Japan Soccer Archive

Home
History of Japanese Soccer
Japanese Soccer Personalities
Virtual Library

Japanese Soccer Personalities

Saburo KAWABUCHI

Japan Football Hall of Fame

5th group of inductees, 2008
10th JFA President (term: 2002-2008)
Born in Osaka Prefecture on 3 December 1936.
First learns football at Mikunigaoka High School, before going on to play at Waseda University and Furukawa Electric Football Club. Makes debut for the full Japanese national team in a friendly match against Hong Kong in 1958, while still at Waseda University. At the Tokyo Olympic Games in 1964, scores one goal and assists another as Japan come from behind to beat a strong Argentina team and qualify for the quarter-finals. Plays in a total of 26 "A" matches for the national team, scoring 8 goals.
Manages the Furukawa Electric Football Club after his playing retirement, before managing the Japanese national team from 1980 to 1981.
Appointed as general secretary of the JSL and named onto the board of the JFA in 1988, where he helps to lead Japanese football into a professional era. Appointed as inaugural chairman of the J League in 1991, and strives to "strengthen Japanese football" and to "promote local sports".
Becomes vice-president of the JFA in 1994. Contributes greatly to the Japanese bid and eventual co-hosting of the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
Appointed as JFA president in 2002, where he continues to be known by his "Captain" nickname, and instigates reforms targeting grass roots football. Introduces the "Captain's Mission" as part of these reforms, in which he promotes the spread and strengthening of football in Japan and the development of better sporting environments. Sets clear objectives for Japanese football in the "JFA 2005 Declaration" and appeals for its development at home and abroad. Works to promote the international image of Japanese football, working towards securing the hosting rights of the FIFA Club World Cup for Japan and as part of the professional league reforms in the AFC, but maintains his deep-rooted association with social contribution activities such as the 2JFA Kokoro no Project (Heartful Project)" and the "Environmental Project", and continues to serve as a true leader within sporting spheres.
Receives the Diamond of Asia award at the AFC Annual Awards in 2005, and the FIFA Order of Merit in 2006.
Elected into the Japan Football Hall of Fame as part of the fifth group of inductees in 2008.

*Information supplied by Japan Football Museum

Introduction

Now editting

Profile

  • 3 December 1936 - Born in Takaishi City, Osaka Prefecture, as the third son of father Shinichi and mother Toshiko.
  • April 1943 - Enters the public Takaishi Elementary School in Takaishi-cho, Osaka Prefecture.
  • April 1949 - Moves to the public Takaishi Junior High School in Takaishi-cho, Osaka Prefecture, where he joins the baseball team.
  • April 1952 - Enters Osaka Prefectural Mikunigaoka High School.
    July - Joins the school's football club.
  • 1955 - Appears at the 33rd All-Japan High School Soccer Tournament.
    March - Graduates from Osaka Prefectural Mikunigaoka High School.
  • 1956 - Helps an Osaka Prefectural Mikunigaoka High School old boys' team to the final of the Osaka qualifying tournament for the All-Japan Cities' Football Challenge Tournament.
  • April 1957 - Enters the School of Commerce at Waseda University, and plays for the university's football team (until 1961).
  • December 1958 - Makes debut for the full Japanese national team in a friendly match against Hong Kong. Japan loses the game 5-2 but Kawabuchi stars with two goals, becoming only the tenth player in Japanese history to achieve the feat of scoring on his full international debut. Later helps Waseda University win the Kanto University league title.
  • August 1959 - Appears at the 3rd Merdeka Tournament (held in Kuala Lumpur, continuing into September).
    December - Appears for the Japanese national team in qualification for the Rome Olympic Games. Japan loses to South Korea on aggregate after one win and one defeat (0-2, 1-0), and misses out on qualification for the Games proper.
  • November 1960 - Appears in Asian qualification for the 7th FIFA World Cup in Chile (Japan loses 2-1 to South Korea in their first meeting). Helps Waseda University win the Kanto University league title.
  • March 1961 - Graduates from Waseda University.
    April - Joins the Furukawa Electric Company (working at the company's electrical cable factory in Yokohama). Also joins the company's football team.
  • August 1962 - Appears at the 4th Asian Games (in Jakarta).
    December - Marries his wife, Yasuko.
  • August 1963 - Transfers to the welfare department of the company's head office personnel division.
  • 1964 - Appears at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Records one goal and one assist in Japan's 3-2 victory over Argentina.
  • 1967 - Awarded the Silver Ball for the most assists in the JSL that season.
  • 1970 - Retires from playing (having made 70 appearances for the Japanese national team, scoring 18 goals - of which 26 appearances and eight goals were in "A" matches). Appointed as coach of the Furukawa Electric Football Club.
  • 1972 - Appointed as coach of the Furukawa Electric Football Club (serving until 1975, when he leaves with a record of 5 wins, 4 draws, and 11 defeats).
  • 1976 - Becomes a member of the Japan Soccer League's standing operational committee (remaining until 1979).
    October - Appointed as head of the second sales team in the first sales department of Furukawa Electric's copper and brass business division.
  • June 1980 - Appointed as head of the strengthening team for the Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
    August - Sent to serve as executive managing director of one of Furukawa Electric's affiliated companies, "Tanisho Co., Ltd.".
    November - Appointed as caretaker manager of the Japanese national team (serving until March 1981).
  • June 1982 - Becomes metals marking director at the Nagoya branch office of Furukawa Electric.
  • April 1984 - Leaves his role as head of the Japan Football Association's strengthening team.
  • June 1988 - Sent to work as copper and brass division director and member of the board of Furukawa Sangyo.
    August - Appointed as general secretary of the Japan Soccer League First Division.
    October - Named onto the board of the Japan Football Association.
  • 2 June 1989 - Appointed as head of the JFA's professional league discussion committee.
  • August 1990 - Appointed as head of the JFA's professional league discussion committee.
  • March 1991 - Appointed as head of the strengthening committee (serving until October 1994). Also serves as head of the JFA's preparatory office for the establishment of the professional football league.
    November - Leaves Furukawa Electric. Founds the Japan Professional Football League (J. League), and is appointed as the league's inaugural chairman.
  • 15 May 1993 - The J. League kicks off.
  • May 1994 - Appointed as vice-president of the Japan Football Association.
    June - Appointed as deputy director of the planning committee for Japan's bid to host the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
  • 31 May 1996 - FIFA announces that the 2002 World Cup will be hosted jointly by Japan and South Korea.
    July - Appointed as deputy director of the planning and preparatory committee for the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
  • December 1997 - Named on the board of the Japanese World Cup Organizing Committee for the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
  • June 2000 - Appointed as deputy chairman of the Japanese World Cup Organizing Committee for the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
  • July 2002 - Resigns as J. League chairman, and is appointed as the 10th president of the Japan Football Association (where he is known by his nickname of "Captain").
  • July 2008 - Retires as president of the Japan Football Association (after three terms and six years), and is appointed as honorary president.
    15 August - Elected into the Japan Football Hall of Fame as part of the fifth group of inductees.

* Major awards
FIFA Order of Merit (2006)
AFC Annual Awards - 1st Diamond of Asia Award (2005)
PR Person of the Year Award (2003)
Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Sports Certificate of Merit (1994)
Asahi Sports Award (1994)
6th Japan Fair Play Award (1994)
19th Economic Awards - Special Award (1994)
36th Economist Award (1994)
4th Toyo Keizai Award (1993)