Last modified January 5, 2002.

Masami Ihara
Born Sept 18, 1967. 182 cm tall and weighs 72 kilos. Was a long time member of the Yokohama Marinos until he was fired from the new Yokohama F. Marinos in 2000. He has since joined Jubilo Iwata, but did not have many chances to play. First Japanese to play more than 100 international matches. On the national team since June 1988 as a student of Tsukuba University. Was national team captain.

Shoji Jo
Born June 17, 1975. 179 cm. tall, weighs 72 kilos.
He joined JEF Ichihara in 1994, fresh out of high school. He made a big impact on the fans when he kicked in goals in all of his first 4 J.league games. He has signed with the Yokohama Marinos for the '97 season. Played in the Spanish league in 2000 but was back with the Marinos in Oct.

Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi
Born Aug.15, 1975. Stands 181 cm. weighs 75 kilos.
Goalkeeper for the Atlanta Olympic soccer team and played for the Yokohama Marinos before joining England's Portsmouth in Oct 2001. He's been a star since his high school days with that sweet boyish look anyone would be attracted to. He's broken a couple of bones in his right hand in the game on Sept.14 and diagnosed as needing 6 weeks to recover so was not able to play in the later half of the '96 J-league season. He played full time as a national team goalkeeper in the World Cup '98 France.

Masakiyo Maezono
Born Oct.29,1973. 170 cm tall, weights 63 kilos. Mid fielder.
Captain of Japan's Atlanta Olympic soccer team which defeated the Brazilian national team. Played for the Yokohama Flugels from 1990, then became a Verdy in 1997, leased to Santos, then to Gremio both in Brazil. He was at the time of his heyday a fashion role model for the young Japanese. Maezono was not chosen to play on the national team after 1997.

Kazuyoshi Miura
Born Feb. 26, 1967. 177 cm tall, weighs 72 kilos. The first Japanese player to play successfully in Brazil with the famous club team, Santos. Entered the predecessor of Kawasaki Verdy in 1990. Since, many teenagers have been trying to follow his footsteps by entering soccer schools in Brazil. He was the sports player with the highest income in Japan in 1993 and was selected MVP. He became the first Japanese to join Italy's Serie A in 1994. He was with Genoa. In Japan, he always plays for Verdy Kawasaki. Kazu became the top scorer in J. League's 1996 season. He was, however, dropped from the World Cup squad on June 2, 1998. He played for Zagreb in the Croatian league from Feb. 1999 and returned to Japan in 2000 joining the Kyoto Purple Sanga. For the 2001 season he signed with Vissel Kobe.

Shunsuke Nakamura
Born June 24, 1978. 178 cm tall and weighs 66 kilos. Joined Yokohama Marinos in 1997. Was selected on the Japan youth national team and played in the Sydney Games. Became a fullfledge national team member in Feb. 2000 fighting the Asian Cup preliminaries.

Hidetoshi Nakata
Born Jan. 22, 1977. 175 cm.tall and weighs 67 kilos. Is known for his reserved, cool attitude. Member of the Atlanta Olympic team. He became a national team member in May 1997. He was also a world select member in Dec. 1997. He's been playing for Bellmare Hiratsuka since 1995. In Sept. 1998, he joined Perugia in Italy's Serie A. Then in Jan. 2000 he left for AS Rome.

Masashi Nakayama
Born Sept. 23, 1967. Is 178 cm. tall and weighs 74 kilos. Dubbed "Gon".Is known for his humorous charater. He plays for Jubilo Iwata. Had become a star player when he played as a national team member in 1993. He was selected to play again as a national team member for the final game of Group B in the World Cup Asian Finals on Nov.8, 1997. 1997 J. League championship MVP. 1998 season MVP and highest scorer. He played for the World Cup '98 France Japanese team, and kicked in the team's one and only goal. Won highest J. League scorer again in 2000.

Shinji Ono
Born Sept 27, 1979. 175 cm tall and weighs 74 kilos. He joined the J. League's Urawa Red in 1998. He made it on the roster of the World Cup team that year. Since the summer of 2001, Ono plays for Holland's Feyenoord.

Kunishige Kamamoto
Ace striker of Japan's bronze winning national team at the 1968 Mexico Olympics. He was also the top striker there. His company team was Yanmar. He was the top striker in the then Japan League 7 times. Kamamoto is a politician since 1995. In the Japan Football Association, he is the vice chairman since July 1998.

Yasuhiko Okudera
Born Mar 12 1952. 177 cm tall. First Japanese to play pro outside of Japan. In 1977, he joined Bundeslig in Germany's premier league. His soccer career began in 1970 with Furukawa Denko, the strongest team in the then Japan League. After his long stint in Germany, he rejoins Furukawa as a pro player. He ended his playing career in 1988. He become the head coach of JEF United in the J.League. Furthermore, he made innovative attempts. In 1998, he formed a team, Yokohama FC with Pierre Littbarski. In 2001, he founded a soccer academy, the first in Japan.
Michiyo's Note: Met Mr. Okudera in 2001. Most impressive during our conversation was how concerned he was that there was no place in Japan where sports education is provided to teenagers. That's why he opened a school which not only holds regular soccer practices, but also provides lessons on the history, information on sports in the classroom.

Ruy Ramos
Brazilian born turned Japanese. Ramos played with Verdy Kawasaki since 1978 when it was called Yomiuri Football Club. Is highly acclaimed for his contribution to the popularity of soccer in Japan. Played briefly in 1996 for a then new J-league team called Kyoto Purple Sanga. However, he was called back to play with the Verdy Kawasaki in August that year. Retired after the 1998 season. Is currently a FUTSOL player.

Ryuichi Sugiyama
On the Mexico Olympic bronze winning team as a forward. Is presently on the executive board of Jubilo Iwata.