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People’s Honor Award Recipients

The Japanese prime minister presents the People’s Honor Award in recognition of the accomplishments of individuals in sport, entertainment, and other fields. Established in 1977, the award has gone to 24 recipients so far.
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Behind the Mask: Revealing the Ties Between Pro Wrestling in Mexico and JapanIsami Romero

I have lived in Japan for almost 13 years now. Throughout that time, my own name has been a consistent headache. “Romero” may not seem that much of a mouthful, but for some reason people just don’t seem to be able to get it right. It would all have been so much easier if I had been a Martinez, a Cabrera, or a Fernández—all Hispanic surnames more familiar to the Japanese. Then there are those who s…
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Curing the “Samurai Blues”: Bringing a Great Wave of Improvement to Japan’s SoccerYanagisawa Takeshi

At the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, Japan’s men reached the last 16 by playing defensive soccer. But at the 2014 tournament in Brazil, while aiming for a more attacking style, the team crashed out at the group stage after one draw and two losses. Japan head coach Javier Aguirre, October 2014. (© Jiji Press) The man chosen to succeed Japan’s outgoing Italian manager Alberto Zaccheroni …
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Japan Soccer Program Looks to ExperienceYanai Yumiko

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…
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Japan World Cup Squad Announced

On May 12, with exactly one month to go until the June kickoff of this year’s soccer World Cup, Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni announced the names of the 23 players who will be joining him on the plane to Brazil. Here we outline the squad and discuss the national team’s recent form, tactics, and key players.
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Brazilian Players: A Long Association with Japanese Soccer

Since the 1960s, Japanese soccer has welcomed numerous players from soccer superpower Brazil. This longstanding relationship has brought significant benefits for the development of the sport in Japan. We take a look back at some of the more memorable imports from the land of the Verde-Amarela.
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The History of Japan’s International Soccer Team

The Japanese men’s soccer team is all geared up for this summer’s World Cup in Brazil, the nation’s fifth consecutive appearance at a World Cup finals. But although Japan is now recognized as one of Asia’s leading footballing nations, the country had no professional teams until as recently as 1990. For many years qualification for the sport’s biggest tournament remained frustratingly out of reach.
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Young Bloods: Japanese Boxing’s High-flying ProdigiesDavid McMahon

On April 6, Kanagawa-born boxer Inoue Naoya defeated the Mexican Adrian Hernandez in six rounds to win the WBC light flyweight title. In an impressive victory, Inoue confidently and quickly broke down and stopped his experienced opponent, who had been in possession of the WBC belt for most of the last three years and was making his fifth defense. Indeed, Hernandez had won all but three of his 3…
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A Sumō Sandstorm Blows In from Egypt

Japan is now home to many sumō wrestlers from Mongolia and Eastern Europe, but there were none from the Middle East until 2011. That was the year that an Egyptian entered the sumō world, wrestling under the name Ōsunaarashi (“great sandstorm”). In our exclusive interview with this up-and-coming talent, we find out what has fueled his sumō ambitions.
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