Famous Japanese Sportspersons

Find out more about the greatest Japanese Sportspersons, including Yoshihiro Akiyama, Miyamoto Musashi, Ichiro Suzuki, Shinji Okazaki and Shinji Kagawa

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Yuzuru Hanyu

Yuzuru Hanyu.
282
Famous As: Figure Skater
Birthdate: December 7, 1994
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Sendai

Yuzuru Hanyu is a Japanese figure skater. Considered one of the greatest male figure skaters of all time, Hanyu became only the second figure skaters ever to receive two successive Olympic gold medals; he achieved this feat in 2014 and 2018. He also won the 2020 Four Continents Championships, becoming the only male singles skater to accomplish a Super Slam.

 2 Naomi Osaka

Naomi Osaka.
43
Famous As: Tennis Player
Birthdate: October 16, 1997
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Chūō-ku, Osaka, Japan

Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka made history by being the first player of Asian origin to hold the world number one rank in singles. Osaka made headlines when in 2021, she withdrew from the French Open after refusing to be part of a press conference to protect her mental health.

 3 Ichiro Suzuki

Ichiro Suzuki.
7
Famous As: Baseball Outfielder
Birthdate: October 22, 1973
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Toyoyama, Aichi Prefecture

Ichiro Suzuki is a Japanese former baseball player who played as an outfielder in top-level professional leagues, including Major League Baseball (MLB). Also a popular player at the Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan, Suzuki became the first MLB player to be inducted into the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame

 4 Asuka

Asuka.
18
Famous As: Professional Wrestler
Birthdate: September 26, 1981
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Osaka, Osaka, Japan
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 5 Miyamoto Musashi

Miyamoto Musashi.
14
Famous As: Swordsman & Warrior
Birthdate: 1584 AD
Birthplace: Japan
Died: June 13, 1645

Miyamoto Musashi was a Japanese swordsman, writer, strategist, and philosopher. Widely regarded as a Kensei, Musashi became famous through his stories of bravery, which involves his undefeated streak of 61 duels. He is also credited with founding the Niten Ichi-ryū school of swordsmanship. His life has inspired several films, TV series, stage plays, and video games.

 6 Robert Griffin III

Robert Griffin III.
14
Famous As: American Football Player
Birthdate: February 12, 1990
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Okinawa

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Robert Lee Griffin III, also known as RG3 or RGIII, has also played for the Washington Redskins and the Cleveland Browns. Named the 2012 NFL Rookie of the Year, he was also part of the 2013 Pro Bowl. Much of his career has been plagued with injuries.

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 7 Shinsuke Nakamura

Shinsuke Nakamura.
8
Famous As: Japanese Pro Wrestler & MMA
Birthdate: February 24, 1980
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Mineyama, Kyoto, Japan

Shinsuke Nakamura is a Japanese wrestler best known for appearing in World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) where he has won several championships, such as the Intercontinental Championship, United States Championship, and SmackDown Tag Team Championship. In 2016, Pro Wrestling Illustrated magazine named him the Most Popular Wrestler of the Year. He is also known for his association with New Japan Pro-Wrestling

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 8 Shohei Ohtani

Shohei Ohtani.
7
Famous As: Baseball Player
Birthdate: July 5, 1994
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Oshu, Iwate Prefecture, Japan

Affectionately called Sho Time and the Japanese Babe Ruth, Japanese baseball star Shohei Ohtani is known for his successful stint with the MLB team Los Angeles Angels. Earlier, while with the Hokkaido-Nippon Ham Fighters, he set the record for the fastest-ever pitch thrown by a Japanese player.

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 9 Mark Dacascos

Mark Dacascos
5
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: February 26, 1964
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Honolulu, Hawaii, USA

Mark Dacascos is an actor, trained martial artist, and TV personality. He is proficient in the Wun Hop Kuen Do style of martial arts and has won several karate and kung fu championships. As an actor, he is best known for his role in the action-horror film Brotherhood of the Wolf. He is married to actress Julie Condra.  

 10 Shinji Kagawa

Shinji Kagawa.
6
Famous As: Footballer
Birthdate: March 17, 1989
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Tarumi-ku, Kobe, Hyōgo

Shinji Kagawa is a Japanese footballer who plays as a midfielder. He has the distinction of having played for top-notch European football clubs, such as Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund. Known for agility on the field, Shinji Kagawa is currently part of the Greek club, PAOK Thessaloniki, after his contract with Spanish team, Zaragoza, was terminated. 

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 11 Yu Darvish

Yu Darvish
6
Famous As: Baseball player
Birthdate: August 16, 1986
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Ōsaka

 12 Kei Nishikori

Kei Nishikori
5
Famous As: Tennis player
Birthdate: December 29, 1989
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Matsue, Shimane, Japan
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 13 Keisuke Honda

Keisuke Honda.
5
Famous As: Footballer
Birthdate: June 13, 1986
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Settsu, Osaka Prefecture

Keisuke Honda is a Japanese football player and manager. A versatile player, Honda can play as an attacking midfielder and as a winger. Renowned for his accuracy, dribbling skills, and powerful striking ability, Keisuke Honda helped the Japan national football team win the 2011 Asian Cup, where he was adjudged Player of the Tournament.       

 14 Yuji Nishida

Yuji Nishida
4
Famous As: Volleyball player
Birthdate: January 30, 2000
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Inabe, Mie, Japan
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 15 Tenshin Nasukawa

Tenshin Nasukawa.
7
Famous As: Kickboxer
Birthdate: August 18, 1998
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Matsudo
Former Rizin bantamweight title-holder Tenshin Nasukawa had begun training in karate at age 5. The Japanese MMA fighter and kickboxer is known for his peculiar style that mingles kickboxing and full-contact karate. He ended up crying after being steamrolled by U.S. boxing champion Floyd Mayweather in a match in Tokyo.

 16 Mao Asada

Mao Asada
131
Famous As: Figure skater
Birthdate: September 25, 1990
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Meito Ward, Nagoya, Aichi, Japan

 17 Kento Momota

Kento Momota
5
Famous As: Badminton player
Birthdate: September 1, 1994
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Mino, Kagawa, Japan

 18 Sky Brown

Sky Brown.
8
Famous As: Skateboarder
Birthdate: July 12, 2008
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Miyazaki
Born to a Japanese mother and a British father, Sky Brown is a self-taught skateboarder who learned the art from YouTube videos. At age 10, she became the world’s youngest professional skateboarder. The Dancing with the Stars: Juniors winner had a near-death experience after a skateboarding accident in 2020.
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 19 Antonio Inoki

Antonio Inoki
6
Famous As: Politician, Professional wrestler, Writer, Actor
Birthdate: February 20, 1943
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Yokohama

Once a reputed Japanese martial artist and wrestler, Antonio Inoki grew up in Brazil, where he won several contests of shot put, discus, and javelin. At 17, he went to the Japanese Wrestling Association and was mentored by Rikidōzan. He later established the New Japan Pro Wrestling.

 20 Kairi Sane

Kairi Sane
22
Famous As: Professional Wrestler
Birthdate: September 23, 1988
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Hikari, Yamaguchi, Japan

 21 Shinji Okazaki

Shinji Okazaki
7
Famous As: Association football player
Birthdate: April 16, 1986
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Takarazuka

 22 Kazuchika Okada

Kazuchika Okada
6
Famous As: Wrestler
Birthdate: November 8, 1987
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Anjo, Aichi, Japan

 23 Kazuyoshi Miura

Kazuyoshi Miura.
6
Famous As: Footballer
Birthdate: February 26, 1967
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Shizuoka

Kazuyoshi Miura is a professional Japanese footballer for who age is truly just a number. He is above 50 and continues to be an active player , He holds the global record as the oldest player to score a goal in a professional soccer league. Associated with Yokohama FC, he played for Japan’s national team for a decade, scoring 55 goals from 89 matches.

 24 Kota Ibushi

Kota Ibushi.
4
Famous As: Wrestler
Birthdate: May 21, 1982
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Kagoshima, Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan

Japanese martial artist and wrestler Kota Ibushi stunned his fans when he rejected an offer from All Elite Wrestling, choosing to remain with New Japan Pro-Wrestling instead, as he did not wish to move to the U.S. for good. The IWGP World Heavyweight Champion had initially ditched karate for wrestling.

 25 Kazushi Sakuraba

Kazushi Sakuraba
5
Famous As: Mixed Martial Artist
Birthdate: July 14, 1969
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Shōwa, Akita, Japan

 26 Nozomi Okuhara

Nozomi Okuhara
3
Famous As: Badminton player
Birthdate: March 13, 1995
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Ōmachi, Nagano, Japan

 27 Io Shirai

Io Shirai
19
Famous As: Professional Wrestler
Birthdate: May 8, 1990
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kamakura, Kanagawa, Japan

 28 Morihei Ueshiba

Morihei Ueshiba.
3
Famous As: Martial Artist
Birthdate: December 14, 1883
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Tanabe
Died: April 26, 1969

Morihei Ueshiba was a Japanese martial artist. Referred to as the Great Teacher, Ueshiba is credited with founding aikido, a martial art which is now practiced around the world. During the course of his career, Ueshiba set up many dojos, including the Aikikai Hombu Dojo, and taught several students, many of whom are celebrated martial artists in their own right.

 29 Yoshihiro Akiyama

Yoshihiro Akiyama
5
Famous As: Mixed martial artist
Birthdate: July 29, 1975
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Ikuno Ward, Osaka, Japan

 30 Tetsuya Naito

Tetsuya Naito
3
Famous As: Wrestler
Birthdate: June 22, 1982
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Adachi City, Tokyo, Japan

 31 Yoshihiro Tajiri

Yoshihiro Tajiri.
3
Famous As: Professional Wrestler
Birthdate: September 29, 1970
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Tamana, Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan

Japanese wrestler Yoshihiro Tajiri has been known by many pseudonyms, such as Aquarius and Tigre Blanco. Trained in lucha libre and Japanese wrestling, Tajiri has also amused audiences with his backstage comedy during his association with organizations such as WWE and ECW. He later popularized his signature goatee.

 32 Jigoro Kano

Jigoro Kano
3
Famous As: Educator, Athlete
Birthdate: December 10, 1860
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Mikage, Kobe, Hyōgo
Died: May 4, 1938

 33 Hiroshi Tanahashi

Hiroshi Tanahashi.
4
Famous As: Wrestler
Birthdate: November 13, 1976
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Ogaki, Gifu Prefecture, Japan

Hiroshi Tanahashi is a Japanese professional wrestler, widely regarded as one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time. He is the current NEVER Openweight Champion at  New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW). He is one of the most decorated wrestlers in New Japan's history with eight reigns as IWGP Heavyweight Champion and three reigns as IWGP Tag Team Champion. 

 34 Mas Oyama

Mas Oyama
3
Famous As: Karateka
Birthdate: June 4, 1922
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Gimje, Zenra-hoku Prefecture, Korea
Died: April 26, 1994

 35 Mari Osaka

Mari Osaka.
4
Famous As: Tennis Player
Birthdate: April 3, 1996
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Osaka, Osaka Prefecture

Mari Osaka is a Japanese tennis player. In 2014, she made her WTA Tour debut at the Bank of the West Classic, partnering with Marina Shamayko in the doubles event. A few years later, she made her WTA Tour singles debut at the 2019 Miami Open. Her sister, Naomi Osaka, is also a tennis player.

 36 Takuma Asano

Takuma Asano
4
Famous As: Footballer
Birthdate: November 10, 1994
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Komono, Mie Prefecture

 37 Hideki Matsui

Hideki Matsui
3
Famous As: Baseball player
Birthdate: June 12, 1974
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Neagarimachi, Ishikawa, Japan

 38 Yuto Nagatomo

Yuto Nagatomo
4
Famous As: Association football player
Birthdate: September 12, 1986
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Saijo

 39 Sadako Sasaki

Sadako Sasaki
4
Birthdate: January 7, 1943
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Hiroshima
Died: October 25, 1955

 40 Shinya Aoki

Shinya Aoki
3
Famous As: Mixed martial artist
Birthdate: May 9, 1983
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Adriano Martins

 41 Gichin Funakoshi

Gichin Funakoshi
3
Famous As: Karateka
Birthdate: November 10, 1868
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Shuri, Naha, Okinawa, Japan
Died: April 26, 1957

 42 Takumi Minamino

Takumi Minamino
6
Famous As: Association football player
Birthdate: January 16, 1995
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Izumisano

 43 Masahiro Tanaka

Masahiro Tanaka
5
Famous As: Baseball Player
Birthdate: November 1, 1988
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Itami, Hyōgo, Japan

 44 Minoru Suzuki

Minoru Suzuki
3
Famous As: Professional wrestler
Birthdate: June 17, 1968
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Nishi Ward, Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan

 45 Takuma Sato

Takuma Sato
4
Famous As: Racecar driver
Birthdate: January 28, 1977
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Shinjuku, Tokyo

 46 Maya Yoshida

Maya Yoshida
3
Famous As: Association football player
Birthdate: August 24, 1988
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Nagasaki

 47 Mitsuharu Misawa

Mitsuharu Misawa
3
Famous As: Wrestler
Birthdate: June 18, 1962
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Koshigaya, Japan
Died: June 13, 2009

 48 Yushin Okami

Yushin Okami
3
Famous As: Mixed martial artist
Birthdate: July 21, 1981
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Fujisawa

 49 Keiichi Tsuchiya

Keiichi Tsuchiya
3
Famous As: Racecar driver
Birthdate: January 30, 1956
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Tōmi

 50 Mirai Nagasu

Mirai Nagasu
16
Famous As: Figure skater
Birthdate: April 16, 1993
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Montebello, California