Takahiro Yamamoto


Takahiro Yamamoto is renowned for his power, pace and exuberance as a youthful and energetic wing spiker for Japan. At 200cm and 87kg he's one of the biggest players in the Japanese lineup and has one of the biggest hearts. It is these qualities that are turning Yamamoto into one of the key players within the Japanese team now in the process of being reshaped with the next generation of players.

Following a steep learning curve during the 2002 World Championships in Argentina, the 25-year-old from Tottori is aiming to continue the momentum by issuing an ominous warning to his opponents at the 2004 World League.

"I am still improving," Yamamoto said. "In the past my serving was not consistent and I made a lot of mistakes, but now I can serve, not only effectively but I can serve smart by changing my serve pattern. However, above all I have to score with effective spiking when it comes to the crucial points. I have learnt that if my spiking is not consistent the team suffers, but if my spiking is effective, I can lead the whole team in the right direction."

Yamamoto is a leader both on and off the court for Japan and is fast becoming known for both his outspoken views and inspirational play. But his enthusiasm is prone to attracting attention and comments he made last year about Japan's chances in the World League drew a lot of attention. He predicted that his side could upset the form book and qualify for the World League final round; Japan eventually finished that tournament in 13th place.

Added to that disappointment, was Japan’s failure to place higher than ninth at the 2003 World Cup which Japan themselves hosted. However, having a player with Yamamoto’s huge belief and enthusiasm can only bode well for the future of Japanese international volleyball.