Friday, 1 August 2014
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 JPN / Japan - Team Composition  
 
Team manager NARITA, Akihiko
Head coach YANAGIMOTO, Shoichi
Assistant coach BANDAIRA, Mamoru
Doctor YAMAGUCHI, Hiroshi
Therapist / trainer NAKAMURA, Kazumi (Ms.)
Journalist
 
No. Name Lastname Shirt Name Birthdate Height Weight Spike Block Club
1 Megumi KURIHARA KURIHARA 31/07/1984 187 69 308 295 Dynamo Kazan
2   Asako TAJIMI TAJIMI 26/06/1972 180 70 309 304 Pioneer Red Wings
C 3 Yoshie TAKESHITA TAKESHITA 18/03/1978 159 53 280 270 JT Marvelous
4   Kanako OMURA OMURA 15/12/1976 184 70 319 310 Hisamitsu Springs
5 Miyuki TAKAHASHI SHIN 25/12/1978 170 65 290 285 NEC Red Rockets
L 6   Yuko Sano Sano 26/07/1979 159 54 260 250 Denso Airybees
7 Sachiko SUGIYAMA SUGIYAMA 19/10/1979 184 66 310 305 NEC Red Rockets
8   Yuka SAKURAI SAKURAI 2/09/1974 167 63 290 275 Denso Airybees
9 Miyuki KANO KANO 17/05/1977 174 65 298 275 Hisamitsu Springs
11   Erika ARAKI ARAKI 3/08/1984 186 80 308 298 Toray Arrows
12 Saori Kimura Saori 19/08/1986 185 65 304 293 Toray Arrows
14   Yuki KAWAI KAWAI 22/01/1990 169 63 280 275 JT Marvelous
 C=Captain  L=Libero
Team Profile Coach Profile

Japan finally clinched a berth at the Olympic Games in Beijing at the FIVB Olympic Qualification Tournament in May by finishing as one of the best-three teams of the competition, the second successive qualification for the Olympics for Japan's squad led by Shoichi Yanagimoto.
 
It is five years since Yanagimoto started coaching the Japanese Women and the forthcoming Summer Games will undoubtedly be the most crucial competition for him and his squad so far.
 
Five years ago, Yanagimoto picked young promising players Megumi Kurihara, Kana Oyama and Saori Kimura and Japan took the FIVB 2003 World Cup by storm. Building on this momentum, the squad qualified for the Olympics in Athens at the OQT in 2004. Japan had put a stop to their absence from the Olympics -- they missed out in 2000 -- but finished in only fifth place.
 
Since Athens, Yanagimoto's squad has had its ups and downs, but key players including team captain Yoshie Takeshita and Miyuki Takahashi have remained a constant factor and the team has gradually improved.
 
In 2006, at the World Championship in Japan, Japan's squad, as the organizing country, was under enormous pressure. Despite the loss to Chinese Taipei at the curtain raiser, Yamagimoto reorganized his team the following day and it was able to realize its potential. Japan finished fifth.
 
In 2007, Megumi Kurihara, the most reliable spiker, made her first appearance since the Olympic Games in 2004. In September, at the 14th Asian Women's Championship in Thailand, Japan beat China for the third time in 24 years, realizing a long-cherished dream.
 
Yanagimoto and his players know that they have physical disadvantages, but they compensate for these disadvantages with excellent teamwork.

Japan have a glittering Olympic history, claiming the first Women's Volleyball Olympic gold in Tokyo in 1964 and winning gold again in Montreal in 1976. In-between those dates, they won silver in Mexico in 1968 and Munich in 1972. They also won bronze in 1984 in Los Angeles.

Shoichi Yanagimoto, born in Osaka in 1951, was a promising setter even in high school and won two national high school titles. He decided to pursue a career as a Volleyball player with the New Nippon Steel team and was selected for Japan's national squad, winning gold at the Asian Games in Iran in 1974, bronze at the World Championship in Mexico in 1974 and coming fourth in the Olympics in Montreal in 1976.

For four seasons from 1980 to 1984 Yanagimoto played two roles at New Nippon Steel -- as Head Coach and as key setter -- and led his squad to victory in the Japan League. He was voted Best Coach in 1982.
 
In 1985, Yanagimoto was invited to Thailand to coach the Thai Men's National Team. Despite a lack of time and difficulty in communicating his passionate ideas about coaching to his players, Yanagimoto guided them to first place at the SEA Games.
 
In the following year, 1986, Yanagimoto was asked to be involved in the founding of new team Nisshin Steel and to coach them. Nisshin Steel soon got promoted to the first division V. League.
 
The year 1997 was the turning point in his Volleyball career when he took over TOYOBO Orchis, a Women's company team in the V. League, and won the V-League twice in five seasons. 
 
In spring 2003, Yanagimoto was appointed as Head Coach of the Japanese Women. Within eight months his squad had made a remarkable improvement and finished fifth at the Women's World Cup in November. At the Athens Olympics, Japan finished fifth and Yanagimoto.
 
His next goal after the Olympic Games was a good finish at the World Championship in 2006. Despite the tough competition schedule, his players played consistently well and finished fifth.
 
Since the Olympics in 2004, however, all has not been smooth sailing for his squad. Whenever key players left the squad due to injuries, Yanagimoto has always tried to make his team strong by making the most of his remaining players' abilities.