The Team Japan fans love is not just focused on a single player or a particular strength, but rather a more offensively and defensively sound squad that works better as a unit. Japan has truly reinvented themselves with their new generation of stars.

Among those involved in the team’s evolution is Ran Takahashi, who joined the team straight out of high school. The 22-year-old has been a whirlwind success, something he does not want to claim but also a situation that he could never have predicted. However, he is pleased for this confidence boosting compliment.

“I don’t think I’m actually famous but being a player recognized internationally is something to be happy about,” Ran said.

“To be able to compete against other players in the world, I know I still need to improve my skills. I’m happy that people are recognizing me, and I would like to use the confidence boost for the future.”

  • Watch Ran Takahashi’s CLOSER TO PARIS full interview on VBTV

Ran, along with captain Yuki Ishikawa and Yuji Nishida, are the pillars of offense for the Japan national team. And the outside hitter cherishes his role, discussing the best part of being in the national team.

“Seeing the wonders of volleyball and winning the glory are the best parts of playing for the national team. It’s a great place to see how much I’ve grown and also know my value as a player,” he said.

“I think the scoring ability in critical situations is the most important thing. I, myself, think that reception has always been my strength. Being able to receive and say, ‘that’s my target’ and actually get a point is the most important skill an outside hitter should have.”


He already achieved his childhood dream. He was only 20 when he played in his first Olympics. He shared that he had anxiety about gauging his capabilities to play at world level, but that soon changed when he was selected to be in the Olympic team.

“When I was 12 years old, my ultimate goal was to play volleyball in the Olympics. I’ve realized that the Olympics was the biggest tournament after four or five years of playing, so that became my goal,” the outside hitter said.

“Tension and anxiety were the strongest feelings. After I won the title in high school, soon I became part of the national team. I did not know how I would be accepted or if I could actually play volleyball on that stage. I was a little worried. I was looking forward to it and felt excited. I remember those feelings.”

Ran and Team Japan are hosting Pool B of the Volleyball Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Tokyo from September 30 to October 8 and will face the United States, Slovenia, Serbia, Türkiye, Tunisia, Egypt and Finland.

“The Olympic Qualification Tournament is really important but for any team, it is not going to be easy. We have to show every team what Japanese volleyball is. I think the final three matches will be the climax – Serbia, Slovenia, USA – these three will be the toughest matches for Japan.”

VBTV Originals presents CLOSER TO PARIS, featuring Ran Takahashi as the ninth in the slate of exclusive features of the world’s best stars sharing their thoughts and dreams on the road to qualification for the Paris Olympics.