Hideki Kuriyama, WBC Japan Team Manager, to Step Down

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Samurai Japan Manager Hideki Kuriyama

Hideki Kuriyama, manager of the Japan national baseball team, will step down from his post when his contract ends at the end of May, it was learned Tuesday.

Kuriyama, 62, led the national team, nicknamed Samurai Japan, to victory at the World Baseball Classic in March. He became team manager in December 2021, following a stint as manager for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters baseball team. For the WBC, Kuriyama was instrumental in bringing the Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani to the national team. Kuriyama and the two-way star have a shared history from their Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters days.

After Samurai Japan won their third WBC title — their first in three tournaments — Kuriyama implied he would step down. “Personally, I believe this was my last uniform, as I’ve finished as manager today and will become someone with no position from tomorrow,” he said.

The second Asia Professional Baseball Championship is scheduled to be held in November, and Kuriyama’s successor is expected to be decided by the end of August.