Japan are one of only two teams, along with China, to have played in all 24 editions of the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix. They will participate in this year’s edition before travelling to Brazil for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. They qualified for this year’s Summer Games by finishing third at the Women’s World Olympic Qualification Tournament in Tokyo.
Last year, Japan finished sixth at the World Grand Prix Finals in Omaha. They reached the podium for the first time in 2014 when they took the silver medal. That followed a fourth place finish in the 2013 edition. Further fourth place finishes came in 1997 and 1994.
Japan won three World Championships and two Olympic golds in the 1960s and ’70s. Their recent successes can be traced back to Manabe's appointment as coach in 2008. They finished third at the 2010 FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship, taking a first medal in the competition for 32 years, and followed that by claiming bronze at the London 2012 Olympic Games. However, at the 2014 Women's World Championship they finished equal seventh. They were also fifth at the 2015 edition of the FIVB Volleyball Women's World Cup.