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The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan

Updated June 14, 2019 4.1k votes 809 voters 21.2k views94 items

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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    677
    53

    Yuzuru Hanyu

    Men's singles
    Yuzuru Hanyu (羽生結弦, Hanyū Yuzuru, born December 7, 1994) is a Japanese figure skater who...  more
  • 2
    185
    108

    Kohei Uchimura

    Men's Gymnastics, team competition
    Kōhei Uchimura (内村 航平, Uchimura Kōhei, born January 3, 1989) is a Japanese gymnast. He is a...  more
  • 3
    68
    19

    Midori Ito

    Women's Singles
    Midori Ito or Midori Itō (伊藤みどり, Itō Midori, born 13 August 1969) is a Japanese former figure...  more
  • 4
    68
    21

    Kosuke Kitajima

    Men's 200m breaststroke, Men's 100m breaststroke
    Kosuke Kitajima (北島 康介, Kitajima Kōsuke, born September 22, 1982 in Tokyo) is a Japanese...  more
  • 5
    Fumie Suguri (村主 章枝, Suguri Fumie, born December 31, 1980) is a Japanese figure skater. She is...  more
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    28
    12

    Maki Tabata

    Women's Team Pursuit
    Maki Tabata (田畑 真紀, Tabata Maki, born 9 November 1974 in Mukawa, Hokkaido, Japan) is a speed...  more
  • 7
    Hiroki Hirako is a Japanese speed skater. He has competed for Japan at the 2010 Winter...  more
  • 8
    22
    7

    Yūya Oikawa

    Yūya Oikawa (及川 佑, Oikawa Yūya) (born 16 January 1981) is a Japanese speed skater. He competed...  more
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    24
    10

    Makoto Okiguchi

    Men's Gymnastics, team competition
    Makoto Okiguchi is a Japanese gymnast....  more
  • 10
    Tomoka Takeuchi is a professional snowboarder....  more

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    #21 of 35 The Very Best Snowboarders in the World#169 of 203 The Best Olympic Athletes in Snowboarding

  • 11
    Eriko Ishino is a speed skater....  more
  • 12
    66
    63

    Saori Yoshida

    Women's Freestyle Wrestling, Lightweight 48 - 55kg
    Saori Yoshida (吉田 沙保里, Yoshida Saori, born 5 October 1982) is a former Japanese freestyle...  more
  • 13
    Daito Takahashi (高橋 大斗, Takahashi Daito) (born December 16, 1980) is a Japanese Nordic...  more
  • 14
    Shiho Nakashima is a professional snowboarder....  more
  • 15
    Chikako Fushimi (伏見 知何子, Fushimi Chikako) (born 21 June 1974) is a Japanese snowboarder. Born...  more
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    23
    12
    Keiichiro Nagashima (長島 圭一郎, Nagashima Keiichirō, born 20 April 1982) is a Japanese long track...  more
  • 17
    Eri Yanetani is a professional snowboarder....  more
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    18
    6

    Satoshi Ishii

    Men's Judo, + 100kg (heavyweight)
    Satoshi Ishii (石井 慧, Ishii Satoshi, born December 19, 1986) is a Japanese–born Croatian judoka...  more
  • 19
    Miki Ito is a freestyle skier....  more
  • 20
    Manami Hino (桧野真奈美, born January 8, 1980 in Obihiro, Hokkaido) is a Japanese bobsledder who...  more
  • 21
    Yuichi Onda is a cross-country skier....  more
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    16
    5

    Ryoko Tani

    Women's Judo, - 48kg (extra-lightweight)
    Ryoko Tani (谷 亮子, Tani Ryōko, née Tamura (田村), born September 6, 1975) is a retired Japanese...  more
  • 23
    Eiko Nakayama (中山 英子, born September 28, 1970) is a Japanese skeleton racer who has competed...  more
  • 24
    Teruhiro Sugimori is a speed skater....  more
  • 25
    Sayuri Osuga (Japanese: 大菅小百合, born 27 October 1980) is a Japanese speed skater and cyclist. ...  more