Japan have their sights set on the next
edition of the Olympic Games taking place in 2016, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Their first challenge on the road to Rio was the FIVB Volleyball World League
under the supervision of coach Gary Sato, who was appointed by the Japan Volleyball
Association this year, at the start of the new Olympic cycle.
The Japanese men’s national team is called “Ryujin Nippon”. The word Ryujin, or
‘dragon’ in Japanese mythology, symbolises strength and nobleness. This name
expresses the hopes of the national federation to inspire the players to fight
with strong, ambitious and noble minds in order for the team to reign in the
world of volleyball. Japan are driven to take their first title under Sato,
their last one was at the Asian Championship in 2009.
Japan failed to make it to the podium at the Asian Championship in September,
only finishing fourth. But as the host nation, Japan have pre-qualified for the
World Grand Champions Cup and they will take this chance to enhance their game
en route to Rio 2016.This year’s team includes experienced players such as
Yusuke Ishijima Tatsuya Fukuzawa, and Kunihiro Shimizu – all three players
steered Japan to clutch the 2009 Asian Championship – as well as young players
Shunsuke Chijiki and Takashi Dekita.