Hiroki Kokubo was named as the new manager of the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks on Saturday, as their former star slugger was promoted from managing the Pacific League club's farm team.

The 52-year-old, who managed Japan's national team from 2013 through 2017, will succeed Hiroshi Fujimoto in taking the reins at the Hawks, who last won the PL and the Japan Series in 2020.

SoftBank finished the regular season third this year and lost the best-of-three PL Climax Series first round against the second-place Chiba Lotte Marines on Monday. Fujimoto subsequently left his role after fulfilling his two-year contract.

Kokubo joined the Daiei Hawks in 1994 and won the home run title in 1995. He spent the majority of his career with the Hawks, except for three seasons from 2004 with the Central League's Yomiuri Giants, and reached 2,000 career hits in 2012, the year he announced his retirement.

The Wakayama Prefecture native in total logged 2,041 hits, batted .273, had 413 home runs and 1,304 RBIs in 2,057 games.

Kokubo, who led Japan to the last four at the 2017 World Baseball Classic, returned to the Hawks as their head coach in 2017 and was managing the farm team from 2022.