Soccer Players The Best Soccer Players from Japan  

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4.2k votes 798 voters 56.8k views 60 items

Ever wonder who the best soccer players from Japan are? This crowd-voted list will help, as it includes the top soccer (or “football”) players from Japan, along with photos when available. This list of best Japanese soccer players is ordered by popularity, so only the greatest players are at the top of the list. If you're searching for a particular famous Japanese soccer player you can use the "search" box to find what you're looking for.

Featuring a variety of top players like Ryuki Kozawa and Seigo Narazaki, this list answers the questions, "Who are the best Japanese footballers?" and "Who is the greatest Japanese soccer player of all time?"

You can click on the names of these popular soccer players of Japan in order to get more information about each one. If you're a sports lover then you can use this list of popular Japanese soccer players to discover some new athletes that you might really enjoy watching. Be sure to vote for your favorite Japanese footballers below, and vote down any players you think should be lower on the list. 

list ordered by

1
325 105
Keisuke Honda is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Japan
Midfielder Keisuke Honda is a Japanese footballer who plays for Serie A club Milan and the Japan national football team. He plays as an attacking midfielder, but he can equally play as a second striker or ...more

2
349 116
Shinji Kagawa is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Japan
Midfielder Shinji Kagawa is a Japanese professional footballer who plays for German club Borussia Dortmund and the Japan national team. Kagawa began his professional career in his homeland with Cerezo ...more

3
219 75
Hidetoshi Nakata is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Japan
Midfielder Hidetoshi Nakata, Cavaliere OSSI, is a retired Japanese football player. He was considered one of the most famous Asian footballers of his generation. Nakata began his professional career in ...more

4
197 65
Shunsuke Nakamura is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Japan
Midfielder Shunsuke Nakamura is a Japanese professional footballer who plays as an attacking midfielder for Yokohama F. Marinos in J. League Division 1. He is the first and only player to have been twice ...more

5
145 66
Shinji Okazaki is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Japan
Forward, Midfielder שינג'י אוקזאקי הוא שחקן כדורגל יפני.

6
81 39
Shinji Ono is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Japan
Midfielder Shinji Ono is a Japanese footballer who plays as a midfielder for J2 League club Consadole Sapporo. Known as Tensai, Ono is one of the biggest stars in Asian football, known for his vision, ...more

7
102 55
Makoto Hasebe is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Japan
Makoto Hasebe Defender, Midfielder Makoto Hasebe is a Japanese footballer. He is a defensive midfielder who plays for Bundesliga club Eintracht Frankfurt and is the captain of the Japan national football team.

8
74 40
Yuto Nagatomo is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Japan
Defender Yuto Nagatomo is a Japanese footballer who plays as a defender for Serie A club Internazionale.

9
77 47
Yasuhito Endō is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Japan
Midfielder Yasuhito Endō is a Japanese footballer, who currently plays for the J. League team Gamba Osaka. His older brother Akihiro, who retired in 2008, is also a former professional footballer, and was ...more

10
70 49
Atsuto Uchida is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Japan
Defender Atsuto Uchida is a Japanese professional footballer, who plays for FC Schalke 04 and the Japan national football team as a right back.

11
49 35
Daisuke Matsui is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Japan
Midfielder Daisuke Matsui is a Japanese footballer currently playing for Júbilo Iwata. He has previously played for Kyoto Purple Sanga, Le Mans FC, AS Saint-Etienne, FC Tom Tomsk, Dijon, Slavia ...more

12
40 27
Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Japan
Goalkeeper Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi, sometimes referred to as Yoshi Kawaguchi, is a Japanese footballer who plays as a goalkeeper. He is a former captain of the Japan national team. Current, he plays in FC ...more

13
48 36
Junichi Inamoto is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Japan
Midfielder Junichi Inamoto is a Japanese footballer who plays as a midfielder for Consadole Sapporo.

14
29 19
Kunishige Kamamoto is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Japan
Forward Kunishige Kamamoto is a former association football player from Japan, who won the bronze medal with the Japan national team at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, Mexico, finishing as the ...more

15
30 22
Yuji Nakazawa is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Japan
Defender Yuji Nakazawa is a Japanese football player who currently plays for J. League side Yokohama F. Marinos. He is a centre back. He is captain of Yokohama F. Marinos and was the previous captain of ...more

16
30 23
Kengo Nakamura is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Japan
Kengo Nakamura Midfielder Kengo Nakamura is a Japanese football midfielder who currently plays for Kawasaki Frontale of the J. League.

17
21 14
Naohiro Ishikawa is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Japan
Midfielder Naohiro Ishikawa is a Japanese footballer who plays for F.C. Tokyo. He was part of the Japanese 2004 Olympic football team, who exited in the first round, having finished fourth in group B, ...more

18
36 30
Hajime Hosogai is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Japan
Defender, Midfielder Hajime Hosogai is a Japanese footballer. He is a flexible player, able to play in his natural role as defender, defensive midfielder, and plays for Bundesliga side Hertha BSC.

19
34 28
Takashi Usami is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Japan
Takashi Usami Forward, Midfielder Takashi Usami is a Japanese footballer who plays for Gamba Osaka. He plays as an attacking midfielder, second striker or winger.

20
31 25
Yuki Abe is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Japan
Defender, Midfielder Yuki Abe is a Japanese footballer who plays for the Japanese national team and Urawa Red Diamonds as a midfielder.

21
21 15
Ryoichi Maeda is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Japan
Ryoichi Maeda Forward Ryoichi Maeda is a Japanese footballer who plays as a striker for FC Tokyo of the J. League Division 1.

22
14 8
Kōji Morisaki is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Japan
Kōji Morisaki Midfielder Kōji Morisaki is a Japanese football player who currently plays for Sanfrecce Hiroshima of the J-League. He is a twin brother of Kazuyuki Morisaki. He was part of the Japanese 2004 Olympic ...more

23
26 21
Yoshito Ōkubo is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Japan
Forward Yoshito Ōkubo is a Japanese football player, he is a forward and currently plays for Kawasaki Frontale.

24
22 18
Seiichiro Maki is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Japan
Seiichiro Maki Forward Seiichiro Maki is a Japanese professional football player. He is a forward and currently plays for Roasso Kumamoto, and has been a member of the Japanese national football team since 2005.

25
19 15
Naoki Matsuda is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Japan
Defender Naoki Matsuda was a Japanese footballer who played as a central defender.

26
16 12
Atsushi Yanagisawa is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Japan
Forward Atsushi Yanagisawa is a retired Japanese football player who played as a striker. He is best known for playing the majority of his career at Kashima Antlers as well as spells with Italian side ...more

27
14 10
Toshihiro Hattori is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Japan
Defender, Midfielder Toshihiro Hattori is a former Japanese footballer. Born in Shizuoka, he was capped 44 times and scored two goals for the Japan national team between 1996 and 2003. He was an unused substitute ...more

28
12 8
Takashi Hirano is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Japan
Takashi Hirano Defender, Midfielder Takashi Hirano is a former Japanese international footballer.

29
11 7
Kazuhiro Murakami is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Japan
Kazuhiro Murakami Midfielder Kazuhiro Murakami is a Japanese football player currently playing for Vegalta Sendai.

30
11 7
Kazuo Honma is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Japan
Kazuo Honma Forward Kazuo Honma is a Japanese football striker.

31
21 18
Hideo Hashimoto is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Japan
Hideo Hashimoto Midfielder Hideo Hashimoto is a Japanese football player. His place of birth is Osaka. He is a defensive midfielder who plays for Cerezo Osaka. Hashimoto is an Osaka City University graduate.

32
19 16
Kisho Yano is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Japan
Kisho Yano Forward Kisho Yano is a Japanese footballer who plays as a striker for Nagoya Grampus.

33
19 16
Aria Jasuru Hasegawa is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Japan
Midfielder Aria Jasuru Hasegawa is a Japanese-Iranian midfielder who currently plays for Cerezo Osaka.

34
18 15
Akihiro Endō is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Japan
Akihiro Endō is a former Japanese footballer who played for Yokohama F. Marinos and Vissel Kobe of the J. League. In May 2008, he announced his retirement from professional football. His younger ...more

35
29 27
Michihiro Yasuda is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Japan
Defender, Midfielder Michihiro Yasuda is a Japanese footballer who currently plays for Japanese side Vissel Kobe. His younger brother Kodai is also a professional footballer playing for Tokyo Verdy.

36
16 13
Akira Narahashi is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Japan
Akira Narahashi Defender Akira Narahashi is a Japanese former football defender. He mainly played as a right full back. He was capped 38 times for the Japanese national team between 1994 and 2003, including three games ...more

37
16 13
Takuya Takagi is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Japan
Takuya Takagi Forward Takuya Takagi is a former Japanese football player and a current football coach. He is currently the manager at V-Varen Nagasaki in the J. League Division 2. He was a physical forward and the ...more

38
15 12
Koki Mizuno is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Japan
Koki Mizuno Midfielder Koki Mizuno is a Japanese footballer, who currently plays as a midfielder for JEF United Ichihara Chiba. He is the cousin of Keita Suzuki, also a footballer.

39
15 12
Sōta Hirayama is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Japan
Forward Sōta Hirayama, is a Japanese footballer who currently plays for FC Tokyo. He has represented Japan's U-20 team at the 2003 and 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship, and the U-23 team at the 2004 ...more

40
15 12
Ademir Santos is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Japan
Midfielder Ademir Santos is a retired Brazilian-Japanese footballer. He moved to Japan at age 16 to complete his high school studies and obtained his Japanese citizenship in 1995. He was called up to Japan ...more

41
14 11
Takuya Yamada is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Japan
Defender, Midfielder Takuya Yamada is a Japanese footballer currently playing for the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the North American Soccer League.

42
14 11
Naohiro Takahara is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Japan
Forward Naohiro Takahara is a Japanese footballer. He currently plays for SC Sagamihara as a striker. Takahara was born in Mishima, Shizuoka. He has previously played for Júbilo Iwata in Japan, ...more

43
13 10
Akinori Nishizawa is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Japan
Akinori Nishizawa Forward Akinori Nishizawa is a Japanese former footballer. He was capped 29 times and scored 10 goals for the Japanese national team between 1997 and 2002. He played one game at the 2002 FIFA World Cup. ...more

44
13 10
Yūichi Komano is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Japan
Defender, Midfielder Yūichi Komano is a Japanese football player. He plays for J. League division 1 side Júbilo Iwata. He is right-footed and mainly plays right full back for the club but he is often employed ...more

45
12 9
Norihiro Nishi is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Japan
Midfielder Norihiro Nishi is a Japanese football player who currently plays for Police United. He was capped 5 times for the Japanese national team.

46
12 9
Daiki Takamatsu is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Japan
Forward Daiki Takamatsu is a Japanese football player. He is a forward and plays for J. League Division 2 side Oita Trinita.

47
20 18
Dido Havenaar is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Japan
Goalkeeper Dido Havenaar is a Dutch former professional footballer. He is a former goalkeeper who played in the Japan Soccer League and the J. League Division 1. Before he moved to Japan he played in The ...more

48
20 18
Seigo Narazaki is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Japan
Goalkeeper Seigo Narazaki is a Japanese football player, who currently plays for J. League Division 1 side Nagoya Grampus. He is a goalkeeper and a former member of the Japanese national football team.

49
9 6
Daisuke Sakata is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Japan
Daisuke Sakata Forward Daisuke Sakata is a Japanese football player who currently playing for Avispa Fukuoka in the J. League. He is an agile forward and can use both feet.

50
16 14
Paris Nakajima-Farran is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Japan
Paris Yui Nakajima-Farran is a former Canadian footballer of Japanese and British descent.