|Full name||Masami Ihara|
|Date of birth||September 18, 1967|
|Place of birth||Koka, Shiga, Japan|
|Height||1.82 m (6 ft 0 in)|
|1986–1989||University of Tsukuba|
|1990–1999||Yokohama F. Marinos||267||(5)|
|2006–2008||Japan U-23 (assistant)|
|2009–2014||Kashiwa Reysol (assistant)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
The influential defender was captain of the Japan national team for more than a decade in the 1990s, together with striker Kazuyoshi Miura and Brazilian-born midfielder Ruy Ramos. Ihara's long standing record of 122 national team appearances was bested by Yasuhito Endo on October 16, 2012
Ihara was rarely out of the spotlight in the emerging J1 League throughout the 1990s. He spent most of his career with Yokohama F. Marinos and formed a key defensive partnership with the flamboyant Tsuyoshi Kitazawa at club level. After graduating from University of Tsukuba, Ihara joined Nissan Motors (now known as Yokohama F. Marinos) and rapidly rose through the Marinos youth ranks to become a key player. The long-serving Ihara was so important to his club that he was nicknamed Mister Marinos by many Japanese fans. He formed the backbone of the club and also helped to bring on talented youngsters like Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi and Shunsuke Nakamura.
After leaving Marinos, Ihara also spent a season with Júbilo Iwata (2000) and his last 2 seasons with Urawa Reds (2001-2002). He retired in 2002. He played 341 games and scored 7 goals in the league. He was elected Best Eleven for 6 years in a row (1991/92-1997)
National team career
On January 27, 1988, when Ihara was a University of Tsukuba student, he debuted for Japan national team against United Arab Emirates. After debut, he became a regular player and he played at 1990 World Cup qualification and 1990 Asian Games. In 1992, Japan won Asian Cup first time. However, at 1994 World Cup qualification, Japan failed to won for qualify to 1994 World Cup. After that, Ihara became a captain for Japan and played at 1995 King Fahd Cup and 1996 Asian Cup. In 1997, at 1998 World Cup qualification, Japan won for qualify 1998 World Cup first time. During the 1998 World Cup in France, the veteran sweeper's experience was crucial to Japan's survival in their very first World Cup appearance, forming a flat back three defence with strong centre-back Yutaka Akita as well as speedy fullbacks Eisuke Nakanishi (or strong centre-back Norio Omura). Young Marinos goalkeeper, Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi was Japan's first choice goalkeeper at the time. After 1998 World Cup, he played at 1999 Copa América. This competition was his last game for Japan. He played 122 games and scored 5 goals for Japan until 1999.
In 2006, Ihara became the assistant coach for the Japan U-23 national team and spent two years.
He then became the assistant coach for club Kashiwa Reysol in 2009, being the caretaker on two occasions.
After a horrible three years of being at the bottom half of the table in the J2 League, Avispa Fukuoka then hired Ihara as their coach, replacing the former Marijan Pušnik. Under Ihara, then club went on to win 24 games out of 42 and collected a total of 82 points, ending their regular season in third place. Avispa then went on to the playoffs, where they beat V-Varen Nagasaki 1-0, and then drew 1-1 against Cerezo Osaka. Avispa eventually ended up getting promoted to the J1 League as they were the higher-seeded team.
Ihara's first match in charge of Avispa in the 2016 J1 League was a 2-1 away loss against Sagan Tosu. The first win in the league was on their eighth match in a 0-1 away win in Tokyo against FC Tokyo.
|Club performance||League||Cup||League Cup||Total|
|Japan||League||Emperor's Cup||J.League Cup||Total|
|1990/91||Nissan Motors||JSL Division 1||22||2||4||0||26||2|
|1992||Yokohama Marinos||J1 League||-||5||0||8||0||13||0|
|1999||Yokohama F. Marinos||J1 League||25||0||3||0||6||0||34||0|
|2000||Júbilo Iwata||J1 League||20||1||0||0||3||0||23||1|
|2001||Urawa Reds||J1 League||26||1||4||0||6||0||36||1|
National team statistics
|Japan national team|
Update; December 31, 2015
Honors and awards
- Asian Footballer of the Year: 1995
- J.League Best XI: 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997
- Emperor's Cup: 1991, 1992
- J1 League: 1995
- Asian Cup Winners' Cup: 1991–92, 1992–93
- Japanese Super Cup: 2000
- AFC Century Award
- "IHARA Masami". Japan National Football Team Database. Archived from the original on 2013-09-22.
- "SOCCER/ Endo's Japan record ruined by Brazil thumping". Asahi Shimbun. 18 October 2012. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
- "Masami Ihara". J-League Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on 2007-03-22. Retrieved 2007-09-07.
- Japan National Football Team Database
- J.League Data Site(in Japanese)