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Japanese Soccer Personalities

Yuzuru NOZU

Japan Football Hall of Fame

1st group of inductees, 2005
4th JFA President (term: 1955-1976)
Born in Hiroshima Prefecture on March 12, 1899
Graduated from Tokyo Imperial University as Doctor of Medicine. Opens Nozu Clinic in 1947.
Achieved major accomplishments in the field of public hygiene.
Plays soccer at Hiroshima First Junior High School (now Hiroshima Prefectural Hiroshima Kokutaiji High School), First High School, and Tokyo Imperial University.
Appears at 5th Far Eastern Championship Games (Shanghai) in 1921 while a student at Tokyo Imperial University.
Appointed as president of the Japan Football Association in 1955 after time spent on the board and as chairman of the board. Oversees recognition of JFA as an incorporated foundation in 1974.
Devotes particular attention to technical improvement of Japanese soccer, and invites Dettmar Cramer to Japan in 1960. Lays foundations for strengthening of Japanese national team, training of players, and development of coaches.
Appointed to post of AFC vice-president and to the FIFA board of directors (becoming the second ever FIFA board member from Japan), and contributes to global soccer development. Also contributes to the foundation of the Asian Youth Championships.
Member of the organising committee for the 1974 FIFA World Cup (West Germany).
Also contributes to sport at large as Sports Minister in the Ministry of Health and Welfare, board member and executive director of the Japan Sports Association, member of the Japanese Olympic Committee, and board member of the National Olympic Stadium. Becomes key member at the Japan Sports Association in the establishment of boys' sports clubs, and takes post of director of the boys' sports clubs division.
Awarded Blue Medal of Honour in 1964, and 3rd Class Order of the Sacred Treasure in 1969.
Passes away in 1983.

*Information supplied by Japan Football Museum


The second and third presidents of the JFA, Ryutaro Fukao and Ryutaro Takahashi, were both born in the 1870s. Neither had played soccer themselves, and both had come to be association president partly as a result of having sons that were active in the old high school soccer system. However, it was the former University of Tokyo student, Yuzuru Nozu, who had founded the soccer tournament for the old high schools - the All-Japan High School (Inter-High) Football Tournament - in 1923. Born at the end of the 19th century, in 1899, Nozu had been kicking footballs since his time at Hiroshima First Junior High School(now Hiroshima Kokutaiji High School), and became the first JFA president to have truly come from the world of soccer.

The creation of the Inter-High tournament was testament to Nozu's rich ideas and executive ability, something which dates back even to his days at the First High School, when he erected goalposts on the ground to introduce soccer to a school where the baseball club was most prosperous at the time.

Nozu graduated from the First High School and played soccer at the University of Tokyo, appearing at the 5th Far Eastern Championship Games in 1921 where the Japanese side lost both of their two games. He would use this disappointment as motivation to focus his efforts on bringing prosperity to soccer in Japan.

Qualifying as a doctor, Nozu studied public hygiene in the United States, and while continuing to remain active as the foremost authority in this field in Japan, he maintained deep links with the JFA and went on to become the association's fourth president.

It is well known that Nozu decided to appoint Japan's first professional overseas coach as a means of reviving soccer in the country, and that Dettmar Cramer became the man to be invited after Nozu had observed him in person. However, the loyal character of "Doctor Nozu" had also won him the trust of FIFA (Fedearation Internationale de Football Association) president Sir Stanley Rous and AFC (Asian Football Confederation) president Tunku Abdul Rahman, and it was his foresight that ultimately led to the foundation of FIFA coaching schools, Asian Youth Championships, and other official AFC and FIFA events that would later be a great support to the level of soccer in Japan.

The broad perspective that Nozu developed through public hygiene brought his attention to grassroots sports in the form of boys' sports clubs, and he took the role of director of the boys' sports clubs division of the Japan Sports Association. When he was first appointed as JFA president, the Japanese national team was not performing well, and although soccer was beginning to gain a presence domestically, it had still not received a great deal of popularity. During his reign, the national team went on to perform at the Tokyo Olympics and then achieve the bronze medal at the Mexico City Olympics, before subsequently falling into a period of stagnation once again. These 21 years were a truly turbulent time for the sport, but Nozu laid the foundations for soccer in Japan to develop enormously.


  • 12 March 1899 - Born.
  • 1911 - Enters Hiroshima Junior High School (renamed Hiroshima First Junior High School in 1922; now Kokutaiji High School). Joins football club from his third year.
  • 1916 - Moves on to the First High School. Joins rowing club due to absence of a football club at the school. Maintains desire to play football, however, and builds goalposts with like-minded friends to enable them to play.
  • 1919 - Enters Tokyo Imperial University (University of Tokyo), and helps develop its original football club.
  • May 1921 - Appears at the the 5th Far Eastern Championship Games in Shanghai. Plays as half-back for the Japanese representatives (an all-Kanto Select XI) in their 3-1 loss to the Philippines and their 4-0 loss to the Republic of China, allowing him to experience the sheer gulf in class that existed at the time.
  • January 1923 - 1st All-Japan High School (Inter-High) Football Tournament hosted by the University of Tokyo. This old high school tournament, founded at the behest of Nozu, is recognized as a unique event within the sporting calendar until its demise with the restructuring of the educational system after the war, and contributes to the level of football at the state (national) universities. On the suggestion of the University of Tokyo, a university league is also formed the same year (the Kanto University league; with the initial season kicking off in 1924).
    March - Graduates from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Tokyo.
    April - Joins the antitoxins department at the Faculty (Graduate School) of Medicine.
  • 1927 - Joins the paediatrics department at the Faculty (Graduate School) of Medicine, University of Tokyo.
    May - Becomes JFA board member.
  • 1928 - Publishes "Association Football" (Arusu), a joint work written with Shigeyoshi Suzuki.
    Visits FIFA offices in Amsterdam and applies for Japanese membership.
  • May 1929 - Becomes member of the board at the Japan Sports Association (until June 1931). Japanese membership is approved at the FIFA conference.
  • June 1931 - Appointed as executive director of the Japan Sports Association.
    September - Travels to the United States for study (until January 1934).
  • April 1935 - Becomes head of school hygiene at the Tokyo Central Public Health Department (until December 1937).
  • January 1938 - Named as Minister for Physical Education at the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfate (serves until 1941).
  • January 1941 - Named as deputy chief of the citizens' lifestyle guidance department of the Taisei Yokusankai (Imperial Rule Assistance Association), serving until May; and then as head of its industrial reporting hygiene department (until December 1945).
  • October 1947 - Opens the Nozu Clinic, becoming its director (until March 1982).
  • April 1955 - Named as 4th president of the JFA.
  • May 1958 - Named as vice president of the Asian Football Confederation (serving until 1970).
  • April 1963 - Becomes deputy chief of the Japan Junior Sports Clubs Association (becomes full chief in 1966, serves until 1973).
  • 1976 - Named as honorary president of the JFA.
  • 27 August 1983 - Passes away.
    Awarded the Blue Ribbon Medal of Honour in 1964 and the 3rd Class Order of the Sacred Treasure in 1969; named as Knight Commander of the British Empire in 1970.
  • 27 May 2005 - Elected into the Japan Hall of Fame as part of the first group of inductees.