Olympics The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan  

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List of the greatest Olympic athletes from Japan, with photos when available. These are the best Japanese Olympians of all time who have had the honor of representing their country at the prestigious Olympic games. Japanese athletes from every era all have their place in the Olympic history books, but which Japanese Olympian is the best of them all? You can decide who the greatest Olympic competitor from Japan is by how many medals they took back to their country, but that isn't the only factor that comes into play when considering who the best really is.

Examples of athletes on this list include Nobutaka Taguchi and Yasunobu Sekikawa.

This list answers the questions, "Who is the best Japanese Olympian of all time?" and "Who are the greatest Olympians from Japan?"

America, Russia and Great Britain have the most Olympic medals out of every country that has been represented in the Olympics, but it doesn't mean that Olympic competitors from other nations don't deserve accolades as well. Vote for your favorite Japan Olympic athletes on this list, and downvote the ones that you don't think had a huge impact on Japan.

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195 26
Yuzuru Hanyu is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
LanaYoshii added Yuzuru Hanyu Men's singles Yuzuru Hanyū is a Japanese figure skater who competes in the men's singles discipline. He is the 2014 Olympic champion, the 2014 World champion, a two-time Grand Prix Final champion, the 2010 ...more

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119 33
Kohei Uchimura is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
Kohei Uchimura Men's Gymnastics, team competition, Men's Gymnastics Kōhei Uchimura is a Japanese artistic gymnast. He is a five-time Olympic medalist, winning a gold and four silvers, a 16-time World medalist and is considered by many to be the greatest gymnast ...more

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56 23
Fumie Suguri is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
Fumie Suguri Fumie Suguri is a Japanese figure skater. She is a three-time World medalist, a three-time Four Continents champion, the 2003 Grand Prix Final champion, and a five-time Japanese national

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44 25
Miki Ando is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
Miki Ando Miki Ando is a Japanese former figure skater. She is the 2007 and 2011 World champion, 2011 Four Continents champion, 2004 World Junior champion, and a three-time Japanese national champion. ...more

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41 25
Daito Takahashi is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
Daito Takahashi Daito Takahashi is a Japanese Nordic combined skier who has competed since 2000. Competing in three Winter Olympics, he earned his best finish of sixth twice. Takahashi's best finish at the FIS ...more

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23 10
Kosuke Kitajima is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
Kosuke Kitajima Men's 200m breaststroke, Men's 100m breaststroke, Men's 4x100m medley relay Kosuke Kitajima is a Japanese multiple Olympic gold medalist breaststroke swimmer. He won gold medals for the men's 100 m and 200 m breaststroke at both the Athens 2004, and the Beijing 2008 ...more

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22 12
Nobuko Fukuda is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
Nobuko Fukuda Nobuko Fukuda is a cross-country skier.

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24 14
Saori Yoshida is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
Saori Yoshida Women's Freestyle Wrestling, Lightweight 48 - 55kg Saori Yoshida is a Japanese wrestler. Starting from 1998 she won every major competition, including three Olympic Games, four Asian Games, and 12 world championships, and became the most ...more

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14 5
Osamu Ueno is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
Osamu Ueno Osamu Ueno is a freestyle skier.

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9 2
Sawao Kato is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
Arthur Roderick added Sawao Kato Men's Gymnastics, individual all-round, Men's Horizontal bar Sawao Kato is a retired Japanese gymnast and one of the most successful athletes of all time at the Olympic Games. In three Olympics, he gathered a total of twelve medals, including eight gold ...more

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12 5
Midori Ito is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
LanaYoshii added Midori Ito Women's Singles Midori Ito or Midori Itō is a Japanese former figure skater. She is the 1989 World champion and the 1992 Olympic silver medalist. She is the first woman to land a triple/triple jump combination ...more

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13 6
Masako Ishida is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
Masako Ishida Masako Ishida is a Japanese cross country skier who has competed since 1998. Her best World Cup finish was third in the 30 km event in Norway in 2009. Competing in two Winter Olympics, Ishida ...more

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16 9
Hiroki Yamada is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
Hiroki Yamada Hiroki Yamada is a Japanese ski jumper. In the World Cup he finished four times among the top 10, his best results being two fourth places from Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Hakuba. He participated ...more

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18 11
Ken Mizuno is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
Ken Mizuno Ken Mizuno is a freestyle skier.

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9 3
Yuka Sato is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
LanaYoshii added Yuka Sato Yuka Sato is a Japanese former competitive figure skater. She is the 1994 World champion, the 1990 World Junior champion and the 1993 & 1994 Japanese national champion. She placed 7th at the ...more

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9 3
Tomoka Takeuchi is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
Tomoka Takeuchi Tomoka Takeuchi is a professional snowboarder.

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11 5
Kentaro Minagawa is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
Kentaro Minagawa Kentaro Minagawa is a Japanese alpine skier. His first international successes were at the 1996 Junior World Championships in Schwyz, with a 5th rank in Slalom, and a 9th rank in Giant Slalom. ...more

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Masaki Toshiro is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
Masaki Toshiro Masaki Toshiro is a Japanese luger who has competed since 2000. He finished 12th in the men's doubles event at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin. Toshiro's best finish at the FIL World Luge ...more

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16 10
Kazuhiro Koshi is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
Kazuhiro Koshi Kazuhiro Koshi is a Japanese skeleton racer who has competed since 1991. Competing in three Winter Olympics, he earned his best finish of eighth in the men's skeleton event at Salt Lake City in ...more

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8 3
Soko Yamaoka is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
Soko Yamaoka Soko Yamaoka is a professional snowboarder.

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10 6
Noriaki Kasai is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
Noriaki Kasai Noriaki Kasai is a Japanese ski jumper. Kasai holds many World Cup records, including those for individual starts, team starts, and the most seasons performing in the World Cup. He has competed ...more

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10 6
Chikako Fushimi is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
Chikako Fushimi Chikako Fushimi is a Japanese snowboarder. Born in Osaka Prefecture, her career-high has so far been a 3rd place finish in the 2005 Nokia Snowboard FIS World Cup held in Canada. She competed in ...more

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10 6
Hiroki Hirako is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
Hiroki Hirako Hiroki Hirako is a Japanese speed skater. He has competed for Japan at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He has also previously competed in the 2002 Winter Olympics. He won gold medal in the 2007 Asian ...more

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9 5
Eri Yanetani is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
Eri Yanetani Eri Yanetani is a professional snowboarder.

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9 5
Eiko Nakayama is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
Eiko Nakayama Eiko Nakayama is a Japanese skeleton racer who has competed since 1999. Competing in two Winter Olympics, she earned her best finish of 12th in the women's skeleton event at Salt Lake City in ...more

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9 5
Daisuke Matsuzaka is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
Daisuke Matsuzaka Daisuke Matsuzaka is a Japanese professional baseball pitcher for the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks. He has played for the Boston Red Sox, New York Mets and Cleveland Indians of Major League Baseball ...more

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9 5
Keiichiro Nagashima is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
Keiichiro Nagashima Men's 500m Keiichiro Nagashima is a Japanese long track speed skater specialising in the sprint distances 500 and 1000 metres. Nagashima has won two World Cup races and has three Japanese domestic titles. ...more

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8 4
Tae Satoya is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
Tae Satoya Women's Moguls Tae Satoya is a Japanese freestyle skier. She won the Olympic title in the moguls event at the 1998 Winter Olympics, and she finished third at the 2002 games. Tae became the first Japanese woman ...more

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8 4
Sayuri Osuga is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
Sayuri Osuga Sayuri Osuga is a Japanese speed skater and cyclist. She is one of the few athletes who started both in the Winter Games 2002 and 2006 and in the 2004 Summer Games. Until 2006, she was a member ...more

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8 4
Joji Kato is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
Joji Kato Men's 500m Joji Kato is a Japanese speedskater whose specialty is in the sprinting distance event of 500 metres. At the age of 17 he became the first junior speedskater to skate the 500 metres in less than ...more

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7 4
Yuka Fujimori is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
Yuka Fujimori Yuka Fujimori is a professional snowboarder.

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9 7
Maki Tabata is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
Maki Tabata Women's Team Pursuit Maki Tabata is a speed skater and cycle racer. Maki Tabata won bronze at the World Allround Championships in 2000 and one month later, she won another bronze, this time on the 3000 m at the ...more

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9 7
Eriko Ishino is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
Eriko Ishino Eriko Ishino is a speed skater.

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9 7
Chiharu Icho is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
Chiharu Icho Women's Freestyle Wrestling, Flyweight 48 kg Chiharu Icho is a Japanese wrestler who competed in the 48 kg weight class at the 2004 and 2008 Summer Olympics, winning the silver medal at both Games. Her younger sister Kaori is also a ...more

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8 6
Teruhiro Sugimori is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
Teruhiro Sugimori Teruhiro Sugimori is a speed skater.

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8 6
Kazuyoshi Funaki is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
Kazuyoshi Funaki Men's Large hill individual, Men's Individual Normal Hill Kazuyoshi Funaki is a Japanese ski jumper. He ranked among the most successful sportsmen of its discipline, particularly in the 1990s. Funaki is known for his special variant of the V-style, in ...more

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7 5
Chikage Tanaka is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
Chikage Tanaka Chikage Tanaka is a short track speed skater.

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6 4
Kiyofumi Nagai is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
Kiyofumi Nagai Men's Track cycling, Keirin Kiyofumi Nagai is a track cyclist from Japan. He won a bronze medal in the Keirin race at the 2008 Olympic Games.

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6 4
Makoto Okiguchi is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
Makoto Okiguchi Men's Gymnastics, team competition Makoto Okiguchi is a Japanese gymnast.

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6 4
Hiroyuki Tomita is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
Hiroyuki Tomita Men's Gymnastics, team competition, Men's Horizontal bar Hiroyuki Tomita is a Japanese gymnast. Tomita has three Olympic medals from the 2004 and 2008 Olympics.

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6 4
Yuichi Onda is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
Yuichi Onda Yuichi Onda is a cross-country skier.

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5 3
Yukio Endo is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
Steph Bowerhaus added Yukio Endo Men's Gymnastics, individual all-round, Men's Parallel bars Yukio Endo was a Japanese artistic gymnast, Olympic champion and world champion. He was part of the first Japanese team that succeeded to win gold medals in the team event at the Summer Olympics ...more

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5 3
Akinori Nakayama is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
Arthur Roderick added Akinori Nakayama Men's Rings, Men's Parallel bars, Men's Gymnastics Akinori Nakayama is a Japanese gymnast and Olympic gold medalist. Nakayama was born in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, and is a graduate of Chukyo University in Nagoya. Nakayama is one of only two ...more

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5 3
Mitsuo Tsukahara is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
Steph Bowerhaus added Mitsuo Tsukahara Men's Gymnastics, individual all-round, Men's Horizontal bar Mitsuo Tsukahara is a Japanese artistic gymnast. He was five times an Olympic Gold Medalist. He remained active in the sport after his retirement from competition. He served as vice president of ...more

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5 3
Ayumi Tanimoto is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
Ayumi Tanimoto Women's Judo, 57 - 63kg (Half-Middleweight) Ayumi Tanimoto born August 4, 1981 in Anjo, Aichi, is a Japanese female judoka. She was coached by Toshihiko Koga, who is a gold medalist at the Barcelona Olympics and a silver medalist at the ...more

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5 3
Itaru Chimura is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
Itaru Chimura Itaru Chimura is a professional snowboarder.

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Daiki Ito is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
Daiki Ito Daiki Ito is a Japanese ski jumper who has competed since 2002. He won two bronze medals in the team large hill event at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships. He won four world cup individual ...more

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8 7
Hiroshi Suzuki is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
Hiroshi Suzuki Hiroshi Suzuki is a Japanese bobsledder who has competed since 1992. Competing in four Winter Olympics, he earned his best finish of 18th in both the two-man and four-man events at Lillehammer ...more

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7 6
Akito Watabe is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
Akito Watabe Akito Watabe is a Japanese Nordic combined skier who has been competing since 2005. He won a gold medal in the 4 × 5 km team event at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 2009 in Liberec ...more

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7 6
Daisuke Murakami is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
Daisuke Murakami Daisuke Murakami is a professional snowboarder.