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 is a former Japanese football (soccer) player and a current football coach. He is currently a manager at Tokyo Verdy. He was a physical forward and the Japanese media and fans dubbed him as the Cannon of Asia.

Playing career


He was educated at and played for Kunimi High School and Osaka University of Commerce. After finishing the university in 1990, he joined Japan Soccer League side Fujita S.C. (current Shonan Bellmare). He moved to Mazda S.C. (current Sanfrecce Hiroshima) in 1991 and was awarded the JSL Young Player of the Year in 1992. His partnarship with Czech Ivan Hašek up front was so successful that Hiroshima won the second stage of J. League in 1994.

Due to financial difficulties, Hiroshima was forced to release their key players including Takagi in 1998. He moved to Verdy Kawasaki. He was then transferred to J. League Division 2 side Consadole Sapporo in 2000 and retired there at the end of the season.


He was capped 44 times and scored 27 goals for the Japanese national team. He made his international debut in a friendly against Argentine on May 31, 1992 at the Tokyo National Olympic Stadiummarker, the first match under Hans Ooft's reign. He scored his first international goal in a Dynasty Cup match against China national football team on August 24, 1992 in Beijing. He became the ace striker for Ooft's Japan national team.

He was a member of the Japan team that won the 1992 AFC Asian Cup. He scored the lone goal in the final against Saudi Arabia and even though he is said to be awarded the Most Valuable Player of the competition, this is not true. The honor went to his team mate Kazuyoshi Miura. Takagi wasn't even elected into the Tournament Best Eleven.

He was also a member of the Japan squad who participated in the AFC final qualifying stage for the 1994 FIFA World Cup. He was suspended for the crucial last match that the Japanese fans now refer to as the Agony of Doha, and watched from the bench a late Iraqi equaliser dashed Japan's hope to qualify for the finals in the U.S.A.

He also took part in the 1996 AFC Asian Cup hosted by UAEmarker. He played 3 games and scored 1 goal against Syria in the competition.

Managerial career


After finishing his playing career, he worked as a soccer commentator on television. He also acquired the S-Class Coaching License that was a prerequisite to manage a J. league club in 2004.

At the beginning of 2006, he was appointed an assistant coach at Yokohama FC. He was unexpectedly promoted to the manager of the club to replace Yusuke Adachi who was sacked only after the team lost to Ehime F.C. in the opening match of the season. Takagi's lack of coaching experience and untimely dismissal of Adachi worried the fans who decided in protest to watch the second match of the season (the first match under Takagi) in silence.

However, Takagi quickly convinced the supporters as he guided the club unbeaten for the first fifteen matches under his reign. This was the record unbeaten run since appointment of a new manager in J. League. The club made another J. League record when they did not concede any goal for 770 consecutive minutes by breaking Shimizu S-Pulse's 731 minutes recorded in 1993. They kept 7 consecutive clean sheets which was also a tied J. League Division 2 record.

Yokohama FC, who had been languishing in the bottom half of the standing previous 5 seasons since their accession to J2, won the title and gained the first-ever promotion to J. League Division 1.


The club made a drastic change in their squad before the beginning of the 2007 season in preparation for the fight in the top-flight. Eleven players left while another eleven joined the club. Those who left included the striking partners Shoji Jo and Alemão who scored 30 goals together out of club's 61 goals in the previous season. Long-serving Tomotaka Kitamura and Tsuyoshi Yoshitake also left. Takagi enhanced his squad by recruiting former Japanese internationals Tatsuhiko Kubo and Daisuke Oku (both from Yokohama F. Marinos), and Silva (from Tokyo Verdy).

They beat Marinos in a Yokohama derby in the second match of the season, but otherwise the things didn't go well for Takagi. New team leaders Oku and Kubo were sidelined due to injuries and the club was anchored at the bottom of the standing. The club signed high-profile former Japanese international midfielder Atsuhiro Miura in August. Apparently there was a conflict between the management and Takagi as he expressed disgruntlement on Miura's signing quoting that what the club needed at that point was a good defender or forward. He was sacked on August 27, 2007 and replaced by Brazilian Julio Cesar leal Junior.


He became a coach at Tokyo Verdy under manager and his former international team mate Tetsuji Hashiratani.


He was promoted to the manager of the Verdy in 2009.


National team

  • (Champions)

Honors and awards

Team Honors

  • (Champions)


  2. Yokohama FC fires Adachi | The Japan Times Online
  3. Yokohama FC | The Japan Times Online
  4. Hayakawa's early goal gives Yokohama FC derby victory | The Japan Times Online
  5. Japan Today - News - Yokohama FC sacks manager Takagi

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