Lausanne, Switzerland, April 5, 2018 – Masahiro Yanagida enjoys superstar status in Japan. He may only be 1.86m tall, but the explosiveness of his jumps, his timing and ability make him a truly exceptional player. Among the top scorers in the German league with his club Volleyball Bisons Bühl, he is constantly in the limelight on a wide range of Japanese television stations, who regularly fly from the Far East to interview “Hunter Masa”.
He is also a key player for the Japanese national team. After helping them to sixth place at the 2015 FIVB Volleyball World Cup, he has gone on to become one of their top scorers. Read about his expectations and goals ahead of the upcoming FIVB Volleyball Nations League.
How important is the new Volleyball Nations League to you and your team this year?
Masahiro Yanagida: I think it’s an important competition for Japanese teams to challenge the world’s top teams.
What are your goals for the Volleyball Nations League? Which teams will be your toughest opponents?
Masahiro Yanagida: Winning every match is important to us. Each match against every team is important, not any one team in particular.
How important is the Volleyball Nations League as preparation for the 2018 FIVB Volleyball World Championships?
Masahiro Yanagida: For the players, it is good to be able to assess our progress.
What are your goals for the World Championships?
Masahiro Yanagida: We have to win every match.
What could make volleyball even more interesting for players and fans in the future?
Masahiro Yanagida: It is necessary to convey that volleyball is a wonderful sport.
What do you think about the technical innovations in volleyball?
Masahiro Yanagida: If you watch volleyball, you’ll definitely enjoy it.
What dreams and goals do you still have as a volleyball player?
Masahiro Yanagida: I hope that volleyball will grow in my country. I want to play as long as I can. And my most important goal is the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
How big is volleyball in Japan, compared to other sports? How has it developed over the years?
Masahiro Yanagida: It receives a lot of attention, but that attention is not stable.
How important are the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo for you and the country?
Masahiro Yanagida: This is very important, because the Olympic Games are being held in Japan
How difficult do you find being away from Japan for such a long time each year when you play for your club team in Germany?
Masahiro Yanagida: I don’t think it’s so difficult.
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