American football has always had a small presence in Japan, and vice versa. But Japanese players are slowly making inroads, as Kaz Nagatsuka reports:
- The NFL’s first Japanese-born player may be on the horizon. Running back Taku Lee’s desire to compete on the world’s biggest stage has only grown as he’s continued to play, steadily turning his dream into an objective.
- Can the NFL make a splash in Japan? Damani Leech, the chief operating officer of NFL International, discusses the league’s global strategy and its growing efforts to tap the Japanese market.
- Sometimes the first choice isn’t the best. Tomoya Machino wanted the spotlight of a wide receiver, but found his footing as a less flashy offensive lineman. Now he’s on his way to play in the Canadian Football League.
- “I don’t want to go there as a global player. I really want to go there as a regular CFL player.” Soon-to-be Winnipeg Blue Bomber Les Maruo shines a light on the struggle of being an Asian player in the sport.
- It’s a whole different ball game for former Yokohama DeNA BayStar infielder Takehiro Ishikawa, who is set to play wide receiver for the Nojima Sagamihara Rise. Will the 34-year-old be able to make the conversion from the diamond to the gridiron?