Liverpool confirmed the signing of Takumi Minamino from RB Salzburg on Thursday, with the player set to arrive on January 1st.
When he does, Minamino will become the 9th Japanese player to feature in the Premier League.
So how did the other eight do?
Junichi Inamoto – Arsenal, Fulham, West Bromwich Albion
Inamoto arrived on loan at Arsenal in 2001 with a bit of hype about him but he never quite made the grade at Highbury. Instead, he went on loan to Fulham and won the 2002 Intertoto Cup.
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A spell with West Brom followed but overall, Inamoto never really had the impact that was once hoped. 6/10
Kazuyuki Toda – Tottenham Hotspur
Toda played just four times for Spurs while on loan in 2003. Not a player you’d expect anyone outside of diehard Spurs fans to remember. 1/10
Hidetoshi Nakata – Bolton Wanderers
Nakata is undoubtedly the most famous Japanese footballer ever, having made his name playing for a host of Serie A teams between 1998 and 2005.
His final year as a professional was at Bolton, however. He played 21 times, scoring once, as Bolton finished 8th in the Premier League.
Nakata then retired surprisingly early at the age of 29. 5/10
Ryo Miyaichi – Arsenal, Bolton Wanderers, Wigan Athletic
Miyaichi, much like Inamoto, arrived at Arsenal with some hype. He only played once in the Premier League for the Gunners, though, before playing another 16 games on loan for Bolton and Wigan.
He was Bolton’s Player of the Month for February 2012 but that was far and away the highlight of his time in England. 3/10
Shinji Kagawa – Manchester United
Kagawa’s performances for Borussia Dortmund before his move to Old Trafford mean he’s had the biggest impact of any Japanese player in Europe.
His United career was a big flop, however. Although at the same time, he’s had more success than anyone else we’ve mentioned so far – he won the league in 2013, scoring six goals.
Kagawa only last two years before United sold him back to Dortmund for a loss. So, a flop – but a relatively good one. 6/10
Maya Yoshida – Southampton
Yoshida moved to Southampton in 2012, the same year as Kagawa arrived in England. But while the latter didn’t last long, Yoshida has gone on to play 150 Premier League games.
No Japanese player has played more in England’s top-flight. A solid career. 7/10
Shinji Okazaki – Leicester City
Without any doubt, Okazaki is the most successful Japanese player to play in the Premier League. Like Yoshida, he played over 100 Premier League games – but that only tells half the story.
Okazaki played a key role in Leicester’s miracle of 2015/16 – his first year with the club. He scored five goals – including a vital overhead kick against Newcastle United – and his teamwork and worth ethic worked wonders behind Jamie Vardy. 9/10
Yoshinori Muto – Newcastle United
Muto arrived in the summer of 2018 but didn’t live up to expectations, playing just 17 games and scoring once.
He’s still there but with just one start to his name this season, it’s difficult to see it working out. 2/10
Muto rounds off this list – and it’s a pretty unique one.
We’ve got two Premier League winners, some players who stuck around for a while – and some you’ll barely remember.
There’s certainly more failure than success and Liverpool will hope to buck that trend with Minamino.