Ruy Ramos Directly Appealed for Uniforms of Japan National Soccer Team to Revive the National Japanese Flag | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Ruy Ramos Directly Appealed for Uniforms of Japan National Soccer Team to Revive the National Japanese Flag

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Japan’s national team in the Asian qualifying round for the 2026 Soccer World Cup. Ritsu Doan, who wears the ace number, has the “Hinomaru” (Japanese flag) on his lapel.

On November 16, Japan’s national soccer team began the second round of Asian qualifying for the 2026 World Cup in North and Central America, aiming for its eighth consecutive appearance in the tournament, and Moriyasu Japan got off to a good start with a 5-0 win over Myanmar in their first match.

The national team’s uniforms have traditionally been blue and white, but there was only one time when the team wore bright red uniforms for both the top and bottom. At that time, the Hinomaru, which had always been placed on the left breast, was removed and replaced by the emblem of the Japan Football Association (JFA), the yatagarasu (crow). Ruy Ramos, who was the No. 10 for Japan in the Doha tragedy, said, “The red uniforms of the Japanese national team are not the same as the red uniforms of the U.S. team.”

“The red uniforms of the Japanese national team were very austere,” said Ruy Ramos, who wore the No. 10 number in the Doha tragedy. “I thought it was fine for Japan to wear red, because red is the color of the Japanese flag,” said Ruy Ramos. Because red is the color of the ‘Hinomaru’ (Japanese flag).


Ramos became a naturalized citizen of Japan in 1989, and was called up to the national team for the first time in April of the following year. His uniform color is red for both top and bottom. He headed to the national team training camp full of enthusiasm to play soccer with his country on his shoulders, but he was soon filled with a sense of discomfort.

“The uniforms were tasteful, but even though it was the national team’s training camp, some of the players were dressed like members of a select team. It was like a school field trip. I even appealed to Kenzo Yokoyama, then Japan’s national team coach, saying, ‘If that’s the way Japan’s national team is going to be, I’ll never come back!’”

The JFA decided to create something new and original, so they decided to use the red color and the yatagarasu (three-legged crow) symbol on the left chest. Yokoyama Japan (1988-1991), which adopted the red uniforms, won the Kirin Cup for the first time in 1991 with Ramos at the helm, but Japan’s national team at that time could not win in Asia, let alone the world.

“In fact, the red uniforms were never used again by the Japanese national team because an increasing number of European countries mistook Japanese players in red uniforms for those of Korea or China,” according to a JFA official. Even with this background understood, there was still something that Mr. Ramos could not tolerate. Even after the uniform color change, the “Hinomaru” was removed from the national team’s uniforms. Mr. Ramos continued.

“At 36, I was the oldest player on the team, and it was because of the Hinomaru that I was able to endure the training of the 20-somethings.”

Mr. Ramos’ first encounter with the Hinomaru came long before he came to Japan.

“I was 16 or 17 years old in Brazil. I went to a movie and saw the Hinomaru on the screen for the first time. I don’t even remember the title of the movie, but it left a good image in my mind: ‘What is this feeling?’ I had no idea where Japan was at the time. The coach of the team I was on asked me if there was soccer in that country. I wondered why I came to Japan. It is strange, isn’t it, that I came to Japan like that.”

“I will never forget the day I first came to Japan. When I landed at the airport, I saw many Japanese people waving “Hinomaru” here and there that day. When I later asked a Yomiuri Club official why, he told me that it was April 29, 1977, the birthday of the then Emperor Showa. The sight of him walking with the Hinomaru, I was on my way to Yomiuri Land in Inagi City, Tokyo.”


It was a fresh sight that could not be seen even on Brazil’s Independence Day (September 7). Above all, it stimulated the “respect for predecessors” that Ramos, who was 19 years old at the time, had always possessed.

He joined the Yomiuri Club of the Japan Soccer League (now Tokyo V of J2) as a professional soccer player, and as a Brazilian assistant at the time, he frequented Japan’s national team games.

“I went to Komazawa, Nishigaoka, and the National Stadium. Those were the days of Kazushi Kimura. Kazushi, who wore the Hinomaru (Japanese flag) on the left chest of his uniform, was just so cool.”

The Japan team at the 1990 Asian Games. Mr. Ramos and Kazu (Tomoyoshi Miura), who had just become a naturalized citizen and had not yet been invited to Japan’s national team, are also in the picture. Their uniforms do not have the Japanese flag on them.

The Japanese flag, which had been on the national team uniforms until around 1987, when Yoshinobu Ishii, Ramos’ predecessor, was called up to the national team, was removed after Yokoyama took over for the aforementioned reason and others. When the new director, Offutt, took over in 1992, Ramos, who had been a key player in the team, made a move.

“I went to him and I asked him if he would let us put the Japanese flag on the national team uniform. Then he said, ‘Leave it to me!’”

After receiving the OK from Director Offutt, Mr. Ramos went before the journalists and expressed his desire to have the Japanese flag on the national team uniform.

“The reporters cooperated and wrote many articles about it,” he said.

And the JFA readily agreed. The uniform worn during the final Asian qualifying round for the 1994 World Cup in the U.S. had the Hinomaru flag on the left sleeve.


“The members of Offutt Japan had strong feelings for Japan. Toshifumi Tomonami, Masami Ihara, Kazu, Masahiro Fukuda, Mitsunori Yoshida, and the current leader of Japan’s national team, Tetsuji Hashiratani, were all very passionate about Japan, Hajime Moriyasu, who now leads the national team, was also doing his part for the “Rising Sun. So did Offut.”

For Mr. Ramos, the experience of playing for the national team, more than anything else, was a driving force. In the history of Japanese soccer, which had been built up over the years, this was a team that showed a soul that sacrificed itself and put the team first. That is why the “Doha Tragedy” is still a legend 30 years later.

“The J-League is celebrating its 30th anniversary with a lot of excitement. That is important, but there was also the Japanese national soccer team, which was weak and fought with tears in its eyes. We must never forget the bronze medal won by Kunishige Kamamoto and Ryuichi Sugiyama at the Mexico Olympics in 1968! Don’t you think so?”

When he came to Japan at the age of 19, he said that he planned to return to Brazil after a year or two. However, he is 66 years old this year and he still lives in Japan.

“I still don’t understand the charm of Japan. I mean, it’s so wonderful that it’s hard to describe in one word. The fact that I was able to get well after having a stroke in 2016 is surely proof that God has kept me alive. I am sure that I have yet to repay my debt to Japan, I am sure. If given the chance, I would like to coach, and I want children to fall in love with soccer with all their might. I would be happy to help in that way.”


“The Japanese national team should wear the Japanese flag on their uniforms.”

Since Ramos’ suggestion, the uniforms of the Japanese national soccer team have always had the Hinomaru logo somewhere on them, even when they are remodeled, and in the uniforms of the Moriyasu Japan team, which has begun World Cup qualifying, the Hinomaru logo is placed above the number on the back. The uniforms of Moriyasu Japan, which have begun World Cup qualifying, have the Hinomaru on their back numbers, meaning that no matter what game they play, they will always play with the Hinomaru on their shoulders.

Japan’s national team for the 1994 World Cup in the United States. Mr. Ramos was instrumental in having the Hinomaru on the left sleeve.


  • PHOTO Afro (1st and 3rd photos) Jiji Press (2nd photo)

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