The team participated in every Summer Olympic Games since the first demonstration tournament in 1984 through when it was discontinued following the 2008 Beijing Games. Until 2000, the team was made up exclusively of amateur players. Since the 2000 Summer Olympics, the team has been composed of players from Nippon Professional Baseball. The team playing in the 2006 World Baseball Classic included Japanese players from Major League Baseball as well. In the Classic, the team played in Pool A and placed second, advancing to round two. They went on to win the Classic. They played at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, as they had qualified through the Asian Baseball Championship in 2007. Unlike the WBC roster, the Olympic team was exclusively formed by NPB players (but included one amateur player, who was drafted during the tournament's progress).
Like other national teams in Japan, the nickname is usually prefixed with the surname of the manager. However, in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, the team used Samurai, a symbol of Japan's history, instead of Hara, the surname of their manager. In 2012, it was adopted officially.
Japan have dominated the Asian Baseball Championship since its inception, and have competed in every year. Japan have never missed out on placing in the top 3 in any tournament, and is the only team to have achieved this feat. Japan also holds the record for most consecutive Asian Championships, having won four times in a row on two separate occasions, including the four most recent tournaments to be held.
Japan also won the 2009 World Baseball Classic, hosting the Pool A games in the Tokyo Dome. Japan started the tournament opener with a 4–0 win over China. Japan then secured advancement into the second round with a 14–2 win in seven innings over rival South Korea. The game was shortened due to the WBC's mercy rule. Japan then played South Korea again to determine seeding for the second round. In the rematch, the Koreans shut out Japan 1–0, making Japan advance as the Pool A runner-up. In Pool 1 of the WBC quarter-finals, Japan defeated Cuba 6–0, but lost to Korea again 4–1. In the elimination match that followed, Japan secured a spot in the semi-finals with a 5–0 win over Cuba. Japan defeated South Korea in the finals 5–3 partly because of an Ichiro Suzuki base hit in the 10th inning.
Japan, the two-time world defending champions, enters the 2013 World Baseball Classic, hosting Pool A games in the Fukuoka Dome, facing off against Cuba, China and newcomers Brazil. Despite their first loss against the Cuban team, they have secured their position for the second round in 2013 World Baseball Classic – Pool 1 to face off the Netherlands and Chinese Taipei. The Japanese team narrowly wins against Chinese Taipei 4-3 before proceeding to face off the Dutch team, winning against them twice before proceeding to the semi-final round, along with the Netherlands, as they face off against Puerto Rico. Despite Japan's efforts, they eventually lose 3-1 against the Puerto Rican team right after Alex Ríos scored two additional runs from a home run. Japan finishes third in the 2013 WBC, as their two-time championship streak has ended. The Japanese team bowed out to both the crowd and the Puerto Rican team as a gesture of respect.