Japanese volleyball legend Kumi Nakada
Japanese volleyball legend Kumi Nakada. We are pleased to introduce the four-time Olympian and current member of the FIVB Technical and Coaching Commission.
Kumi Nakada, playmaker for the Japanese women’s national team, won bronze at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics when she was still a high school student. With four Olympic appearances under her belt, the 56-year-old FIVB Technical and Coaching Commission member can now look forward to a successful career on both the playing and coaching side of the net.
Nakada’s interest in volleyball started when she was in middle school. In 1980, at the age of 15, the brilliant ambidextrous athlete was selected for the Japanese national team.
Three years later, she became Japan’s starting setter and led them to an Asian Championship win over once-unbeatable China in 1983.
carry the flag
Nakada, who is 1.76 meters tall, made her Olympic debut in 1984 in Los Angeles, where she helped Japan win bronze. She helped the team achieve top-five finishes at the Olympic Games in Seoul (1988) and Barcelona (1992), and she became the first Japanese woman to compete in three Olympic Games. She also had the honor of carrying the country’s flag at the Barcelona Games.
While playing for his country, Nakada also participated in the FIVB Volleyball World Championship twice. They were fourth that year. After leading the team for four more years, she finished in eighth place. Nakada and her teammates participated in three FIVB Volleyball World Cups, placing fourth in 1985 and ninth in 1989 and seventh in 1991. In 1989, she was recognized as the competition’s top setter.
The legendary setter also has two Asian Games silver medals (1982 and 1986) and one Asian Championship silver (1991) and one Asian Championship bronze (1989) to her credit.
Nakada spent the majority of her club career (1981–1993) with Hitachi Belle Fille Kodaira, and she briefly came out of retirement for the 1995–1996 season. At 16 years and three months, she made her professional debut in Japan and remained the league’s youngest player until 2007.
She was the Japanese league Rookie of the Year in her first season as a starting setter. A later version of her career saw her nominated for six All-Star Teams and four Most Valuable Player awards. Nakada, while part of Hitachi, won the National Championship title up to ten times.
Nakada was widely regarded as one of the best passers in the world during her time on the pitch.
She also began her coaching career as an assistant at the Hitachi Belle Fille club. In 2008, she became the first Japanese woman to lead a foreign volleyball team when she accepted an assistant coaching position for Minetti Vicenza in the Italian premier league. Nakada played with Vicenza for one season before moving to Asystel Volley Novara for the next two, where he helped the team qualify for the 2010 CEV Champions League semi-finals.
Nakada returned to Japan in 2011 to manage Hisamitsu Springs Kobe, and in this role he took the club to three consecutive FIVB Volleyball World Championships. Under his leadership, Hisamitsu won the Asian Club Championship in 2014, the Asian Club Championship in 2015, the Japanese Club Championship in 2017 and the Empress Cup a total of five times. The team celebrated a domestic treble gold by winning the JVA’s Kurowashiki All Japan Tournament in his second season at the helm.
In her position as head coach of the Japanese national team, Kumi Nakada served from April 2017 to August 2021. She finished second in the 2017 Asian Championship and fifth in the Volleyball Grand Champions Cup- ball FIVB 2017. in its first year.
In subsequent years, they achieved a sixth-place finish at the 2018 World Championship, a fifth-place finish at the 2019 World Cup and a continental gold medal at the 2019 Asian Championship. Nakada led Japan to Olympic participation to home games in Tokyo and fourth place in the Volleyball Nations League 2021 before the coach’s resignation. Thus, she added an Olympic appearance as a coach to her three Olympic appearances as a player.