Japan national rugby union team

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Japan
Shirt badge/Association crest
Nickname(s)Cherry Blossoms/Brave Blossoms
EmblemSakura
UnionJapan Rugby Football Union
Head coachJamie Joseph
CaptainMichael Leitch
Most capsHitoshi Ono (98)
Top scorerAyumu Goromaru (708)
Top try scorerDaisuke Ohata (69)
Home stadiumChichibunomiya Stadium
First colours
Second colours
World Rugby ranking
Current11 (as of 21 May 2018)
Highest9 (2016)
Lowest20 (2006)
First international
Japan 9–8 Canada
(Osaka, Japan; 31 January 1932)
Biggest win
Japan 155–3 Chinese Taipei
(Tokyo, Japan; 1 July 2002)
Biggest defeat
Japan 17–145 New Zealand
(Bloemfontein, South Africa; 4 June 1995)
World Cup
Appearances8 (First in 1987)
Best resultPool stage, 1987, 1991, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015
Websitewww.rugby-japan.jp

The Japan national rugby union team (often known as the Cherry Blossoms and more recently The Brave Blossoms) represent Japan in international rugby union. Japan is traditionally the strongest rugby union power in Asia and has enjoyed and endured mixed results against non-Asian teams over the years. Rugby union in Japan is administered by the Japan Rugby Football Union (JRFU), which was founded in 1926. They compete annually in the Pacific Nations Cup and the Asia Rugby Championship. They have also participated in every Rugby World Cup since the tournament began in 1987.

Rugby was first played in Japan's treaty ports as early as 1866. Popular participation by local university teams was established in 1899 and Japan's first recorded international was a match against a Canadian team in 1932. Notable games for Japan include a victory over the Junior All Blacks in 1968, and a narrow 6–3 loss to England in 1971. Famous wins by Japan include a 28–24 victory over a Scotland XV in 1989 and a 23–8 victory over Wales in 2013. In the 2007 Rugby World Cup, Japan drew 12–12 against Canada. In 2011, Japan displayed its progress by winning the 2011 IRB Pacific Nations Cup, played against Fiji, Samoa and Tonga. Further progress was displayed in 2014 when Japan completed a string of ten consecutive test wins (a record for a tier 2 team) to rank in the world's top 10 teams.[1] This continued into 2015 where they produced arguably the biggest upset in rugby history in a Rugby World Cup pool match against the Springboks, winning 34–32.[2][3][4]

History[edit]

Rugby football game in Yokohama, 1874

The first recorded instance of a team being established and rugby being played in Japan was in 1866 with the founding of the Yokohama Foot Ball Club. Games, mainly between service personnel, were played on the Garrison Parade Ground in Yamate, Yokohama.[5] In 1874 records also illustrate British sailors staging a game in Yokohama. Other games were played at other treaty ports such as Kobe between teams of long-term foreign residents and visiting ships' crews and garrisons, but they rarely involved indigenous Japanese. The date of local Japanese participation in the sport is most frequently cited as 1899, when students at Keio University were introduced to the game by Professor Edward Bramwell Clarke and Ginnosuke Tanaka both graduates of Cambridge University.

The formation of a national team and effectively Japan's first international match took place in Osaka on 31 January 1932 when a trade delegation from Canada to Japan supported an overseas tour by the Canada national rugby union team. The Japanese won this first match 9–8. In a second test match in Tokyo 11 days later again the Japanese side beat the Canadians 38-5.[6]

Japan beat the Junior All Blacks 23–19 in 1968 after losing the first four matches on a tour of New Zealand, but they won the last five. The Japanese (coached by Waseda University Professor Onishi Tetsunosuke) lost by just 3–6 to England in Tokyo on 29 September 1971 in the RFU's centenary year. The 1973 Japan rugby union tour of Wales, England and France was less successful with the side winning only two of their eleven matches, and losing the international matches against Wales and France. Ten years later Japan gave Wales a fright in losing by a slim five-point margin, 24–29, at Cardiff Arms Park on 2 October 1983.

On 28 May 1989, a strong Japan coached by Hiroaki Shukuzawa defeated an uncapped Scotland, missing nine British Lions on tour in Australia, for the first time at Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium, 28–24. The Japan team included such Kobe Steel stalwarts as centre Seiji Hirao (captain), and locks Atsushi Oyagi and Toshiyuki Hayashi (38 Japan caps and a member of Oxford University's all-time best XV). Sinali Latu at No. 8 was then a fourth year student at Daito Bunka University, and speedy Yoshihito Yoshida on the wing (no. 14) was a third year at Meiji University. Scotland missed an incredible seven penalties and refused the kicking tee which was generously offered – as a surviving video of the game shows. It was almost the same Japanese team which defeated Zimbabwe in RWC1991.

Under Shogo Mukai (2001–2003)[edit]

After Hirao resigned, Toshiba Brave Lupus coach Shogo Mukai was appointed in March 2001 to lead Japan up to the 2003 Rugby World Cup. After mixed fortunes in his first two years in charge, Japan put in some impressive performances at the tournament with good efforts against Scotland and France, nevertheless they still left the tournament having failed to reach their target of winning some matches but still won admirers for their exciting brand of play. Mukai left his post after the tournament to spend more time with his family.

Under Mitsutake Hagimoto (2004–2005)[edit]

After Shogo Mukai left after the 2003 Rugby World Cup, the JRFU initially tried to appoint Eddie Jones from his post with Australia but were unsuccessful and instead appointed Mitsutake Hagimoto in March 2004 after he won the inaugural Top League with the Kobelco Steelers. Under Hagimoto, Japan decided they would not select foreign born players after Mukai had been criticised for playing too many at the World Cup.

Hagimoto's first match in charge was a disappointing draw with Korea, but his first few matches in charge after that were promising with wins over Russia and Canada to win the Super Powers Cup and pushed Italy close losing 32–19.

However, in November 2004, Japan went on a disastrous tour to Europe where they were embarrassingly thrashed 100–8 by Scotland and 98–0 by Wales and also were comfortably defeated by Romania. Japan's performances were described as "pathetic", and the squad was called "a joke" with some key players ignored or not given permission to travel.

This disastrous tour forced a rethink from Hagimoto and foreign born players were brought back into the side in 2005, but after losing twice to Ireland in June he was sacked and with just 5 wins from 15 matches was the least successful coach for Japan in the professional era.

Under Jean-Pierre Élissalde (2005–2006)[edit]

Japan play Tonga at Honjo stadium on 4 June 2006

After Hagimoto left his post at the end of June 2005, Jean-Pierre Élissalde who had been appointed backs coach three months earlier took full charge and became the first foreigner to be the head coach for Japan. His first match in charge was a 44–29 win over Spain in November 2005.

In 2006, despite a disappointing campaign in the inaugural Pacific Nations Cup in June where Japan lost all their matches, and also lost to heavily to Italy 52–6, Élissalde was backed to lead the side to the 2007 Rugby World Cup. But Élissalde was later sacked in September after he took on a job with Bayonne without consulting the JRFU and then refused to give up his job with them.[7] Assistant coach Osamu Ota took over as caretaker coach for two Rugby World Cup qualifiers in November 2006.

Under John Kirwan (2007–2011)[edit]

Japan plays Australia A on 8 June 2008

John Kirwan was appointed head coach on in October 2006 after Elissalde was sacked. He initially worked as an advisor to caretaker coach Osamu Ota before taking over the job completely in 2007.

After starting with large wins over the Asian opposition, Japan only won one of their remaining 10 fixtures in 2007, although in the 2007 Rugby World Cup they did gain a draw with a last minute touchline conversion from Shotaro Onishi against Canada to end a long losing streak of World Cup matches stretching back to 1991.

Results began to pick up after the 2007 World Cup and Kirwan led Japan up to a high of 13th in the IRB Rankings and to win their first ever Pacific Nations Cup title in 2011 after they beat Fiji away for the first ever time in Japan's history.

However, despite more positive results in between World Cups, Japan had a disappointing 2011 Rugby World Cup, losing 31–18 to Tonga who they had beaten four consecutive times in a row since 2008, and drawing again to Canada who they had beaten 46–8 and 27–6 in 2009, and Japan left the World Cup winless meaning they still hadn't won a match at the tournament since 1991. Kirwan came under pressure after the tournament and he resigned from his post after his contract came to the end at the end of the year.

The tenure of Kirwan as coach was notable for a large amount of imports he selected. Players who originated from New Zealand such as James Arlidge, Bryce Robins, Shaun Webb, Ryan Nicholas, Luke Thompson or Tonga such as Alisi Tupuailei and Sione Vatuvei all featured prominently under Kirwan. The large percentage of foreigners in the national team also caused criticism for Kirwan. However, despite failing to bring Japan a World Cup win, Kirwan left his post as the most successful Japan coach of the professional era with a win rate of 58.18% from 55 matches.

Under Eddie Jones (2012–2015)[edit]

Kirwan chose not to renew his contract as head coach when it expired at the end of 2011, and the Japan Rugby Football Union announced that former Australia coach, Eddie Jones, would be his successor.[8] Jones stated that his intention was to take the Japanese national team into the top 10 on the international rankings, and that they must develop a style of play to allow them to win games against teams such as Scotland and Wales.

Jones made his debut as Japan head coach against Kazakhstan. He had selected a total of 10 uncapped players out of the 22 selected players. They went on to win the match 87–0. They then had a big win over United Arab Emirates where young 18-year-old Yoshikazu Fujita set a new Asian Five Nations record for the most tries in a single match with a total of 6. This was also Fujita's international debut.[9]

In 2013, Jones led Japan to their sixth consecutive championship win in the Asian Five Nations, where Japan achieved a tournament record score of 121–0 against the Philippines. In May, the nation lost their opening match of the 2013 IRB Pacific Nations Cup to Tonga, followed by a defeat to Fiji in the second round. Following these matches, Japan faced a 2-test series against Wales. Japan lost narrowly, 18–22, in the first test, but won the second test 23–8, and the series ended in a 1–1 draw. This was the first time that Japan had recorded a victory over the Welsh.

On 16 October 2013, Jones was hospitalised after having a suspected stroke and was released from hospital 2 days later on 18 October 2013.[10][11] With the announcement of his release from hospital, it was announced that Jones would miss Japan's 2013 end-of-year rugby union tests against New Zealand, Scotland, Gloucester, Russia and Spain, and former Australia skills coach and current technical adviser for Japan Scott Wisemantel would interim coach Japan for their 2013 end-of-year rugby union tests.[12]

On 19 September 2015, Japan stunned South Africa by a last minute try from Karne Hesketh to win 34–32 in their opening group pool game at the Rugby World Cup in Brighton, England. BBC reported the win as "arguably the biggest upset in rugby union history".[13] In 2015, Japan became the first team in World Cup history to win three pool games but still be eliminated at the group stage, due to their heavy loss to Scotland.[14]

Tournament history[edit]

Rugby World Cup[edit]

Japan has participated in the Rugby World Cup since its inception in 1987, and has made appearances in all tournaments thus far. Despite this, they experienced little success until the 2015 tournament, with just one victory over Zimbabwe in 1991, and two draws with Canada in 2007 and 2011. In 2015 they defeated South Africa with a score of 34–32, their first win since 1991 against Zimbabwe, which they followed up with victories over Samoa and USA in the same pool stage.

They will be the home team for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, which is to be held in Japan.

World Cup record World Cup Qualification record
Year Round P W D L F A P W D L F A
AustraliaNew Zealand 1987 Pool Stage 3 0 0 3 48 123 Automatically qualified
United KingdomRepublic of IrelandFrance 1991 Pool Stage 3 1 0 2 77 87 3 2 0 1 65 63
South Africa 1995 Pool Stage 3 0 0 3 55 252 4 4 0 0 210 52
Wales 1999 Pool Stage 3 0 0 3 36 140 3 3 0 0 221 25
Australia 2003 Pool Stage 4 0 0 4 79 163 4 4 0 0 420 47
France 2007 Pool Stage 4 0 1 3 64 210 6 6 0 0 379 60
New Zealand 2011 Pool Stage 4 0 1 3 69 184 4 4 0 0 326 30
England 2015 Pool Stage 4 3 0 1 98 100 8 8 0 0 658 41
Japan 2019 To be determined Qualified as hosts
France 2023 To be determined To be determined
Total 8/8 28 4 2 22 526 1259 32 31 0 1 2279 318

Pacific Nations Cup[edit]

Asia Rugby Championship[edit]

Asia Rugby Championship record
Year Round P W D L PF PA
Japan 1969 Champions 4 4 0 0 191 35
Thailand 1970 Champions 3 3 0 0 111 39
Hong Kong 1972 Champions 4 4 0 0 167 4
Sri Lanka 1974 Champions 4 4 0 0 140 37
Japan 1976 Champions 4 4 0 0 194 21
Malaysia 1978 Champions 3 3 0 0 97 30
Taiwan 1980 Champions 4 4 0 0 265 21
Singapore 1982 Runner-up 4 3 0 1 112 30
Japan 1984 Champions 4 4 0 0 202 23
Thailand 1986 Runner-up 4 2 0 2 232 54
Hong Kong 1988 Runner-up 4 3 0 1 223 43
Sri Lanka 1990 Runner-up 4 3 0 1 200 34
Hong Kong 1992 Champions 3 3 0 0 225 12
Malaysia 1994 Champions 3 3 0 0 226 17
Taiwan 1996 Champions 2 2 0 0 242 22
Singapore 1998 Champions 3 3 0 0 221 25
Japan 2000 Champions 3 3 0 0 164 41
Thailand 2002 Runner-up 3 2 0 1 93 54
Hong Kong 2004 Champions 2 2 0 0 69 12
Hong Kong 2006–07 Champions 2 2 0 0 106 3
Hong KongJapanKazakhstanQatarSouth KoreaUnited Arab Emirates 2008 Champions 4 4 0 0 310 58
Hong KongJapanKazakhstanSingaporeSouth Korea 2009 Champions 4 4 0 0 271 40
BahrainHong KongJapanKazakhstanSouth KoreaUnited Arab Emirates 2010 Champions 4 4 0 0 326 30
Hong KongJapanKazakhstanSri LankaUnited Arab Emirates 2011 Champions 4 4 0 0 307 35
Hong KongJapanKazakhstanSouth KoreaUnited Arab Emirates 2012 Champions 4 4 0 0 312 11
Hong KongJapanPhilippinesSouth KoreaUnited Arab Emirates 2013 Champions 4 4 0 0 316 8
Hong KongJapanPhilippinesSouth KoreaSri Lanka 2014 Champions 4 4 0 0 342 33
Hong KongJapanSouth Korea 2015 Champions 4 3 1 0 163 40
Hong KongJapanSouth Korea 2016 Champions 4 4 0 0 242 23
Hong KongJapanSouth Korea 2017 Champions 4 4 0 0 172 56
Total 23 titles 107 100 1 6 6286 891

Overall[edit]

Top 30 rankings as of 3 December 2018[15]
Rank Change* Team Points
1 Steady  New Zealand 092.54
2 Steady  Ireland 091.17
3 Steady  Wales 087.24
4 Steady  England 086.22
5 Steady  South Africa 084.58
6 Steady  Australia 082.40
7 Steady  Scotland 081.84
8 Steady  Fiji 077.95
9 Steady  France 077.33
10 Steady  Argentina 077.05
11 Steady  Japan 075.24
12 Steady  United States 073.66
13 Steady  Georgia 073.42
14 Steady  Tonga 073.02
15 Steady  Italy 072.75
16 Steady  Samoa 068.78
17 Steady  Uruguay 066.82
18 Steady  Romania 065.45
19 Steady  Russia 065.20
20 Steady  Canada 062.95
21 Steady  Spain 062.24
22 Steady  Namibia 060.34
23 Steady  Netherlands 058.45
24 Steady  Hong Kong 058.11
25 Steady  Belgium 058.09
26 Steady  Germany 057.83
27 Steady  Portugal 057.08
28 Steady  Brazil 056.81
29 Steady  Chile 054.36
30 Steady  South Korea 053.59
*Change from the previous week
Japan's historical rankings
Japan IRB World Rankings.png
Source: World Rugby - Graph updated to 26 November 2018[15]

Below is table of the representative rugby matches played by a Japan national XV to 3 November 2018.[16]

Opponent Played Won Lost Drawn Win % For Aga Diff
 Arabian Gulf 3 3 0 0 100.0% 256 20 +236
 Argentina 6 1 5 0 26.7% 159 259 −100
 Australia 5 0 5 0 0.0% 88 283 −195
 Australia A 4 0 4 0 0.0% 51 242 −191
Australia Australian Universities 6 2 4 0 33.3% 60 90 −30
Australia Emerging Wallabies 2 1 0 1 50.0% 41 39 +2
 Canada 25 15 8 2 60.0% 612 581 +31
Canada British Columbia Bears 6 2 2 2 33.3% 103 82 +21
 Chinese Taipei 4 4 0 0 100.0% 474 27 +447
 England 1 0 1 0 0.0% 7 60 −53
 England XV 5 0 5 0 0.0% 71 131 −60
England England Saxons 2 0 2 0 0.0% 30 92 −62
England England Students 1 0 1 0 0.0% 0 43 −43
England England Under-23's 2 0 2 0 0.0% 25 77 −52
England Cambridge University 4 1 3 0 25.0% 52 110 −58
England Oxford University 4 0 4 0 0.0% 28 130 −102
England Oxford and Cambridge 3 0 3 0 0.0% 30 113 −83
 Fiji 17 3 14 0 17.7% 312 467 −155
 France 4 0 3 1 0.0% 91 151 −60
 France XV 6 0 6 0 0.0% 31 272 −241
 Georgia 6 5 1 0 83.3% 150 96 +54
 Hong Kong 28 24 4 0 85.7% 1172 370 +802
 Ireland 7 0 7 0 0.0% 118 336 −218
 Ireland XV 2 0 2 0 0.0% 28 81 −53
Ireland Ireland Students 1 0 1 0 0.0% 12 24 −12
 Italy 8 2 5 0 25.0% 146 241 −95
 Kazakhstan 5 5 0 0 100.0% 418 23 +395
 South Korea 36 29 6 1 80.1% 1614 517 +1097
 Netherlands 1 0 1 0 0.0% 13 15 −2
 New Zealand 4 0 4 0 0.0% 61 351 −290
 New Zealand XV 2 0 2 0 0.0% 4 180 −176
New Zealand Junior All Blacks 8 1 7 0 12.5% 98 337 −239
 Māori 1 0 1 0 0.0% 22 65 −43
New Zealand New Zealand Universities 15 2 11 2 13.3% 221 417 −196
 Philippines 2 2 0 0 100.0% 220 10 +210
Australia Queensland Reds 1 0 1 0 0.0% 6 42 −36
 Romania 6 5 1 0 83.3% 152 119 +33
 Russia 5 4 1 0 80.0% 237 90 +147
 Samoa 15 4 11 0 26.7% 273 482 −209
 Scotland 7 0 7 0 0.0% 84 313 −229
 Scotland XV 4 1 3 0 25.0% 64 165 −101
 Singapore 1 1 0 0 100.0% 45 15 +30
 South Africa 1 1 0 0 100.0% 34 32 +2
 Spain 3 3 0 0 100.0% 114 43 +71
 Sri Lanka 3 3 0 0 100.0% 266 29 +237
 Thailand 1 1 0 0 100.0% 42 11 +31
 Tonga 17 8 9 0 47.1% 418 446 −28
 United Arab Emirates 3 3 0 0 100.0% 310 6 +304
 United States 23 9 13 1 39.1% 526 655 −129
 Uruguay 3 2 1 0 66.7% 88 32 +56
 Wales 10 1 9 0 10.0% 159 526 −367
 Wales XV 4 0 4 0 0.0% 56 229 −173
Wales Welsh Clubs 1 0 1 0 0.0% 9 63 −54
 Zimbabwe 1 1 0 0 100.0% 52 8 +44
Total 345 149 186 10 43.19% 9753 9638 +115

Tour[edit]

Wins against Tier 1 nations[edit]

Current squad[edit]

On 1 October, Japan named a 35-man squad for their 2018 November test matches against New Zealand, England and Russia and a warm-up match against a World XV side.[19]

On 5 October, following a good show of form, Kai Ishii joined the squad for the campaign.[20]

On 15 October, Ryohei Yamanaka joined the squad ahead of the World XV match.[21]

On 20 October, Ryuji Noguchi withdrew from the squad due to injury, and Amanaki Lotoahea joined the squad as his replacement.[22][20]

Caps updated: 3 November 2018

Player Position Date of Birth (Age) Caps Franchise / province
Kosuke Horikoshi Hooker (1995-06-02) 2 June 1995 (age 23) 0 Japan Suntory Sungoliath
Yusuke Niwai Hooker (1991-10-22) 22 October 1991 (age 27) 7 Japan Canon Eagles
Atsushi Sakate Hooker (1993-06-21) 21 June 1993 (age 25) 11 Japan Panasonic Wild Knights
Asaeli Ai Valu Prop (1989-05-07) 7 May 1989 (age 29) 4 Japan Panasonic Wild Knights
Takuma Asahara Prop (1987-09-07) 7 September 1987 (age 31) 12 Japan Toshiba Brave Lupus
Keita Inagaki Prop (1990-06-02) 2 June 1990 (age 28) 23 Japan Panasonic Wild Knights
Koo Ji-won Prop (1994-07-20) 20 July 1994 (age 24) 5 Japan Honda Heat
Masataka Mikami Prop (1988-06-04) 4 June 1988 (age 30) 34 Japan Toshiba Brave Lupus
Hiroshi Yamashita Prop (1986-01-01) 1 January 1986 (age 32) 50 Japan Toshiba Brave Lupus
Koki Yamamoto Prop (1990-10-29) 29 October 1990 (age 28) 5 Japan Yamaha Júbilo
Samuela Anise Lock (1986-08-30) 30 August 1986 (age 32) 11 Japan Canon Eagles
Uwe Helu Lock (1990-07-12) 12 July 1990 (age 28) 10 Japan Yamaha Júbilo
Isileli Nakajima Lock (1989-07-09) 9 July 1989 (age 29) 1 Japan Kobelco Steelers
Wimpie van der Walt Lock (1989-01-06) 6 January 1989 (age 29) 7 Japan NTT DoCoMo Red Hurricanes
Kazuki Himeno Loose forward (1994-07-27) 27 July 1994 (age 24) 6 Japan Toyota Verblitz
Michael Leitch (c) Loose forward (1988-10-07) 7 October 1988 (age 30) 57 Japan Toshiba Brave Lupus
Masakatsu Nishikawa Loose forward (1987-05-18) 18 May 1987 (age 31) 1 Japan Suntory Sungoliath
Shunsuke Nunomaki Loose forward (1992-07-13) 13 July 1992 (age 26) 7 Japan Panasonic Wild Knights
Yoshitaka Tokunaga Loose forward (1992-04-10) 10 April 1992 (age 26) 10 Japan Toshiba Brave Lupus
Hendrik Tui Loose forward (1987-12-13) 13 December 1987 (age 31) 41 Japan Suntory Sungoliath
Yutaka Nagare Scrum-half (1992-09-04) 4 September 1992 (age 26) 13 Japan Suntory Sungoliath
Kaito Shigeno Scrum-half (1990-11-21) 21 November 1990 (age 28) 6 Japan Toyota Verblitz
Fumiaki Tanaka Scrum-half (1985-01-03) 3 January 1985 (age 33) 68 Japan Panasonic Wild Knights
Rikiya Matsuda Fly-half (1994-05-03) 3 May 1994 (age 24) 14 Japan Panasonic Wild Knights
Yu Tamura Fly-half (1989-01-09) 9 January 1989 (age 29) 52 Japan Canon Eagles
Yusuke Kajimura Centre (1995-09-13) 13 September 1995 (age 23) 0 Japan Suntory Sungoliath
Timothy Lafaele Centre (1991-08-19) 19 August 1991 (age 27) 12 Japan Coca-Cola Red Sparks
Ryoto Nakamura Centre (1991-06-03) 3 June 1991 (age 27) 14 Japan Suntory Sungoliath
Will Tupou Centre (1990-07-20) 20 July 1990 (age 28) 4 Japan Coca-Cola Red Sparks
Ryohei Yamanaka Centre (1988-06-22) 22 June 1988 (age 30) 12 Japan Kobelco Steelers
Kenki Fukuoka Wing (1992-09-07) 7 September 1992 (age 26) 28 Japan Panasonic Wild Knights
Jamie Henry Wing (1990-03-11) 11 March 1990 (age 28) 1 Japan Toyota Verblitz
Kai Ishii Wing (1990-04-14) 14 April 1990 (age 28) 0 Japan Ricoh Black Rams
Lomano Lemeki Wing (1989-01-20) 20 January 1989 (age 29) 8 Japan Honda Heat
Akihito Yamada Wing (1985-07-26) 26 July 1985 (age 33) 24 Japan Panasonic Wild Knights
Amanaki Lotoahea Fullback (1990-07-14) 14 July 1990 (age 28) 7 Japan Ricoh Black Rams
Kotaro Matsushima Fullback (1993-02-26) 26 February 1993 (age 25) 30 Japan Suntory Sungoliath
Ryuji Noguchi Fullback (1995-07-15) 15 July 1995 (age 23) 13 Japan Panasonic Wild Knights

Notable former players[edit]

Coaches[edit]

Kit[edit]

Japan traditionally plays with white and red hooped shirts (with white collar and cuffs), paired with white shorts and white socks with red splashes. Between 2003 and 2011, the shirt was predominantly red with two white parallel hoops on the chest with white accents, sometimes with black or navy socks and shorts. The away kit usually consist of a navy blue uniform, white or navy shorts and navy blue socks, sometimes with white collar or panels, or black. The kit supplier since the 1960s is Canterbury. Currently, the jersey sponsors are Lipovitan D (in the front) and Toshiba (in the back). Previously, between 1997 and 2000, the shirt sponsor was Epson.

1960s-2002 Home
1960s-2002 Away
2003-2006 Home
2003-2006 Away
2007-2009 Home
2007-2009 Away

Individual all-time records[edit]

Most matches[edit]

# Player Pos Span Mat Start Sub Won Lost Draw %
1 Hitoshi Ono Lock 2004–2016 98 78 20 60 35 3 62.75
2 Hirotoki Onozawa Wing 2001–2013 81 73 8 41 37 3 52.46
3 Yukio Motoki Centre 1991–2005 79 73 6 31 47 1 39.87
4 Kensuke Hatakeyama Prop 2008–2016 78 57 21 50 27 1 64.74
5 Fumiaki Tanaka Scrum-half 2008– 69 59 10 41 26 2 60.86
6 Takashi Kikutani Number 8 2005–2014 68 57 11 41 26 1 61.02
7 Takeomi Ito Number 8 1996–2005 63 40 23 26 36 1 42.06
Michael Leitch Flanker 2008- 59 55 4 39 18 2 67.79
Luke Thompson Lock 2007–2017 63 52 11 38 23 2 61.90
10 Shota Horie Hooker 2009– 58 52 6 36 20 2 63.79
Daisuke Ohata Wing 1996–2006 58 55 3 27 30 1 47.41

Last updated: Japan vs Russia, 24 November 2018. Statistics include officially capped matches only.[24]

Most tries[edit]

# Player Pos Span Mat Start Sub Pts Tries
1 Daisuke Ohata Wing 1996–2006 58 55 3 345 69
2 Hirotoki Onozawa Wing 2001–2013 81 73 8 275 55
3 Takashi Kikutani Number 8 2005–2014 68 57 11 160 32
4 Terunori Masuho Wing 1991–2001 47 46 1 147 29
5 Yoshikazu Fujita Wing 2012– 30 20 10 130 26
6 Ryu Koliniasi Holani Number 8 2008–2016 44 38 6 110 22
7 Alisi Tupuailei Centre 2009–2011 20 13 7 105 21
8 Toru Kurihara Wing 2000–2003 28 23 5 347 20
9 3 players on 19 tries

Last updated: Japan vs Russia, 24 November 2018. Statistics include officially capped matches only.[25]

Most points[edit]

# Player Pos Span Mat Pts Tries Conv Pens Drop
1 Ayumu Goromaru Fullback 2005–2015 56 708 18 162 98 0
2 Keiji Hirose Fly-half 1994–2005 40 422 5 77 79 2
3 Toru Kurihara Wing 2000–2003 28 347 20 71 35 0
4 Daisuke Ohata Wing 1996–2006 58 345 69 0 0 0
5 James Arlidge Fly-half 2007–2011 32 286 8 78 28 2
6 Hirotoki Onozawa Wing 2001–2013 81 275 55 0 0 0
7 Shaun Webb Fly-half 2008–2011 35 198 18 45 6 0
8 Ryan Nicholas Centre 2008–2012 38 193 9 53 14 0
9 Yu Tamura Fly-half 2012- 53 179 5 32 30 0
10 Takashi Kikutani Number 8 2005–2014 68 160 32 0 0 0

Last updated: Japan vs Russia, 24 November 2018. Statistics include officially capped matches only.[26]

Most matches as captain[edit]

# Player Pos Span Mat Won Lost Draw % Pts Tries
1 Takuro Miuchi Number 8 2002-2008 45 17 27 1 38.88 30 6
2 Takashi Kikutani Number 8 2008–2013 34 21 12 1 63.23 110 22
3 Michael Leitch Flanker 2014– 27 18 8 1 68.51 35 7
4 Toshiaki Hirose Wing 2012–2013 18 13 5 0 72.22 45 9
5 Masahiro Kunda Hooker 1993–1998 14 5 9 0 35.71 0 0
6 Yukio Motoki Centre 1996–1997 12 4 8 0 33.33 5 1
7 Seiji Hirao Centre 1989–1991 11 5 6 0 45.45 0 0
8 Toshiyuki Hayashi Lock 1986–1987 10 1 8 1 15.00 0 0
Andrew McCormick Centre 1998–1999 10 4 6 0 40.00 5 1
Akira Yokoi Centre 1970–1974 10 3 6 1 35.00 0 0

Last updated: Japan vs Russia, 24 November 2018. Statistics include officially capped matches only.[27]

Most points in a match[edit]

# Player Pos Pts Tries Conv Pens Drop Opposition Venue Date
1 Toru Kurihara Wing 60 6 15 0 0  Chinese Taipei Chinese Taipei Tainan 21/07/2002
2 Daisuke Ohata Wing 40 8 0 0 0  Chinese Taipei Japan Tokyo 21/07/2002
3 Ayumu Goromaru Fullback 37 1 16 0 0  Sri Lanka Japan Nagoya 10/05/2014
4 Ayumu Goromaru Fullback 36 1 14 1 0  Philippines Japan Fukuoka 20/04/2013
5 Toru Kurihara Wing 35 2 11 1 0  South Korea Japan Tokyo 16/06/2002
6 Keiji Hirose Fly-half 34 1 1 9 0  Tonga Japan Tokyo 08/05/1999
7 Ayumu Goromaru Fullback 32 2 11 0 0  Kazakhstan Kazakhstan Almaty 28/04/2012
8 Keiji Hirose Fly-half 31 0 11 3 0  Hong Kong Japan Tokyo 08/05/2005
9 4 players on 30 points

Last updated: Japan vs Russia, 24 November 2018. Statistics include officially capped matches only.[28]

Most tries in a match[edit]

# Player Pos Pts Tries Conv Pens Drop Opposition Venue Date
1 Daisuke Ohata Wing 40 8 0 0 0  Chinese Taipei Japan Tokyo 07/07/2002
2 Toru Kurihara Wing 60 6 15 0 0  Chinese Taipei Chinese Taipei Tainan 21/07/2002
Daisuke Ohata Wing 30 6 0 0 0  Hong Kong Japan Tokyo 08/05/2005
Yoshikazu Fujita Wing 30 6 0 0 0  United Arab Emirates Japan Fukuoka 05/05/2012
5 Terunori Masuho Wing 25 5 0 0 0  Chinese Taipei Singapore Singapore 27/10/1998
Kosuke Endo Wing 25 5 0 0 0  South Korea South Korea Daegu 01/05/2010
Alisi Tupuailei Centre 25 5 0 0 0  Sri Lanka Sri Lanka Colombo 21/05/2011
Kentaro Kodama Wing 25 5 0 0 0  South Korea Japan Kanagawa 30/04/2016
9 10 players on 4 tries

Last updated: Japan vs Russia, 24 November 2018. Statistics include officially capped matches only.[29]

Youngest players[edit]

# Player Pos Age Opposition Venue Date
1 Yoshikazu Fujita Wing 18 years and 210 days  United Arab Emirates Japan Fukuoka 05/05/2012
2 Christian Loamanu Wing 18 years and 338 days  Uruguay Uruguay Montevideo 16/04/2005
3 Ayumu Goromaru (Fullback) 19 years and 46 days  Uruguay Uruguay Montevideo 16/04/2005
4 Terunori Masuho Wing 19 years and 95 days  United States United States Chicago 04/05/1991
5 Faulua Makisi (Flanker) 19 years and 122 days  South Korea South Korea Incheon 21/05/2016
6 Seiji Hirao Centre 19 years and 129 days New Zealand NZ Universities New Zealand Pukekohe 30/05/1982
7 Dogo Maeda (Fly-half) 19 years and 152 days  South Korea Japan Kanagawa 30/04/2016
8 Kenji Shomen (Fly-half) 19 years and 165 days  South Korea South Korea Ulsan 13/10/2002
9 Masato Furukawa Flanker 19 years and 167 days  South Korea South Korea Incheon 21/05/2016
10 Yoshihito Yoshida Wing 19 years and 226 days England Oxford University Japan Tokyo 01/10/1988

Last updated: Japan vs Russia, 24 November 2018. Statistics include officially capped matches only.[30]

Oldest players[edit]

# Player Pos Age Opposition Venue Date
1 Hitoshi Ono Lock 38 years and 50 days  Scotland Japan Tokyo 25/06/2016
2 Wataru Murata Scrum-half 37 years and 145 days  Ireland Japan Tokyo 19/06/2005
3 Luke Thompson Lock 36 years and 69 days  Ireland Japan Tokyo 24/06/2017
4 Craig Wing Centre 35 years and 289 days  United States England Gloucester 11/10/2015
5 Hirotoki Onozawa (Wing) 35 years and 71 days  Wales Japan Osaka 08/06/2013
6 Hayden Hopgood (Lock) 35 years and 30 days  Uruguay Japan Tokyo 29/08/2015
Satoshi Nakatani Prop 35 years and 30 days  Fiji France Vannes 26/11/2016
8 Ross Thompson Number 8 34 years and 341 days  Canada Canada Vancouver 21/06/1998
9 Glen Marsh Flanker 34 years and 316 days New Zealand Junior All Blacks Japan Tokyo 24/06/2007
10 Shoji Ito (Lock) 34 years and 295 days  Scotland England Gloucester 23/09/2015

Last updated: Japan vs Russia, 24 November 2018. Statistics include officially capped matches only.[31]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Brave Blossoms break into top ten". irb.com. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  2. ^ "Japan pull off greatest shock in World Cup history". ESPN. 19 September 2015. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
  3. ^ "Rugby World Cup: Japan's Shocking Upset Commands Attention". New York Times. 21 September 2015. Retrieved 7 October 2015.
  4. ^ "Japan beat South Africa in greatest Rugby World Cup shock ever". Guardian. 19 September 2015. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
  5. ^ Galbraith, Mike (15 March 2014). "1866 and all that: the untold early history of rugby in Japan". Japan Times.
  6. ^ Young, Keith (2015). "Japan". Complete Rugby Union Compendium. Edinburgh: Arena Sport. ISBN 978-1-909715-34-9.
  7. ^ "Elissalde sacked as Japan coach".
  8. ^ "Eddie Jones appointed coach of Japan". Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. December 26, 2011. Retrieved 25 February 2012.
  9. ^ JRFU (May 2, 2012). "Fujita in line for historic debut". Archived from the original on July 10, 2012.
  10. ^ "Eddie Jones hospitalised after Japan rugby coach suffers suspected stroke – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". Retrieved 2013-10-17.
  11. ^ "Eddie Jones released from intensive care after stroke but will miss Japan's Test with All Blacks". Retrieved 2013-10-18.
  12. ^ a b "Scott Wisemantel is interim coach for Japan". Retrieved 2013-10-18.
  13. ^ "Rugby World Cup 2015: South Africa 32–34 Japan". 2015-09-19. Retrieved 2015-09-19.
  14. ^ "Rugby World Cup 2015: Japan beat USA in final pool game". 11 October 2015. Retrieved 27 March 2018 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
  15. ^ a b "Men's World Rankings". World Rugby. Retrieved 19 November 2018.
  16. ^ "Rugby Union - ESPN Scrum - Statsguru - Test matches - Team records". ESPN scrum.
  17. ^ "RUGBY IN JAPAN NEWSLETTER Volume 9, No.30". rugby-international.blogspot.ca. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  18. ^ "Italy lose 26–23 to Japan in Tokyo" (in Italian).
  19. ^ 日本代表メンバーおよび合宿スケジュールのお知らせ
  20. ^ a b 日本代表 追加招集選手のお知らせ(ロトアヘア アマナキ大洋選手)
  21. ^ 日本代表 追加招集選手のお知らせ(山中亮平選手)
  22. ^ 日本代表 途中離脱選手のお知らせ(野口竜司選手)
  23. ^ a b "Hammett, Nakatake assigned interim coaching duties for Brave Blossoms". The Japan Times. 10 March 2016. Retrieved 10 March 2016.
  24. ^ "Rugby Union - Japan - Most matches - ESPN Scrum". ESPN scrum.
  25. ^ "Rugby Union - Japan - Most individual tries - ESPN Scrum". ESPN scrum.
  26. ^ "Rugby Union - Japan - Most individual points - ESPN Scrum". ESPN scrum.
  27. ^ "Rugby Union - Japan - Most matches as a captain - ESPN Scrum". ESPN scrum.
  28. ^ "Rugby Union - Japan - Most individual points in a match - ESPN Scrum". ESPN scrum.
  29. ^ "Rugby Union - Japan - Most individual tries in a match - ESPN Scrum". ESPN scrum.
  30. ^ "Rugby Union - Japan - Youngest appearance - ESPN Scrum". ESPN scrum.
  31. ^ "Rugby Union - Japan - Oldest appearance - ESPN Scrum". ESPN scrum.

External links[edit]