Japanese National Men's Hockey Team at an Invitational 4 Nations Championship

12-17 July 2010

Highfields, Nottingham


Hockey has been played in Japan for over 100 years. It was introduced to students at Keio University in Tokyo in 1906 by Professor William T Gray, an Irish Priest, when he joined the University's staff.

The Japan Hockey Association was set up in 1923 and 30,000 people are playing the sport in Japan today.

In July, the Japanese Men's Hockey Team came to Nottingham to compete in the Men's 4 Nations Invitational Tournament alongside Great Britain, Germany and New Zealand.

Tomonori Ono scoring for Japan

Japan, ranked 16th in the world, lost to Great Britain 6-4 in a 10 goal thriller in their opening match. In their second match against New Zealand, ranked 7th in the world, Japan overcame the odds to take the match 4-3. However, a 4-2 loss against Germany meant that they found themselves in the third place play off against New Zealand on the final day of the tournament. Despite Japan leading 2-0 at the interval, New Zealand dominated the second half to win the match 4-2. The overall standings were as follows:

  1. Germany (2)
  2. Great Britain (6)
  3. New Zealand (7)
  4. Japan (16)

Below is an interview with Japan's assistant coach, Akira Takahashi

What are your thoughts on the team's performance this tournament?
We were the lowest ranked team in this tournament (Germany 2nd, Great Britain 6th, New Zealand 7th). In the end we finished 4th but I think all the players approached the games with a fighting spirit and played well.

Is this the first time Japan have played in a tournament in the UK?
This was an invitational tournament, we've played here in similar tournaments before.

What are your impressions of this UK tournament?
The ground was excellent and thanks to the support of so many volunteers, we felt very welcome. The standard of the games was particularly high.


Are the members of the Japanese National Team Professional or Amateur?
They're all amateur. In this team, there are 7 university students and 13 players working in various fields including advertising, banking and sales.


When is your next major tournament?

In November we will compete in the Asian Championships in Guangzhou, China. Our goal is to win this tournament and qualify for the 2012 London Olympic Games. Other teams taking part include India, Pakistan, Malaysia, South Korea and China.