“Takahashi returns to Japan to promote Japanese volleyball to the world, while Otsuka leaves for Milan

Japanese men’s volleyball “ace” Ran Takahashi, born in 2001, has left Italy and returned to the Japanese league. At the same time, 2000-born Tatsunori Otsuka will wear the jersey of Milan in the Italian men’s volleyball first division.

First, Takahashi, a 6-foot-5 outside hitter, joined the Sunbirds of the Suntory Sunbirds in the 2024-25 season. Takahashi went straight from high school and college in Japan to playing overseas. She spent the 2021/22 and 2022/23 seasons in Padua, Italy, where she played alongside Lee Woo-jin for Monza last season. In the new season, she will be playing in the Japanese league for the first time.

“I want to make the SV League the best league in the world as soon as possible,” Takahashi said at a press conference wearing a Suntory jersey, according to Japan’s Monthly Volleyball. “I want to revitalize domestic volleyball and make it known to the world. Even when I played in Italy, there were many foreign players who wanted to play in Japan, 스포츠토토사이트 so I think Japanese volleyball is attractive,” he said.

“It’s also fun to play volleyball in front of Japanese fans after the Olympics. I hope they will come to the stadium a lot. Also, by playing in Japan, we can appeal to people who don’t like volleyball. I want to make it a sport that children can dream of playing,” he said.

The Japan Volleyball League Organization, which organizes Japan’s V.League, is starting a new league, the SV.League, from the upcoming season. It aims to become the world’s top league by 2030. The S stands for Strong, Spread, and Society. Like the Korean V-League, Japan has increased the number of foreign players in the league. At the same time, it expanded the number of teams participating in the first division and changed the rules regarding player registration and rostering to allow homegrown players to play.

Takahashi is also keen to help revitalize Japan’s SV.League.

Currently, the Italian league still has Yuki Ishikawa. Formerly with Milan, Ishikawa moved to Perugia this year.

Milan once again turned to Japan to reinforce their outside hitters. The 6-foot-5 Otsuka is the latest addition. This is Otsuka’s first overseas move after playing for the Panasonic Panthers from 2021-22 to 2023-24.

“I started studying English and Italian,” Otsuka told Milan, “The Italian League is the best league in the world. I’ve watched Milan play before. Yuki Ishikawa said I can learn a lot from this place. I will give my all for Milan,” said Ishikawa.

In the 2022-23 season, Ishikawa, Takahashi, and Yuji Nishida will be the first three Japanese players to play in the Italian league in different jerseys. Last year, only Ishikawa and Takahashi remained in Italy. This year, Ishikawa and Otsuka will battle it out between the nets.

Mayu Ishikawa, a mainstay of Japan’s women’s national team and Yuki Ishikawa’s younger sister, played last season for Florence in the Italian women’s first division before moving to Novara this year. There are also Japanese players in the LOVB, an American women’s volleyball league set to launch this year.

Thanks to Japan’s active exchange with university teams and Italian teams, many Japanese players have experienced overseas leagues. The main reason for taking on difficult challenges is to grow.

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