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2005 edition
Shoichi Yanagimoto
Although there are a large number of
Volleyball coaches in the world, there are not many like Shoichi Yanagimoto, the present head coach of the Japanese women’s squad, who has been involved in various aspects of Volleyball.

Yanagimoto, born in Osaka in 1951, was a promising setter even in high school and won two national high school titles.
Following a decision by Yanagimoto to pursue a career as a Volleyball player with the New Nippon Steel team, one of the major companies in Japan, he was selected for Japan’s national squad and achieved remarkable success – 1st at the Asian Games in Iran in 1974, 3rd at the World Championship in Mexico in 1974 and 4th in the Olympics in Montreal in 1976. Furthermore, for four seasons from 1980 to 1984 Yanagimoto played two roles at New Nippon Steel as the head coach and as a key setter and led his squad to a glorious victory in the Japan League, the then premier League in Japan, and Yanagimoto himself was awarded the prize of Best Coach in 1982.

In 1985, Yanagimoto was invited to Thailand to coach the Thai men’s national squad. Compensating for a lack of time and difficulty in communicating with his players with his passionate coaching, Yanagimoto made them the champions at the SEA Games. He sometimes recalls the time in Thailand and is convinced that his experience in Thailand has broadened his horizons and mind.

The following year, 1986, Yanagimoto was asked to be involved in the founding of a new team, Nisshin Steel, and to coach them and he resumed his career in Japan. Needless to say, Nisshin Steel soon got prom
oted to the first division, the V. League, and as a result Yanagimoto was highly thought of as a coach.

1997 was the turning point in his
Volleyball career. Yanagimoto took over as coach of the women’s company team of the V. League, TOYOBO Orchis, and won the V-League twice in five seasons. However, in 2002, due to the long-lasting economic depression their company owner decided to close its Volleyball team (like Hitachi, Odakyu and UNITIKA), despite being one of the top teams.

In spring in 2003, Yanagimoto was appointed as the head coach of the Japanese senior women’s national squad by the JVA and launched the first selection camp in March with over 30 candidates for his squad, which included some experienced players e.g. Tomoko Yoshihara and Asako Tajimi and fresh promising players
like Megumi Kurihara and Kana Oyama. Yanagimoto’s final goal is to be ranked No.1 in the world in the near future. In order to achieve this goal, Yanagimoto has determined to build up his squad by initiating short - and long - term plans.

A passionate and devoted coach, Yanagimoto, has been full of ambition to compete in the Olympics in Athens, especially after an encouraging fifth place finish at the 2003 World Cup. At this time of year, an encouraging performance at the World Grand Prix will be the perfect recipe for Yanagimoto ahead of Athens.

Percentage of Wins

Japan Total Matches Matches Won Matches Lost Wins %