Araki to lead Japan women's team in 2021


The Japanese Volleyball Association and head coach Kumi Nakada have announced the women's national team roster for the 2021 FIVB season. The team will be captained by middle blocker Erika Araki, who is set to appear in her fourth Olympic Games. The roster is very much driven by experienced players, but JT Marvelous setter Aki Momii has been named to the roster for the first time, after playing a key role for her club over the last two seasons.

Kotona Hayashi, Rena Mizusugi and Nichika Yamada were new to the national team roster last year and may make their first international appearances in 2021.

At the outside hitter and opposite positions, Japan has named Ai Kurogo, Sarina Koga, Miyu Nagaoka, Yuki Ishii, Mayu Ishikawa, Yurie Nabeya, Arisa Inoue, Reina Tokoku, Yuri Yoshino and Hayashi. Nagaoka, Ishii and Nabeya were all part of both the 2016 Rio Olympics team and 2018 FIVB Volleyball Women's World Championships team.

With the middles, Haruyo Shimamura, Aika Akutagawa, Mai Okumura, Aya Watanabe and Yamada join captain Araki. Shimamura who had a successful Japanese season with her club team NEC Red Rockets returns to the team after not being selected in 2020.

The setter position has Haruka Miyashita, Kanami Tashiro, Miya Sato, Nanami Seki and Momii. Miyashita played in Rio, Tashiro played in both Rio and the 2018 World Championships. Sato has been injured with her club team Hitachi Rivale this season and only appeared in two matches.

Lastly at the libero position are Mako Kobata, Kotoe Inoue and Mizusugi. Kobata and Inoue have been on the national team since 2017 and have been used in an offensive (Kobata) vs. defensive (Inoue) rotation by Nakada. Whether Japan will use both players at the Olympics is to be determined as only 12 players will make the final roster for the Games.

2021 Japan Women's National Team Roster