. Chant of JAPAN National Team "NIPPON Ole" YT
  20. "日本サッカー協会、代表ユニなどナイキ&プーマと交渉".
  21. "Why does Japan wear blue soccer uniforms?". The Wichita Eagle.
  22. "Audi Japan signs with JFA". Japan Football Association. 25 May 2011. Retrieved 6 June 2011.
  23. http://m.ign.com/articles/2014/03/15/pikachu-named-mascot-of-the-2014-world-cup
  24. http://www.jfa.jp/eng/news/00011463/
  25. Yoon Hyung-Jin. "Japan International Match – List of Full International Matches". RSSSF. Retrieved 1 July 2012.
  26. Mamrud, Roberto. "Japan – Record International Players". RSSSF. Retrieved 2 July 2012.
  27. "Players Records". Japan National Football Team Database. Retrieved May 15, 2014.
  28. "Managers". Japan National Football Team Database. Retrieved May 15, 2014.
  29. "Head-to-Head". Japan National Football Team Database. Retrieved September 5, 2014.
  30. "Team Records". Japan National Football Team Database. Retrieved May 15, 2014.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Japan national football team.
Preceded by
1988 Saudi Arabia 
Asian Champions
1992 (1st Title)
Succeeded by
1996 Saudi Arabia 
Preceded by
1996 Saudi Arabia 
Asian Champions
2000 (2st Title)
2004 (3st Title)
Succeeded by
2007 Iraq 
Preceded by
2007 Iraq 
Asian Champions
2011 (4st Title)
Succeeded by
2015 Australia 
Preceded by
2001 Ichiro Suzuki
Japan Professional Sports Grand Prize
2002 Japan National Football Team
Succeeded by
2003 Hideki Matsui
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