Who is Japan's leading all-time top goal scorer? Kagawa, Okazaki and Samurai Blue's greatest strikers

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Kunishige Kamamoto Japan
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Japan's top goalscorers list consists of some of the greatest Asian players of all time

Japan are without doubt one of the most influential footballing nations hailing from Asia.

The Samurai Blue didn't gain much momentum on the global stage until the 1990s, before a wave of talent helped them become the most successful team on the continent.

They qualified for the last seven World Cups, from which they reached the knockout stages in 2002, 2010 and 2018.

Japan are also record four-time AFC Asian Cup winners in 1992, 2000, 2004 and 2011.

We all know about legendary players such as Shunsuke Nakamura, Keisuke Honda, Shinji Okazaki and Shinji Kagawa.

But what about Kunishige Kamamoto, Japan's greatest goalscorer!

Or Takuya Takagi, who scored the winner in the 1992 AFC Asian Cup final.

Who is Japan's leading top goal scorer, though?

Let's take a look!

  1. Kunishige Kamamoto | 80 goals

    #1 Kunishige Kamamoto | 80 goals

    The greatest goalscorer for Japan with 80 goals, Kunishige Kamamoto made his debut on March 3, 1964 against Singapore and immediately opened his account.

    Kamamoto was then selected by Japan for the 1964 and 1968 Summer Olympics in Tokyo and Mexico and helped Japan win the Bronze Medal in Mexico, scoring seven goals.

    In 2018, this Japanese team from the 1968 Olympics was inducted in the Japan Football Hall of Fame.

    Kamamoto also featured at the 1966, 1970 and 1974 Asian Cups for Japan.

  2. Kazuyoshi Miura | 55 goals
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    #2 Kazuyoshi Miura | 55 goals

    A key player in the Japan national team for a decade, Kazuyoshi Miura was one of the most lethal strikers in Asia in his prime.

    Miura featured in 98 games for Japan between 1990 and 2000, scoring 55 times, 14 of which came in 13 qualification games which led them to their first-ever World Cup in 1998.

    However, he was then controversially not selected for the tournament.

    Miura played abroad in Brazil with Santos and Palmeiras, in Italy with Genoa and in Croatia with Dinamo Zagreb, while appearing for a host of Japanese clubs throughout his career.

  3. Shinji Okazaki | 50 goals

    #3 Shinji Okazaki | 50 goals

    Third on the list of Japan's all-time top goal scorers is Shinji Okazaki, who featured for the national team on 119 occasions and scored 50 goals.

    In an international career spanning 11 years, Okazaki's best performance for Japan came in consecutive matches as he scored hat-tricks against Hong Kong and Togo respectively.

    IFFHS presented him with 'The World's Top Goal Scorer' award in 2009 for his 15 goals with the national team in the calendar year.

    In 2010, Okazaki scored the only goal to help Japan beat Argentina 1-0 for the first-time ever.

  4. Hiromi Hara | 37 goals

    #4 Hiromi Hara | 37 goals

    Hiromi Hara made his debut for Japan against the Soviet Union on November 19, 1978 when he was still studying at university level.

    Hara featured in the 1978 Asian Games and 1982 World Cup qualification matches for Japan.

    An interesting fact about Hara is that he featured in every single international game for Japan between 1983 right up until 1987.

    After retiring in 1988, after three managerial stints at club level, he got the chance to manage the Japanese team for two games, before Alberto Zaccheroni became the new manager.

  5. Keisuke Honda | 37 goals
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    #5 Keisuke Honda | 37 goals

    In the late 2000s, Keisuke Honda became a cult hero in European football first at CSKA Moscow and then AC Milan.

    However, arguably the most important contributions of his career came for the Japanese national team.

    Honda featured for Japan at three World Cups in 2010, 2014 and 2018 respectively.

    His most clinical performance for Japan came against Jordan in a World Cup qualifier in 2012 when he scored a hat-trick and provided an assist in a 6-0 win.

    Honda scored 37 goals in 98 appearances for Japan.

    At 36 years of age, he is currently Cambodia's national team manager.

  6. Shinji Kagawa | 31 goals

    #6 Shinji Kagawa | 31 goals

    Shinji Kagawa made his debut for Japan in May 2008 against Ivory Coast.

    After missing out on a place at the 2010 World Cup, Kagawa caught then manager Alberto Zaccheroni's eye, who made him Shunsuke Nakamura's successor in the Japanese squad.

    His performances at the 2011 AFC Asian Cup helped Japan lift the trophy.

    Kagawa also featured at the 2013 Confederations Cup, 2014 World Cup, 2015 AFC Asian Cup and the 2018 World Cup for the Samurai Blue.

    He also has a World Cup goal to his name, scoring against Colombia in 2018.

    After scoring 31 goals in 97 games, he retired from the national team aged 30.

  7. Takuya Takagi | 27 goals

    #7 Takuya Takagi | 27 goals

    Seventh on the list of Japan's all time top goal-scorers in history, Takuya Takagi was part of their 1992 AFC Asian Cup squad that ended up lifting the trophy.

    Takagi played five games in the tournament and scored the winning goal against Saudi Arabia in the final.

    The forward was suspended for Japan's critical 1994 World Cup qualifier against Iraq and watched from the bench as a late Iraqi equaliser ended their hopes of qualifying.

    He featured in 44 international games for Japan, scoring 27 goals.

  8. Kazushi Kimura | 26 goals

    #8 Kazushi Kimura | 26 goals

    Kazushi Kimura made his debut for the Japan national team in 1979 against Indonesia while still pursuing his studies at Meiji University.

    He featured for Japan at the 1980 Summer Olympics qualification, 1982 World Cup qualifiers, 1982 Asian Games, 1984 Summer Olympics qualification, 1986 Asian Games and 1986 World Cup qualification.

    Primarily a midfielder, Kimura was at his peak in 1985 when he scored goals in six consecutive international games for Japan.

    In his seven-year stint with the national team, Kimura scored 26 goals in 54 games, earning him an induction into the Japan Football Hall of Fame.

  9. Shunsuke Nakamura | 24 goals
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    #9 Shunsuke Nakamura | 24 goals

    Another cult hero, Shunsuke Nakamura made a name for himself by scoring some of the most incredible long-range goals in his career for both club and country.

    The Yokohama Marinos legend made his debut for Japan in February 2000 against Singapore and went on to make 98 appearances for Japan in 10 years, scoring 24 goals.

    Nakamura was part of the Japanese team that lifted the AFC Asian Cup in 2000.

    However, he wasn't selected for the 2002 World Cup on home soil.

    Brazilian legend Zico gave him the chance to shine for Japan again, and he did at the 2004 Asian Cup and the 2006 World Cup.

    He also went on to feature in the 2007 Asian Cup and 2010 World Cup for the Samurai Blue.

  10. Naohiro Takahara | 23 goals
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    #10 Naohiro Takahara | 23 goals

    Tenth on the list of top international goal scorers for Japan is Naohiro Takahara.

    Climbing up the ranks from the Japan Under-17, Under-20 and Under-23 teams, Takahara made his senior debut in February 2000, when he featured against Singapore in the 2000 AFC Asian Cup qualification.

    Tragedy struck when Takahara was forced to miss the 2002 World Cup because of a lung disease, but made a swift return to feature at the 2003 Confederations Cup.

    The striker was then awarded with a selection for the 2006 World Cup, where he played all three games.

    At the 2007 AFC Asian Cup, the former Eintracht Frankfurt star was the tournament's joint top scorer with four goals in six games alongside Iraq's Younis Mahmoud and Saudi Arabia's Yasser Al-Qahtani.

    Takahara scored 23 goals in 57 appearances for Japan.

  11. #11 Japan's all-time top goal scorers





    Japan career


    Kunishige Kamamoto



    1964 - 1977


    Kazuyoshi Miura



    1990 - 2000


    Shinji Okazaki



    2008 - present


    Hiromi Hara





    Keisuke Honda



    2008 - 2018


    Shinji Kagawa



    2008 - present


    Takuya Takagi



    1992 - 1997


    Kazushi Kimura



    1979 - 1986


    Shunsuke Nakamura



    2000 - 2010


    Naohiro Takahara



    2000 - 2008