Brazilians who were part of the Japanese national team

The Japanese national team already had athletes who were naturalized. Among them, Brazilians.

Meet here 4 Brazilian players who were naturalized and made a successful career in Japan and are recognized until today for their performances.


Japanese national team: Ruy Ramos and Wagner Lopes

Ruy Ramos and Wagner Lopes were the first Brazilians to be part of the Japanese team.


Ruy Ramos defended the Japanese National Team from 1990 to 1995, playing 32 games and scoring just one goal, being present in the Qualifiers for the 1990 and 1994 World Cups. Afterwards, he began his coaching career in Japan.

Wagner Lopes became a naturalized player on September 12, 1997. And, 16 days later, he debuted as a representative of Japan in the World Cup qualifiers against South Korea. He spent most of his career in Japan and then returned to Brazil.

Japanese national team and Alessandro dos Santos


Perhaps, one of the most famous names of Brazilians in the Japanese national team is Alessandro dos Santos. Initially, he went to the country to study, but as soon as he finished high school he excelled in football and already signed a professional contract.

This was just the beginning of his career in Japan.

In November 2001, when his application for naturalization to Japan was approved, he was called up to the Japan national team by then coach Philippe Troussier, and made his debut for the national team in a friendly against Ukraine in March 2002. He was also selected to represent Japan at the 2002 FIFA World Cup.


Zico, who took over after the 2002 World Cup, continued to call him up. But at the start of Zico’s managerial era, he was a backup to midfielders Shunsuke Nakamura. However, in June 2003, the Japanese national team suffered a 1-4 defeat by Argentina, and Toshihiro Hattori, who until then was a left-back, left the team. When 3 full-backs were adopted, he continued to feature in the first team for around 3 years until the final game of the 2006 World Cup as a left midfielder.

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Japanese national team and Marcus Túlio Tanaka

Last on our list is Túlio Tanaka. He was born in the interior of São Paulo and, after trying to make a career as a professional athlete in Brazil, he ended up being called to play in Japan.

There he managed to play in several teams and stood out in the Japanese league. He arrived in the country in 1997 and only in 2004 did I get citizenship. That’s when he can play for the Japanese national team.

He started his career with the Japan U-23 team, appearing in 7 matches. Already in the year 2006, he began to be part of the Japanese senior team. and was called up for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, where he was instrumental in Japan reaching the round of 16. On that occasion, Japan was defeated by Paraguay on penalties by 5–3, after a 0–0 draw in normal game time.

It was nicknamed by the Japanese of samurai.

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