Masayoshi Manabe engineered Japan’s women’s team’s breakthrough at last year’s World Grand Prix, guiding the team to a second-place finish in Group 1. Their previous highest finish was fourth, which they achieved in 2013, 1997 and 1994. Manabe also guided Japan to a bronze medal at the 2012 Olympic Games and bronze medals at the 2010 World Championships and 2013 Grand Champions Cup, both of which were played on home soil. Before taking over as coach of the national team, Manabe was in charge of Japanese women’s club Hisamitsu Springs and was a player-coach with his home country’s Nippon Steel Blazers. A setter in his playing days, Manabe represented Japan at the 1998 Olympic Games.