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Japanese Soccer Personalities


Japan Football Hall of Fame

2nd group of inductees, 2006
Born in Hyogo Prefecture on October 24, 1925.
Graduates from Waseda University.
Plays football at Kobe First Junior High School (now Hyogo Prefectural Kobe High School) and Waseda University, and achieves many accomplishments as the top student soccer player of his time. Works as a soccer journalist for Kyodo News and the Mainichi Newspapers after graduating, combining this work with much success as a coach.
Participates in the 1st Asian Games in 1951 (New Delhi), and contributes to Japan winning the bronze medal with two goals in the third-place playoff against Afghanistan. Continues to play for the Japan national team afterwards until the Asian qualifying tournament for the Games of the 16th Olympiad in 1956 (Melbourne). Takes part in drawing of lots as captain after Japan finishes level with South Korea with one win and one defeat in these qualifiers, and successfully gains place in main Olympic tournament. Makes 7 appearances in A internationals, scoring 3 goals.
Takes role of team coach for the Japanese national team's tour of Burma in 1955, and leads Japan to third place at the 2nd AFC Youth Championship in 1960 as manager. Provides back-up to the structure of Naganuma and Okano and pours efforts into strengthening the national team as director of the First Coaching Department at the Player Strengthening Division, ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games. Involved in development of soccer in the Kansai region after appointment as president of the Kansai Football Association Technical Committee in 1965.
Also shows passion for the popularization of boys' soccer, establishing the Kobe Boys' Soccer School and the Osaka Sportsmen's Club Soccer School, devoting energies to coaching, and travelling throughout the country to coach teams of boys. Also works to compile "40 Years of All-Japan High School Football" (Mainichi Newspapers, 1962), which remains a valuable resource in the history of high school soccer.
Passes away in 1970.
Elected into Japan Football Hall of Fame as part of second group of inductees in 2006.

*Information supplied by Japan Football Museum


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  • 24 October 1925 - Born in Mikage, Nada Ward, Kobe City.
  • 1932 - Enters the Mikage Normal School-Affiliated Elementary School, where he enjoys playing football from his early years.
  • 1938 - Enters Kobe First Junior High School. Joins the school's association football club (soccer club), where he enjoys victory in the Meiji Shrine Tournament in his fourth year, and in two national competitions - the Kashihara Shrine Tournament and the Meiji Shrine Tournament - as captain in his fifth year.
  • 1943 - Enters Waseda Senior High School, and joins the school's association football club.
  • 1945 - Called up for military service in July, before being released from the armed forces due to illness in August.
  • 1946 - Returns to Waseda, where he helps his football team win the Kanto University League in autumn, and beat Kobe University of Economics in the East-West University 1st Place Challenge Match to be crowned national university champions.
  • 1947 - Waseda University wins the Kanto University League, before beating Kwansei Gakuin University in the East-West University 1st Place Challenge Match to be crowned national university champions for the second year in a row.
  • 1948 - Graduates from Waseda University and joins the Sankyo Pharmaceutical Company, but leaves the company in autumn. Joins Kyodo News (in Osaka) in November to work as a journalist.
  • February 1951 - Plays at the 1st Asian Games (in New Delhi) for the Japanese national team, which finishes third.
    May - Helps Osaka Club, formed at the wish of Taizo Kawamoto, to a runner-up finish in the Emperor's Cup.
  • October 1952 - Leaves Kyodo News to work at the headquarters of Mainichi Newspapers in Osaka.
  • March 1954 - Plays for Japan in their second match against South Korea in qualification for the World Cup in Switzerland.
    May - Represents the Japanese national team at the 2nd Asian Games (in Manila).
  • June 1956 - Captains the Japanese national team in their qualifying matches for the Melbourne Olympic Games against South Korea. Japan wins on the drawing of lots after one win and one defeat. However, Iwatani does not appear at the actual Games in Melbourne.
  • 1960 - Manages the Japan team at the 2nd AFC Youth Championship.
  • 1962 - Compiles and publishes the "40 Years of All-Japan High School Football" (Mainichi Newspapers).
  • 1964 - Acts as team leader for the Japanese national team on their winter tour of Southeast Asia. The team is managed by Ken Naganuma, and coached by Shunichiro Okano, who go on to perform the same roles at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
  • 1965 - Appointed as head coach at the Kobe Boys' Soccer School, which opens in April, and at the Osaka Sportsmen's Club Boys' Soccer School, which opens in October.
  • June 1966 - Publishes "50 Years of Kicking Footballs", a history of the football clubs at Kobe First Junior High School and Kobe High School.
    November - "Soccer Lessons' published in the Mainichi Shimbun.
  • 1967 - Publishes "Teaching and Learning Soccer", a compilation of his popular "Soccer Lessons" published in the Mainichi Shimbun, in April.
  • February 1968 - Transfers to the headquarters of Mainichi Newspapers in Tokyo.
  • 1969 - Admitted to the National Cancer Center on 11 June after an abnormality is discovered in his lungs in April. Discharged on 31 July, but is readmitted again on 17 October. Undergoes an operation in December, before briefly returning home.
  • January 1970 - Hears of the victory at the All-Japan High School Soccer Tournament for the Urawa Minami High School team that he had coached, as well as the performances of his eldest son, Shogo, from his sick bed.
    8 January - Readmitted to hospital once again, before passing away at the age of 44 years and 7 months on 1 March.
  • 23 May 2006 - Elected into the Japan Football Hall of Fame as part of the second group of inductees.