Japan, together with USA, have previously participated 11 times in the Olympic Games, and like the Soviet Union, they have won six medals in total. Japan have participated in almost all except in 1980 and 2000. They won the very first gold medal in the Olympics in 1964 and two cycles later they returned to the top podium of Montreal 1976. Between those two gold medal triumphs, Japan were still consistent podium finishers, winning silver medals in both editions. At the Seoul 1988 Olympic Games, Japan slipped to third place behind the Soviet Union and Peru. It took 28 years for Japan to revive their glory as they captured another bronze at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Japan qualified as the top ranked Asian team at the World Olympic Qualification Tournament on home soil.
At the 2015 World Grand Prix Japan finished sixth. They reached the Final Six, but finished bottom of the pool after losing all five matches. That came after a sixth-place finish at the Asian Volleyball Championship. Japan have played in every World Cup, largely thanks to qualifying as hosts in all editions apart from the inaugural competition in 1973. They won a medal at the first three World Cups. In 1973 they took the silver medal then won the 1977 competition in front of their own fans. After slipping back to second in 1981, they have failed to win a medal since. In 2011 they finished fourth and in 2015 they finished fifth. Japan have won a gold medal at three World Championships, and in 2014, they just missed out on third round qualification and were a disappointing joint-seventh in the final ranking. Recently Japan have carried on their steady improvement since Masayoshi Manabe's appointment as coach in 2008. They won a bronze medal at the 2013 Grand Champions Cup and silver medal at the 2014 World Grand Prix in Tokyo.