Ex-Japan Striker Shinji Okazaki to Retire after This Season

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Shinji Okazaki

PARIS — Former Japan international Shinji Okazaki, currently playing in the Belgian first division, will retire at the end of this season, it was learned Monday.

The 37-year-old Okazaki, who joined the J.League’s Shimizu S-Pulse out of Hyogo Prefecture’s Takigawa Daini High School, made a name for himself as a rough-and-tumble goal-scorer.

He played for Stuttgart and Mainz of the German Bundesliga before moving to the English Premier League, where he helped lead Leicester City to its first-ever league title in the 2015-16 season.

After a stop in Spain, he joined his current club Sint-Truiden in 2022.

His 50 goals for Japan ranks third on the all time list, and his 119 appearances for the Samurai Blue is the fifth most. He appeared in three World Cups from 2010 in South Africa, where his goal against Denmark in the final group match helped lift Japan into the knockout round.