Men's National Team Manager Chosen

It was announced on Oct. 9, that Futoshi Teramawari has been selected the national team manager for the men's. He has led NEC to a league victory 3 times. His contract will last for the next 4 years.

Women's World Cup Grand Prix (Aug. 30 to Sept.8 '96)

The first half of the grand prix were held in Sendai-city, northern Japan. Japan lost all three games--that's against China, Russia and Cuba. In the later half of this event hosted in Osaka from Sept. 6 with Brazil and the US also taking part, Japan wasn't able to win even one game again.

As of Sept.12, Japan has lost 7 games in a row in the Grand Prix series.

US-Japan Men's Volleyball Matches (Aug. 29 to Sept. 1, '96)

The men's national team lost all 3 games to the US. It's the first time in 8 years Japan has faced a complete defeat in the series.

Naming New National Team Manager

The Japan Volleyball Association seems to be very careful about choosing the right person to take on the responsibility as manager of the national team for men and women. So they've come up with a couple of candidates and have them undergo a trial. Futoshi Teramawari of NEC and Mikiyasu Tanaka of Shinnitetsu will lead the men's team at different times. Three corporate managers will try out with the women's national team. The men's national team manager is hoped to be decided in November. Finalization for the women's may be postponed to next year.

The Women's National Team at the Atlanta Olympic Games

The preliminary rounds have ended and Japan won only one game in block A. So obviously, Japan was not able to advance any further. Japan's 9th place has been finalized. It's the women's team's worst performance since volleyball officially entered the Olympics in 1964.
July 28 vs China--lost all three sets
July 26vs U.S.A.--lost 3 sets to 1
July 24 vs Netherlands--lost all three sets
July 22 vs Ukraine-- won all three sets
July 20 vs South Korea-- lost all three sets

New Chairman

On June 28, 78-year old Tsutomu Murai became the new chairman of the Japan Volleyball Association. He succeeded Yasutaka Matsudaira. Murai played volleyball as a student and served as an assistant to the national team, but he is basically a businessman. Is presently honorary chairman of Asahi Beer and JR West.

Atlanta Olympics qualifying tournament for women (May 26 to June 2, '96 ).

Hurrah! Japanese women made it! Their berth was made decisive on June 1st by winning 3 straight sets against Croatia, plus their earlier victories in games against Romania and Ukraine. Japan secured the top 3 place among 8 participating teams at this tournament. The other teams that have also won the Olympic berth at this tournament are the Netherlands and Ukraine.

Michiyo's Note: What a relief it is that at least the women's team won the Olympic berth.

Atlanta Olympics qualifying tournament for men (May 3 to May 5, '96)

There's no other alternative for Japan but to come in first place in the group which includes Poland, Spain and Greece. However, Japan was put in jeopardy in their first game against Spain, losing it. They defeated Greece on the 2nd day. Still, they needed to take 3 sets straight from Poland on the 3rd day to qualify. However, Poland was the one to took the first 2 sets. That immediately determined Japan's fate. No Olympic Games for the Japanese men.

Asian qualifier for men (April 12 to 21, '96)

In Seoul, Japan's national team was able to outclass the South Koreans by winning all sets. They had no problem defeating the other participants. The qualifier was moved to Tokyo from the 19th. With all the cheers, the prospect for Japan to again overwhelm the South Koreans seemed bright. However, to our dismay, the South Koreans overpowered the Japanese by taking 3 sets to 1. The South Korean men, also qualified for the Olympic Games by placing first in the qualifier.

Asian women qualifying meet for Atlanta Olympics (March 28 to 31)

Only the winner of the tournament is awarded to play at the coming Olympic Games. Japan took off to a great start defeating Taiwan on the opening day but easily they lost to long time rival South Korea on the second day. The two teams met again for the championship playoff on the final day. Japan took the first two sets and it seemed like the winning mood was heightening. But it was an illusion. The South Korean women defeated the Japanese in the following 3 sets. What a dismay it was for Japan! The Japanese women have one more chance to take part at the Olympics. It's by coming in within 3rd place at the world qualifying tournament in May scheduled in Osaka.


Men's championship (March 8 to 11)

It's the first championship victory for NEC Blue Rockets in the V-league. The player who created the mood for their games was Danniel Greenbaum, U.S. bronze medalist at the Barcelona Olympic Games.

Women's championship (February 29 to March 3)

Last year's runner up Unitika won the V-league for the first time since the V-league was started in the autumn of '94. They were thought to be the team most unlikely to win among the 4 top teams, because of their weak defense. Daiei, the team that won the most number of games during the season,on the other hand, failed to win even a game in the final-four tournament.

1996 V-league championship

The top four teams of the season (December to March) for men and women, faced eachother in the round-robin style. Here's their standing in the '95 to '96 V-league season.
Men's Women's
1. NEC 1. Daiei
2. Suntory 2. Toyobo
3. JT 3. NEC
4. Nippon Steel 4. Unitika