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Haikyuu Olympics: Picking Starting 7 in Japan Volleyball Team

Haikyuu is one of the best sports anime of all time and has set the benchmark very high for any future sports series. The beauty of Haikyuu lies in its brilliant and realistic depiction of Volleyball, staying true to its genre. With amazing characters and with no unnecessary side plots, Haikyuu is a must-watch masterpiece for any anime fan.


Hinata finally makes it to Japan National Volleyball Team and plays in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics along with Kageyama and others. Let us first look who made it to the final 12 and later we will pick the strongest starting 7 out of the 12.

Haikyuu Olympics Team for Japan in 2021 Tokyo Olympics

NamePositionCurrent ClubHeight Reach
Hinata ShoyoOppositeAsas Sao Paulo(Brazil)350 cm
Tobio KageyamaSetterAli Roma (Italy)348 cm
Sakusa KiyoomiOutside HitterMSBY Black Jackals345 cm
Miya AtsumuSetterMSBY Black Jackals342 cm
Hyakuzawa YudaiMiddle BlockerJapan Railway Warriors346 cm
Gao HakubaMiddle BlockerTachibana Red Falcons350 cm
Komori MotoyaLiberoEastern Japan Paper Mills Raijin330 cm
Yaku MorisukeLibero Cheegle Ekaterinburg (Russia)325 cm
Hoshiumi KouraiOutside HitterSchweiden Alders351 cm
Ushijima WakatoshiOppositeSchweiden Alders348 cm
Kotaro BokutoOutside HitterMSBY Black Jackals348 cm
Aran OjiroOutside HitterTachibana Red Falcons
Hajime Iwaizumi TrainerJapan National Volleyball Team

Starting the choosing 7


We have to choose 1 setter from the 2 in the team, 2 Outside hitters from the 4 available, 1 Opposite from the 2, 1 Libero from 2, and the 2 Middle blockers select themselves.

Libero

Options: Komori Motoya | Yaku Morisuke


Komori Motoya from Eastern Japan Paper Mills Raijin and Yaki Morisuke from Cheegle Ekaterinburg (Russia) are our candidates for the single Libero position. This position is tricky to pick since we don’t see any of them in action in their professional careers.


We know that Komori was part of the National Youth Training Camp which included other prodigies like Kageyama, Sakusa, Miya, etc while Yaku wasn’t selected. While it isn’t right to look at school records in deciding the team for National Team it provides some insights about their level during High school.

Meanwhile, Yaku on the other hand is playing in the Russian Volleyball Super League which is considered one of the strongest leagues in the world. Keeping that in mind Yaku can be deemed better suited. But these points prove nothing as Yaku might have been just a substitute for all we know.

Nevertheless, I am going to pick Yaku for this one as he is playing in a tougher league though logically there cannot be a decision made here.

Libero: Yaku Morisuke

Middle Blockers

Options: Gao Hakuba | Hyakuzawa Yudai


Middle blockers are pretty straightforward to pick since there are only two players available for the two positions. Gao Hakuba is really talented as we had seen from his Kamomedai days and Hyakuzawa wasn’t impressive during High school but clearly had talent and natural advantage of height. He greatly improved enough to play for a professional club.

Middle Blockers: Gao Hakuba | Hyakuzawa Yudai

Setter

Options: Kageyama Tobio| Miya Atsumu


Miya Atsumu is highly talented and his records are there to see. He is really accurate with his tosses and also isn’t a conservative or a conventional type of setter. He is a dynamic setter that tries crazy kinds of stuff on the court and can play in any type of team.


Having said that Kageyama is on a whole other level. He can do everything that Miya does and does things that no one in the world can do. With the skill sets, he has shown it mightn’t be far-fetched to say that he is the Best Setter in the world.

Miya Atsumu will probably start for most of the national teams around the world but unfortunately cannot for Japan. Kageyama is without a doubt the best player on the Japan team.

Setter: Tobio Kageyama

Opposite

Options: Ushijima Wakatoshi | Hinata Shoyo


This is quite tricky to choose since both of them are extremely different in what they provide to the team. Ushijima is a modern Opposite who excels in attacking in all rotations and Hinata is a traditional allrounder (At least that is what he played in the club.) who excels in all the things in the game.


Both have one problem with them, Ushijima’s game style is slightly one-dimensional as we have seen from his High school career to his early National team career. Hinata isn’t very effective in blocks since his natural disadvantage in height will prove detrimental in blocking. Both complement each other and bring something different to the team.


Hinata’s traditional allrounder role is outdated nowadays as everyone in the team is expected to be great at defending and setters and liberos take care of setting from anywhere in the court. A traditional allrounder isn’t needed anymore in the game but Hinata has the advantage of crazy quicks with Kageyama as the setter.


Ushijima’s opposite role provides so much flexibility to the team and he is the only one in the team (Maybe Aran) who can be called a cannon and can be useful to break the blocks with pure force. I have to go with Ushijima on the Opposite role mainly due to the uniqueness of the position (modern opposite) he plays in.

Opposite: Ushijima Wakatoshi


Outside Hitters

Options: Kotaro Bokuto | Hoshiumi Kourai| Sakusa Kiyoomi | Aran Ojiro

We have to pick two players for this role. Sakusa Kiyoomi is definitely the best of them all from what we have seen from his High school days and in his University career where he even got MVP award and in his club career. His selection is a no-brainer.


In a similar way of thinking, we can eliminate Aran Ojiro from the starting 7. He wasn’t as impressive as others in High school days as he was slightly outside the top 5 in Japan and we haven’t seen anything about him in club career. From the limited knowledge, we can drop him to the bench.


Now for the final point, the toss-up is between Hoshiumi and Bokuto. Hoshiumi is great but like Hinata, he lacks in blocking. Though he is brilliant in his all-around game, his blocking level isn’t at the level of others. In defending he is clearly better than Bokuto. But for me, that isn’t enough to pick him ahead of Bokuto since Bokuto isn’t that far behind him in defending.

Outside Hitters: Sakusa Kiyoomi | Kotaro Bokuto

Japan National Team Formation

Final Thoughts

This was fun to think about and the selection is mostly based on the vague info we know about them. What do you think of the team picked here? Do you have your own set of players? Comment below. Also, check out other Haikyuu related interesting articles down below.



Comment (1)

  • C-Dawg Reply

    Thanks so much for this article! I’m happy there are fans who think as in-depth about haikyuu and volleyball as I do!

    I agree with all your choices except one: I would switch hinata to left side and pair him with bokuto. I think it’s very fair to say Hinata is better than Kiyoomi, and it just gives them a different option on offense plus essentially a second Libero on defense. A lot of pro teams in real life will have their main outside hitter be paired with a more defensive outside, someone smaller who goes more for tools off the block (tooling is easier when you’re shorter).

    That’s what I would do if I was the coach!

    July 20, 2022 at 10:50 am

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