Daichi Kamada Was Loved In Germany And Now Returning To The Japan National Team | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Daichi Kamada Was Loved In Germany And Now Returning To The Japan National Team

On May 18, Kamata became the first Japanese player in 20 years to achieve this feat, and on May 20, he was selected for Japan's national team.

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Daichi Kamada (front row, third from right) explodes with joy after winning the championship. Makoto Hasebe (back row, fifth from right) was more emotional than the rest (Photo: AFLO)Frankfurt, the team of Daichi Kamada and Makoto Hasebe, beat Glasgow Rangers to win the UEFA Europa League (EL). They are the first Japanese players to win the UEFA Europa League since Shinji Ono, who won the previous UEFA Cup in the 2001-02 season. Kamada played a full part in the match and was the kicker in the penalty shootout, which he deservedly won. After the match, Kamada expressed his feelings about his lack of confidence in the team and described himself as follows: “I have not seen the light of day very often.” 

“I remember that I have had a difficult life in soccer without being in the limelight much. I think it is important to keep doing what you are doing, but I was born on a star like that (never seeing the light of day). It was the same in junior high school, high school, and when I entered the pro ranks, and I think I was able to look back at those people who thought I couldn’t do it.”

On this day, there was a scene in the game where he missed a looping shot on a crucial opportunity and slammed his fist on the pitch in frustration, and as seen after the game and in these comments, we saw a straightforward and completely different Kamada from his previous impressions.

Could not be promoted to Gamba’s youth team

Kamada entered Gamba Osaka’s junior youth team and aimed to become a professional player, but at the time he was still small and often injured, and was rated lower than players of the same age such as Yosuke Ideguchi (now with Celtic FC in Scotland), so he was not promoted to the youth team. Since last November, he has not been invited to play for Japan’s national team, but he has scored five goals this season in the EL, which the team won. His total of 11 goals, including those in the past, is the highest among Asian players of all time, and he has continued to produce results.

“I am not sure if this is in line with Kamada’s own feeling that he is not appreciated, but he seems to be a type of player who is generally difficult to understand and easily misunderstood, both on and off the pitch.”

Frankfurt fans seem to be ambivalent about Kamada’s play as well, and a search of the Transfermarkt.de community section for Kamada reveals both lamentation and love for the player.

<It’s frustrating to watch him move like that, but he makes one or two great passes during the game.>


In Germany, where physical play is favored, there is also a ranking of the number of one-on-one games won (called “Zweikampf” in German), and for the second year in a row, Japan’s steadfast volleyer, Wataru Endo (Stuttgart), topped the list. He was the top-ranked player for the second year in a row.

In comparison, Kamada’s superiority lies in his skill with his feet. His technique, which allows him to pass accurately with one touch even when opposing players are quick to close in on him, seems efficient and unmotivated, depending on one’s point of view. But even so, Kamada has become an indispensable player with four goals in the Bundesliga and five in the EL, plus contributions in areas that do not show up on the score sheet.

Kamata was named in the Japan national team announced on March 20. He was called up for the first time since last November, and will he be able to show the strength he has been accumulating (photo: AFLO).

Words from Atsuto Uchida, who played in Germany

“From the point of view of the interviewer, it is hard to say that he is a very easy subject to interview. They are not friendly, and although they speak with substance, they are difficult to listen to because they don’t use their voices. He asks counter-questions to questions that he does not understand. Of course, it is natural to ask questions that one doesn’t understand, but it is different from the many interview subjects who just smile and answer in an appropriate manner, and if you are used to an easygoing person, you may even think Kamata is difficult. However, I realized from Kamata’s comments on this day that I had been looking for a typical good boy, even during the interview.”

He occasionally showed his humor, but this was also a little confusing. When asked how the order of the penalty shootout was decided, Kamata said, “The coach said it would be either me or Hasebe-san, and I immediately said I would kick because Hasebe-san is not very good at penalty kicks,” he explained with a straight face while adding a little “Hasebe diss”.

“When I asked Hasebe about this, he replied, “The coach asked me if I would kick the ball, and I said, ‘Of course I will.’ I was thinking, ‘Don’t let it come around, it won’t come around’ (laughs).’ Hasebe’s story is easier to laugh at. But this must be Kamata, and it is okay to laugh at the part about Hasebe’s poor penalty kicking.”

After the championship was decided, there was the usual scene where the players came to the stands to share their joy and dance and sing. The same was true after wins over Barcelona and West Ham, but Kamata was even more reluctant to participate in the celebrations than Hasebe. However, he complains about the long duration of the event, saying, “That one, once it starts, it goes on forever.”

However, when he is quietly watching his teammates in the back of the group, feigning indifference, someone always pulls him into the circle. Then they are pushed to the front and wave their hands in the air with their teammates. Kamata says, “That kind of thing doesn’t really fit in with the Japanese,” but he must be happy about it.

Watching Kamata reminds me of something Atsuto Uchida used to say when he was playing for Schalke.

He said, “It is impossible that you don’t fit in with your teammates, that you don’t get passes, that you don’t have a place because you can’t speak the language. If you get results on the pitch, that’s all that matters.”

“Looking at Kamata, I see those very words. He gets results on the pitch, people around him try to understand him, and I think that’s how he has become a beloved figure at Frankfurt.”

“In the mixed zone after the final, when the English-speaking media spoke to him, he turned them down, saying loudly, ‘I can’t speak English.’ I thought, ‘No, he speaks English,’ but he is definitely a difficult guy to understand because of his innocence in this area. I thought as I listened to his comment at the beginning of this article that this might change if he is called up to the Japan national team again and has more chances to show results on a bigger stage.”

  • Interview and text Miko Ryokai

    Born in Saitama Prefecture in 1975. Started covering soccer in 2001, and became a writer in 2003 when she covered the World Youth Cup (now U-20 World Cup) in the UAE. Currently resides in Düsseldorf, Germany, where he has lived since March 11, 2011.

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