Captain - Yuta Abe
As the oldest member of the Japan squad for the 2015 World Cup, Yuta Abe was the obvious choice to be team captain. The veteran of three World Championships, including the 2006 tournament that was held in Japan, he has the experience to help his teammates cope with the pressure of playing in front of a home crowd. His selection for the 2015 World League competition led to his first top international tournament since 2012, and he helped his team to joint-fifth in Group 2.
Yuta Abe began playing volleyball at age 13 because his brother was already involved in the sport. During his career he has become a mainstay of the Japanese club game, and in 2013 he received an honorary prize after playing in his 230th V.League match. His debut season in the league was 2005, when he was named Rookie of the Year. He has turned his attention to international achievements and is aiming to help Japan qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Star Player - Yuki Ishikawa
Yuki Ishikawa is the youngest member of Japan’s 2015 World Cup squad. The 19-year-old outside hitter made his international debut at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, Korea, and was instantly rewarded with a silver medal as his team defeated hosts Korea in the semifinal but lost to Iran in the final. This year he was part of the Japan team that finished equal-fifth at the World League and he recorded the best percentage spiking success rate in his team. He also ended the tournament as the most successful server and receiver on the Japan team.
As a junior, Ishikawa was in the Japan team that finished 10th at the 2013 Junior World Championship, and he was named Best Scorer at the 2012 Asian Youth Championship in Tehran, Iran. He has also been honoured at college level, being named Most Valuable Player at the 2013 All-Japan High School Championships and 2014 All-Japan Intercollegiate Championships.
He began playing volleyball at about age eight and was influenced by his sister. He studies law at Chuo University in Tokyo, Japan, and also represents the university at volleyball. His aim is to win a medal at the Olympic Games in 2016 and 2020.