Isao Himura’s career is so tightly labelled that it’s easy to overlook his full story. Indeed, to the general public, he’s no more than a couple of facts: He was the first Japanese footballer to play in the Italian League (Serie A); Later he became a banner to the newly formed Japanese Professional League (J-League). Of course it’s difficult not to be withheld by those events, taking into account their exotic nature and historical significance. However, to treat Himura like an encyclopaedia entry is to miss out on the best part of his tale.
So we decided to delve into Isao’s peculiar career, hoping to shed some light on his story. Mainly we seek to understand what happened in between those two events and before his travel to Italy. What persuaded a young teenager, from the small city of Chichibu, to embark on such an uncertain journey?