The instant success of Borussia Dortmund's 21 year old midfielder Shinji Kagawa has created a big interest amongst German Bundesliga clubs for Japanese talent. Besides Kagawa Dortmund's archrivals FC Schalke 04 had signed right back Atsuto Uchida in the summer. Uchida intially had problems but since then has become a key member of his team. And then there is Japan captain Makoto Hasebe (26) who joined VfL Wolfsburg in January 2008 and was a key player for Wolfsburg when they won the Bundesliga title in 2008/09.
Another Japanese player in striker Kisho Jano was signed by SC Freiburg from Albirex Niigata over the summer, while left back Takahito Soma had been signed by 2.Bundesliga club Energie Cottbus. Now new talent from the country of the Rising Sun are joining or are set to join different Bundesliga clubs.
Just before christmas Bayer 04 Leverkusen announced the signing of midfielder Hajime Hosogai. The 24 year old has signed a contract until summer 2013, but he has been loaned out by Bayer 04 to second Bundesliga league leaders FC Augsburg until summer 2012 to gain necessary experience in German football. Hosogai comes to Germany as the captain of Urawa Red Diamonds.
Yesterday struggling FC Cologne signed defensive allrounder Tomoaki Makino from J-league club Sanfrecce Hiroshima. The 23 year old has been given a contract until summer 2013, but he would have to undergo a medical once in Germany. Cologne's new Director of Sports Volker Finke, a former Urawa Red Diamonds coach, said about the signing, "I am delighted that Tomoaki Makino has signed for FC Cologne. I have been tracking the player while in Japan and am convinced about his qualities."
Another struggling side in VfB Stuttgart are also looking at Japanese talent in Shinji Okazaki to strengthen their attack. The 24 year old international forward is being tracked by Stuttgart and a signing looks imminent.
But all new signings along with Hasebe, Kagawa and Uchida will miss a number of league matches in January as Japan play in the 2011 AFC Asian Cup, but this hasn't deterred the clubs from signing these players. And with further good performances in the Asian Cup even more Japanese players might be coming to Germany.