Captain Yuki Ishikawa will try to lead Japan to another successful season

Japan experienced a feeling they had been waiting for a long time last year, when they claimed the bronze medal at the Volleyball Nations League 2023 and they will be back for the 2024 edition of the tournament looking for more.

Already qualified for the Paris Olympics, the Ryujin Nippon will have the ability to fully focus on taking another step forward in the VNL 2024 and confirming their return to the elite of the sport with another strong result.

  • Sign up to watch the VNL 2024 on VBTV until May 9 with the code 'Early25' to get 25% off or until May 13 with the code 'Early10' to get 10% off.

This is what you can expect from Team Japan in the VNL 2024:

The background

Last year’s third-place finish was easily Japan’s best result in the VNL and also their most relevant performance at the international level since they took bronze at the 2009 FIVB Grand Champions Cup. Before that, their best result in the tournament was a fifth-place finish the year before, in 2022. The recent results show Japan’s growth in the international scene as they had previously ranked 12th in 2018, tenth in 2019 and 11th in 2021.

The squad

Japan currently have their most talented generation in quite some time and trust them to take the country back to the place it occupied in the 1970s. Captain Yuki Ishikawa is one of the biggest stars of international volleyball now and is the heart and soul of the team. He’s in good company at the outside hitter position with Ran Takahashi, who had a brilliant season in Italy with Mint Vero Volley Monza. High-jumping opposite Yuji Nishida is another important weapon in the offense orchestrated by the crafty Masahiro Sekita. Veterans Taishi Onodera and Akihiro Takahashi bring experience in the middle while Tomohiro Yamamoto has been the most frequent option at libero.

Player to watch

Kento Miyaura had to step up to replace Nishida while he battled some injuries in the last two years and delivered what the team needed at opposite. An explosive left-handed player, he’s very strong offensively and also extremely dangerous from the service line with his potent serve. The 25-year-old Miayura has produced remarkable performances against strong opponents in 2023, tallying 28 points against Argentina and 24 against Brazil in the VNL and 27 against the United States in the Olympic Qualifier.

The coach

French Phillip Blain was promoted to the head coach role with Japan in 2022, after working for five years as an assistant under Yuichi Nakagaichi. Under his guidance, the Asians took bronze at the VNL 2023 and also won the Asian Championship last year. Before working with Japan, Blain led Poland to gold at the 2014 World Championship and his native France to take silver at the 2006 FIVB World League and the 2003 and 2009 European Championships.


Blain has been working with Japan since 2017, including the last two seasons as the head coach

  • Get your VNL merchandise now by clicking here
  • Sync the VNL 2024 with your calendar here

The match schedule

Japan will make the trip to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in the first week of the VNL 2024 and will debut against Argentina on May 21. Their other three matches in the city will be against Serbia, Cuba and reigning world champions Italy. Back home in Fukuoka for week two, the Ryujin Nippon will battle continental rivals Iran, Germany, VNL champions Poland and Slovenia. They will conclude the Preliminary Phase in Manila, the Philippines, with matches against Canada, the Netherlands, Olympic champions France and the United States.

Quick links:
Volleyball Nations League
Subscribe to Volleyball World's Newsletter