Japan were first represented at the Stockholm 1912 Olympic Games by a two-man team in sprinter Yahiko MISHIMA and marathon runner Shizo KANAKURI.
Their first Olympic medallists were in tennis.
At the Antwerp 1920 Olympic Games, Ichara KUMAGAE took silver in the men's singles and partnered Sheiichiro KASHIO to another silver in the doubles.
Triple jumper Mikio ODA won their first Olympic gold at the Amsterdam 1928 Games, but Japan have enjoyed most success in swimming, gymnastics and judo.
Swimmer Kosuke KITAJIMA was the star Japanese performer of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, successfully defending his titles in the 100m breaststroke and 200m breaststroke and also grabbing a bronze in the medley relay. He was the latest in a long line of Japanese swimmers to excel in the sport since the Amsterdam 1928 Olympic Games.
Yoshiyuki TSURUTA's 200m breaststroke gold in 1928 was their first in the Olympic pool. He retained the title at the 1932 Games in Los Angeles.
Masaji KIYOKAWA won gold in the 100m backstroke at the 1932 Olympic Games and took bronze at the same event in Berlin in 1936. He later became an IOC vice president.
Hideko MAEHATA followed up silver in the women's 200m breaststroke in 1932 with gold in 1936.
Gymnast Takashi ONO is his country's most successful Olympian. He won five gold medals over three successive Olympic Games. His victory in the horizontal bars in Melbourne in 1956 was the first by a Japanese gymnast.
In all, he competed at four Olympic Games between 1952 and 1964. He also claimed four silver and four bronze medals. His feats were emulated by fellow gymnast Yukio ENDO, who also won five gold medals. He was the most successful male competitor at the Tokyo 1964 Olympic Games, with three gold medals. He added a further two at the Mexico City 1968 Olympic Games and also claimed two silver medals.
Mitsuo TSUKAHARA also won five gold medals. He won the horizontal bar at the Munich 1972 Olympic Games and again at the Montreal 1976 Games but his name will forever be associated with the Tsukahara vault.
Judo was introduced to the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 1964. Japan won three of the four classes contested but did not win the prestigious open category. Haruki UEMURA in 1976 and Yasuhiro YAMASHITA in 1984 achieved this honour for Japan.
Tadahiro NOMURA won three successive gold medals in men's extra light-weight from 1996 to 2004. His uncle Toyokazu NOMURA won half middleweight gold in 1972.
Ryoko TAMURA-TANI competed in her fifth successive Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008. She had won extra light-weight gold in 2000 and 2004 and also had taken two silvers and a bronze from her other appearances.
More recently, Japanese women have enjoyed success in the marathon. Naoko TAKAHASHI won gold at Sydney 2000 and Mizuki NOGUCHI came home to win in Athens in 2004. Team sport success came in Beijing when Japan's women claimed softball gold.
Tokyo hosted the 1964 Olympic Games and two other Japanese cities have hosted the Winter Olympic Games; Sapporo in 1972 and Nagano in 1998.
Kimi ga Yo
Anthem: Year of Induction
Music Hiromori HAYASHI, author unknown.
Official NOC name
IOC recognition date
NOC President's name
Mr Tsunekazu TAKEDA
NOC General Secretary's name
Mr Noriyuki ICHIHARA*
IOC Member's Name
Mr Chiharu IGAYA (Honorary), Mr Shun-ichiro OKANO (Honorary)
Year of first appearance in an Olympic Games
Number of appearances in Olympic Games
21, including London 2012
Summary of Olympic Games Appearances
|Medals per sport|
|Cycling - Track||0||1||3||4|
|Equestrian - Jumping||1||0||0||1|
|Gymnastics - Artistic||28||31||33||92|
|Wrestling - Freestyle||20||12||13||45|
|Wrestling - Greco-Roman||4||5||2||11|
|Medals per year|