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Shiro OTANI

Japan Football Hall of Fame

6th group of inductees, 2009
Born in Hyogo Prefecture on 23 April 1918.
Wins two consecutive All-Japan titles with Hyogo Prefectural First Kobe Junior High School and plays at the First High School before entering Tokyo Imperial University in 1939. Performs prolifically as a forward and helps the university win two Kanto University League titles and one East-West Students' 1st Place Challenge Match.
Continues playing football after the war for teams including Osaka Soccer Club and Tokyo LB, while also serving as a coach registered with the Kansai Football Association. Trains the young Kansai players ahead of a tightly-fought, even contest with a veteran Kanto team in the East-West Challenge Match in 1947 (attended by the Emperor). Helps to train the next generation of young footballers as a coach at the FISU International Sports Week (now the Universiade) in Dortmund in 1953.
Becomes a sports reporter with the Asahi Shimbun in 1948, working to promote the spread of football through the pages of the newspaper, and also devoting energies into the hosting and operation of events supported by the Asahi Shimbun, including the All-Japan Company Team Tournament, Asahi invitational football (domestic matches), and Asahi international football (international friendly matches for the Japanese national team). Turns freelance in 1973 and continues his writing career chiefly as a football specialist (working both under his real name and under his pen name of Ryo Akiba). Predicts the future of Japanese football in a wide range of areas, from organisation and operation to technical aspects and coaching, and tells of significant progress to come.
His foresight is applied to the actual playing fields, with the Kobe Football Club formed in 1970 employing an age category-based registration system for the first time, paving the way towards later changes in Japanese football.
Passes away in 1990.
Elected to Japan Football Hall of Fame as part of sixth group of inductees in 2009.

*Information supplied by Japan Football Museum

Introduction

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Profile

  • 23 April 1918 - Born in Mikage, Hyogo Prefecture.
  • April 1925 - Enters the Mikage Normal School-Affiliated Elementary School, where he enjoys playing football from an early age.
  • September 1931 - Enters the First Kobe Junior High School. Joins the school's football club, becoming a regular for the team in his third year. The school wins a national invitational tournament in 1934, and the All-Japan Junior High School Football Tournament (now the All-Japan High School Soccer Tournament) in 1935.
  • 1936 - Graduates from First Kobe Junior High School. Enters the First High School (studying German as his first foreign language).
  • 1939 - Enters the Faculty of Economics at Tokyo Imperial University (now the University of Tokyo). Helps the university football team win the Kanto University League in both 1941 and 1942.
  • September 1942 - Graduates from Tokyo Imperial University, and enters the Naval Accounting School on 30 September.
  • January 1943 - Graduates from the Naval Accounting School, before being appointed as lieutenant of naval accounting, and serving on the Japanese battleship "Yamashiro".
    July - Appointed chief accountant of the 2nd Convoy, and sent to Rabaul, Papua New Guinea.
  • May 1946 - Demobilized at Rabaul, and returns to Japan. Starts working for the Osaka Shosen merchant shipping company.
  • April 1948 - Joins the Asahi Shimbun, becoming a sports reporter.
  • 1953 - Takes part in the International University Sports Week (now the Universiade) as coach of the Japanese national team.
  • 1954 - Launches the "KICK OFF" publication, a football fanzine that serves ostensibly as a public relations publication for the Osaka Soccer Club.
  • 1970 - Covers the World Cup in Mexico.
    Works with Doctor Masanobu Kato to set up the Kobe Football Club that same year. The club employs an age category-based registration system for the first time anywhere in Japan.
  • March 1973 - Retires from the Asahi Shimbun. Continues writing as a sports journalist, while also pouring his energies into the operation and development of Kobe FC.
  • 9 November 1990 - Passes away.
  • 2009 - Elected into Japan Football Hall of Fame as part of sixth group of inductees.