Yanai Yumiko
  • Yanai Yumiko 
  • By this author: 12 Latest posted: 2016.08.03
Sports writer. Born in 1966 in Hokkaido. After graduating from Hokkaido University she began to work at Sports Nippon Newspapers. She has written several books about the Japan Professional Football League (J. League).
Japan Men’s Team Looking to End Soccer Medal Drought in Rio2016.08.03

In January this year, Japan assured itself a spot at the Olympic soccer tournament in Rio by winning the AFC U-23 Championship in Doha, Qatar. This will be Japan’s sixth consecutive and tenth overall appearance at the Games. The Asian champions—which go by the nickname Teguramori Japan after U-23 head coach Teguramori Makoto—are looking to improve on their fourth-place showing in London and captur…

Japan Soccer Program Looks to Experience2014.09.16

The curtain came down on this summer’s World Cup in Brazil after Germany claimed its fourth World Cup title. It was the nation’s first such triumph in 24 years, and indeed the first since the unification of the East and West German football teams following the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. (West Germany’s victory at the 1990 tournament in Italy came mere months before the official reunification…

The Lessons of Brazil 20142014.07.08

The fifth consecutive appearance of the Japan men’s soccer team at a World Cup Finals tournament came to an early end on June 24. Striker Jackson Martinez scores Colombia’s third goal against Japan. (© Jiji Press) The team’s final record stands at one draw and two losses, meaning an exit at the group stage. Needless to say, this performance stands up poorly in comparison with Japan’s progress t…

Brazil 2014: Greener Grass Inside the Stadiums2014.07.01

As I write this on June 23, we are well into the 2014 FIFA World Cup, which began on June 12, and the competition has got off to something of a tumultuous start. While host nation Brazil started well with a win over Croatia in the tournament opener, and Germany, Argentina, and other potential title challengers have also been piling up the points, defending champion Spain has been condemned to an e…

A Loss for Japan, But a Clear Path Forward for Its Soccer2014.06.18

Japan’s first appearance in the 2014 World Cup kicked off at 10:00 PM on Saturday, June 14—10:00 AM on the following day, Japan time. The game took place in Recife, Brazil, fully halfway around the world from Japan. The distance did not keep some 7,000 Japanese fans from traveling to the match, though. And as they took to the stands at the Arena Pernambuco, their numbers seemed even greater.


Becoming Japanese: Zaccheroni’s Shift to Attacking Soccer2014.06.13

AC Milan’s Honda Keisuke stabs home his second goal of the night during a World Cup warm-up against Zambia (© Jiji Press). Having closed the curtain on a last-minute training camp in Florida, the Japan men’s national soccer team is now in Brazil gearing up for a fifth consecutive appearance in the FIFA World Cup finals. In their final warm up to the tournament on June 6, the squad pulled off a d…

Legendary 41-year-old Powers Japan’s Ski Jumping Revival2014.02.28

The thrilling competition at the Sochi Winter Olympics has drawn to a close. Japan’s Olympic team ended up with one gold, four silver, and three bronze medals; this is the highest total medal count for any Winter Olympics held outside of Japan. The return to form of the country’s ski jumpers was particularly encouraging: Japan’s jumpers earned medals for the first time since the 1998 Nagano Olympi…

Asada Mao’s Skating Comeback Wins Hearts2014.02.26

The moment her performance finished, Asada Mao looked up and burst into tears. Then, in the midst of thunderous applause, she gave a little nod and with a beaming smile lifted her hands to the crowd. Asada’s poor showing in the short program on the first day of the ladies’ single skating event in Sochi had left her well behind the field in sixteenth place. She bounced back in the following day’…

At the Sochi Games: The Olympic Atmosphere Around Town2014.02.20

Much of the early global press coverage of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, focused on the danger of a terrorist attack at the games, the country’s legal discrimination against sexual minorities, and other factors posing a threat to the safety of athletes and fans. Now that a week has passed since the Opening Ceremony, though, the games seem to be progressing without incident. What are things…

A Post-Plushenko Champion: Hanyū Yuzuru Wins Figure Skating Gold2014.02.19

On February 14, figure skater Hanyū Yuzuru delivered a Valentine’s Day present to millions of fans watching him compete in the men’s free skating competition in Sochi, Russia: Japan’s first ever Olympic gold medal in the men’s event. Just 19 years old, Hanyū came into his own just as the great Russian skater Evgeni Plushenko, 31—identified by the young Japanese skater as a hero and inspiration—ann…

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