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Dettmar CRAMER

Japan Football Hall of Fame

1st group of inductees, 2005
Born April 4, 1925 in Dortmund, Germany.
Comes to Japan in 1960 to take role of coach of Japan national team, in order to strengthen and lead the side ahead of the Games of the 18th Olympiad (1964, Tokyo). After his arrival, strengthens the sport in the country, trains other coaches, and lays the foundations for youth development, earning the title of father of Japanese soccer. Performs advisory role to Japan at the Games of the 19th Olympiad (1968, Mexico City), and contributes greatly to Japan's bronze medal achievement.
Takes role of schoolmaster at the 1st FIFA Coaching School, held in Chiba in 1969, before embarking on global coaching tour as FIFA-employed coach. Performs role of instructor at FIFA/Coca-Cola World Youth Academy held in Ibaraki in 1988, and makes ninth visit to Japan in 1989 at the invitation of the JFA. Works as special coach for two years. Positions taken in his home country include coach appointed by Deutscher Fußball-Bund (West Germany), and manager at major clubs such as Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen.
Awarded 3rd Class Order of the Sacred Treasure in 1971, and Japan Football Association 75th Anniversary Special Achievement Award in 1996.
Elected into Japan Football Hall of Fame as part of first group of inductees in 2005.

*Information supplied by Japan Football Museum


Laid foundations for major reforms in Japanese soccer in mid-20th century

I do not believe that there has been a single other person to have made as great an impact in the long history of Japanese soccer as Dettmar Cramer.

In order to strengthen its national team ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games four years later, the Japan Football Association had the idea in 1960 of inviting a professional coach from overseas. With the cooperation of the Deutscher Fussball-Bund (which, at the time, held jurisdiction over West Germany only), it was Cramer who was singled out for the role by the promoter of this idea, 4th JFA President Yuzuru Nozu. Through Cramer's coaching and the efforts of his players, the Japanese national team achieved a victory over Argentina at the Tokyo Olympics, allowing them both to save face as the host nation and to make a first step towards a period of development. Cramer's efforts were not limited to the national team, as he also presented policies for general development, and oversaw their execution through his pupils. The foundation of a first national league, the training of other coaches, and the strengthening of the national team would all contribute to Japan's achievement of the bronze medal at the Mexico City Olympics four years later. His talents were highly regarded by FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association), which contracted him as a coach from 1967 to 1974 and sent him on a tour of the globe, but during this time, Cramer would also run the 1st FIFA Coaching Course in Japan in 1969, and sowed the seeds for a coach training structure in Japan.

Cramer become manager of Bayern Munich in 1975, leading them to two successive victories in the European Champions' Cup (now UEFA Champions League) and proving his abilities as manager of a top professional team. After taking management roles at clubs in countries including Saudi Arabia and Greece, he made a further coaching tour of the world at the age of 75. Even at his current age of 82, he continues to give lectures and appear at training events for coaches.

The 47 years in which I have been able to observe his work have seen the development of Kunishige Kamamoto into a world-class striker under his coaching, and the cultivation of excellent leaders such as Ken Naganuma (7th JFA President), Shunichiro Okano (8th JFA President), and current JFA Captain Saburo Kawabuchi. Considering everything that I have seen, there is simply nobody else whose greatness, ability to give the right advice to players and teams just when it was needs, and unerring confidence in making strategic moves for the future fills me with such awe. (May 8, 2007)


  • Date of birth: April 4, 1925
  • Birthplace: Dortmund, Germany
  • Major soccer-related achievements
    3rd Class Order of the Sacred Treasure (1971)
    Japan Football Association 75th Anniversary Special Achievement Award (1996)
    Japan Football Hall of Fame (2005)
  • Soccer competitions history
    Germania Wiesbaden, Viktoria Dortmund, Teutonia Lippstadt, VfL Geseke, FC Paderborn
  • Major international team history
  • Major records
    Japan national team coach - Bronze medal at 1968 Mexico City Olympics Bayern Munich manager - Two successive victories in European Champions' Cup (now UEFA Champions League) (1975, 1976)
  • Soccer coach, referee, etc
    DFB (Deutscher Fußball-Bund) specially-appointed coach for western region (1949-63) DFB coach (1964-67)
    Japan national team coach (1960-64)
    FIFA-endorsed coach (1967-74)
    * During this time, holds three FIFA coaching courses in Asia
    Bayern Munich manager (1975-77)
    Later, takes management roles including Eintracht Frankfurt (West Germany), Al-Ittihad (Saudi Arabia), Saudi Arabia national team, Aris Salonica (Greece), and Bayer Leverkusen (West Germany).
    Coached Korean Olympic team and Chinese football school.