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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.
list ordered by
1
Yuzuru Hanyu is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
LanaYoshii added 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
2
Kohei Uchimura is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
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
3
Kosuke Kitajima is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
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
4
Midori Ito is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
LanaYoshii added 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
5
Saori Yoshida is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
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
6
Fumie Suguri is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
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
7
Sawao Kato is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
Arthur Roderick added 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
8
Daito Takahashi is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
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
9
Osamu Ueno is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
Osamu Ueno is a freestyle skier.
10
Noriaki Kasai is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
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
11
Hiroyuki Tomita is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
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.
12
Nobuko Fukuda is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
Nobuko Fukuda is a cross-country skier.
13
Masaki Toshiro is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
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
14
Kentaro Minagawa is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
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
15
Masako Ishida is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
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
16
Miki Ando is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
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
17
Ken Mizuno is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
Ken Mizuno is a freestyle skier.
18
Yuka Sato is listed (or ranked) 18 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
19
Mitsuo Tsukahara is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
Steph Bowerhaus added 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
20
Hiroki Yamada is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
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
21
Kazuhiro Koshi is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
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
22
Maki Tabata is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
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
23
Joji Kato is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
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
24
Tomoka Takeuchi is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
Tomoka Takeuchi is a professional snowboarder.
25
Tae Satoya is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Olympic Athletes from Japan
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