Japanese Players In MLB

This is a list of all Japanese MLB players.  It includes players like Mac Suzuki who started his career in the US before playing in NPB and players like Junichi Tazawa who have not played in NPB (ok, there's only one player like Tazawa and that's Tazawa...).  It does not include players like Hiroyuki Nakajima who spent a year in the minor league organization for an MLB team but did not actually play in the majors.  It also does not include players who sent to play on minor league teams in the US by their NPB team unless that player also appeared in the majors either during the time they were still the property of their NPB team (Masanori Murakami) or later in their career (Masao Kida).  It also does not include players like Dave Roberts who were born in Japan but aren't Japanese never played in Japan (Dave Roberts has a Japanese mother).  I've used this list on Baseball-Reference to generate the list.

The "Career" category lists the MLB and NPB organizations that the player played, regardless if he appeared at with the top team.  For example Hideo Nomo's writeup mentions he was in the Yankees and White Sox organizations in 2005 and 2006 but that was in Columbus, OH and Charlotte, NC rather than New York and Chicago.  (And you can nitpick whether Murakami should be listed as being in the Nankai or San Francisco organizations in 1964 - Nankai certainly thought he was still in theirs.)

If a player had both a BBM and a Calbee card in their rookie season I picked the BBM one for the "Earliest NPB Card". 

Name MLB Debut Earliest NPB Card Career
Masanori Murakami 9/1/1964 1967 Kabaya-Leaf #302 Nankai Hawks 1962-63, San Francisco Giants 1964-65, Nankai Hawks 1966-74, Hanshin Tigers 1975, Nippon Ham FIghters 1976-82
Hideo Nomo 5/2/1995 1990 Takara Buffaloes #11 Kintetsu Buffaloes 1990-94, Los Angeles Dodgers 1995-98, New York Mets 1998, Milwaukee Brewers 1999, Detroit Tigers 2000, Boston Red Sox 2001, Los Angeles Dodgers 2002-04, Tampa Bay Devil Rays 2005, New York Yankees 2005, Chicago White Sox 2006, Kansas City Royals 2008
Mac Suzuki 7/7/1996 2003 BBM Rookie Edition #85 Seattle Mariners 1993-99, Kansas City Royals 1999-2001, Colorado Rockies 2001, Milwaukee Brewers 2001, Kansas City Royals 2002, Orix BlueWave/Buffaloes 2003-05, Chicago Cubs 2006
Shigetoshi Hasegawa 4/5/1997 1991 BBM #348 Orix BlueWave 1991-98, Anaheim Angels 1999-01, Seattle Mariners 2002-05
Takashi Kashiwada 5/1/1997 1995 BBM #41 Yomiuri Giants 1990-96, New York Mets 1997, Yomiuri Giants 1999-2005
Hideki Irabu 7/10/1997 1988 Takara Orions #18 Lotte Orions/Chiba Lotte Marines 1988-96, New York Yankees 1997-99, Montreal Expos 2000-01, Texas Rangers 2002, Hanshin Tigers 2003-04
Masato Yoshii 4/5/1998 1988 Calbee #140 Kintetsu Buffaloes 1984-94, Yakult Swallows 1995-97, New York Mets 1998-99, Colorado Rockies 2000, Montreal Expos 2001-02, Orix BlueWave/Buffaloes 2003-07, Chiba Lotte Marines 2007
Masao Kida 4/5/1999 1990 Calbee #109 Yomiuri Giants 1987-97, Orix BlueWave 1998, Detroit Tigers 1999-2000, Orix BlueWave 2000-01, Los Angeles Dodgers 2003-04, Seatlle Mariners 2004-05, Tokyo Yakult Swallows 2006-09, Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters 2010-12
Tomo Ohka 7/19/1999 1994 BBM #493 Yokohama Baystars 1994-98, Boston Red Sox 1999-2001, Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals 2001-05, Milwaukee Brewers 2005-06, Toronto Blue Jays 2007, St Louis Cardinals 2007, Seattle Mariners 2007, Chicago White Sox 2008, Cleveland Indians 2009, Yokohama Baystars 2010-11
Kazuhiro Sasaki 4/5/2000 1991 BBM #196 Yokohama Taiyo Whales/Baystars 1990-99, Seattle Mariners 2000-03, Yokohama Baystars 2004-05
Ichiro Suzuki 4/2/2001 1993 BBM #239 Orix BlueWave 1992-2000, Seatle Mariners 2001-12, New York Yankees 2012-14, Miami Marlins 2015-17, Seattle Mariners 2018-19
Tsuyoshi Shinjyo 4/3/2001 1992 Calbee #162 Hanshin Tigers 1990-2000, New York Mets 2001, San Francisco Giants 2002, New York Mets 2003, Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters 2004-06
Takahito Nomura 4/3/2002 1991 BBM #324 Orix BlueWave 1991-97, Yomiuri Giants 1998-2001, Milwaukee Brewers 2002, Nippon-Ham Fighters 2003
Satoru Komiyama 4/4/2002 1991 BBM #276 Lotte Orions/Chiba Lotte Marines 1990-99, Yokohama Baystars 2000-01, New York Mets 2002, Chiba Lotte Marines 2004-09
Kazuhisa Ishii 4/6/2002 1992 BBM #464 Yakult Swallows 1992-2001, Los Angeles Dodgers 2002-04, New York Mets 2005, Tokyo Yakult Swallows 2006-07, Saitama Seibu Lions 2008-13
So Taguchi 6/10/2002 1992 BBM #448 Orix BlueWave 1992-2001, St Louis Cardinals 2002-07, Philadelphia Philliies 2008, Chicago Cubs 2009, Orix Buffaloes 2010-11
Hideki Matsui 3/31/2003 1993 BBM #423 Yomiuri Giants 1993-2002, New York Yankees 2003-2009, Los Angeles Angels 2010, Oakland Athletics 2011, Tampa Bay Rays 2012
Micheal Nakamura 6/7/2003 2005 BBM 1st Version #118 Minnesota Twins 1998-2003, Toronto Blue Jays 2004, Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters 2005-08, Yomiuri Giants 2009-11, Saitama Seibu Lions 2012
Kazuo Matsui 4/6/2004 1994 BBM #506 Seibu Lions 1994-2003, New York Mets 2004-06, Colorado Rockies 2006-07, Houston Astros 2008-10, Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles 2011-17, Saitama Seibu Lions 2018
Akinori Otsuka 4/6/2004 1997 BBM #462 Kintetsu Buffaloes/Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes 1997-2002, Chunichi Dragons 2003, San Diego Padres 2004-05, Texas Rangers 2006-07
Shingo Takatsu 4/9/2004 1991 BBM #387 Yakult Swallows 1991-2003, Chicago White Sox 2004-05, New York Mets 2005, Tokyo Yakult Swallows 2006-07
Kazuhito Tadano 4/27/2004 2008 BBM Rookie Edition #42 Cleveland Indians 2004-05, Oakland Athletics 2006-07, Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters 2008-14
Tadahito Iguchi 4/4/2005 1997 BBM #477 Fukuoka Daiei Hawks 1997-2004, Chicago White Sox 2005-07, Philadelphia Phillies 2007, San Diego Padres 2008, Philadelphia Phillies 2008, Chiba Lotte Marines 2009-17
Keiichi Yabu 4/9/2005 1994 BBM #486 Hanshin Tigers 1994-04, Oakland Athletics 2005, San Francisco Giants 2008-09, Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles 2010
Norihiro Nakamura 4/10/2005 1995 BBM #376 Kintetsu Buffaloes/Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes 1992-2004, Los Angeles Dodgers 2005, Orix Buffaloes 2006, Chunichi Dragons 2007-08, Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles 2009-10, Yokohama Baystars/Yokohama DeNA Baystars 2011-14
Kenji Johjima 4/3/2006 1995 BBM #558 Fukuoka Daiei/Softbank Hawks 1995-2005, Seattle Mariners 2006-09, Hanshin Tigers 2010-12
Takashi Saito 4/9/2006 1992 BBM #471 Yokohama Taiyo Whales/Yokohama Baystars 1992-2005, Los Angeles Dodgers 2006-08, Boston Red Sox 2009, Atlanta Braves 2010, Milwaukee Brewers 2011, Arizona Diamondbacks 2012, Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles 2013-15
Akinori Iwamura 4/2/2007 1997 BBM #502 Yakult Swallows/Tokyo Yakult Swallows 1997-2006, Tampa Bay Devil Rays/Tampa Bay Rays 2007-09, Pittsburgh Pirates 2010, Oakland Athletics 2010, Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagle 2011-12, Tokyo Yakult Swallows 2013-14
Hideki Okajima 4/2/2007 1994 BBM #483 Yomiuri Giants 1994-05, Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters 2006, Boston Red Sox 2007-11, Fukuoka Softbank Hawks 2012, Oakland Athletics 2013, Fukuoka Softbank Hawks 2014, Yokohama DeNA Baystars 2015
Daisuke Matsuzaka 4/5/2007 1999 BBM #413 Seibu Lions 1999-2006, Boston Red Sox 2007-12, Cleveland Indians 2013, New York Mets 2013-14, Fukuoka Softbank Hawks 2015-17, Chunichi Dragons 2018-19, Saitama Seibu Lions 2020-
Kei Igawa 4/7/2007 1998 BBM #368 Hanshin Tigers 1998-2006, New York Yankees 2007-11, Orix Buffaloes 2012-15
Masumi Kuwata 6/10/2007 1987 Calbee #52 Yomiuri Giants 1986-2006, Pittsburgh Pirates 2007
Kosuke Fukudome 3/31/2008 1999 BBM #310 Chunichi Dragons 1999-2007, Chicago Cubs 2008-11, Cleveland Indians 2011, Chicago White Sox 2012, New York Yankees 2012, Hanshin Tigers 2013-20, Chunichi Dragons 2021-
Kazuo Fukumori 3/31/2008 1995 BBM #574 Yokohama Baystars 1995-2003, Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes 2004, Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles 2005-07, Texas Rangers 2008, Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles 2009-10
Masahide Kobayashi 4/2/2008 1999 BBM #512 Chiba Lotte Marines 1999-2007, Cleveland Indians 2008-09, Yomiuri Giants 2010, Orix Buffaloes 2011
Hiroki Kuroda 4/4/2008 1997 BBM #497 Hiroshima Toyo Carp 1997-2007, Los Angeles Dodgers 2008-11, New York Yankees 2012-14, Hiroshima Toyo Carp 2015-16
Yasuhiko Yabuta 4/5/2008 1996 BBM #501 Chiba Lotte Marines 1996-2007, Kansas City Royals 2008-09, Chiba Lotte Marines 2010-13
Koji Uehara 4/8/2009 1999 BBM #329 Yomiuri Giants 1999-2008, Baltimore Orioles 2009-11, Texas Rangers 2011-12, Boston Red Sox 2013-16, Chicago Cubs 2017, Yomiuri Giants 2018-19
Kenshin Kawakami 4/11/2009 1998 BBM #385 Chunichi Dragons 1998-2008, Atlanta Braves 2009-10, Chunichi Dragons 2012-15
Ken Takahashi 5/2/2009 1995 BBM #543 Hiroshima Toyo Carp 1995-2008, New York Mets 2009, Hiroshima Toyo Carp 2010
Junichi Tazawa 8/7/2009 N/A Boston Red Sox 2009-2016, Miami Marlins 2017-18, Los Angeles Angels 2018
Hisanori Takahashi 4/7/2010 2000 BBM #426 Yomiuri Giants 2000-09, New York Mets 2010, Los Angeles Angels 2011-12, Pittsburgh Pirates 2012, Chicago Cubs 2013, Yokohama DeNA Baystars 2014-15
Ryota Igarashi 4/8/2010 1998 BBM #289 Yakult Swallows/Tokyo Yakult Swallows 1998-2009, New York Mets 2010-11, Toronto Blue Jays 2012, New York Yankees 2012, Fukuoka Softbank Hawks 2013-2018, Tokyo Yakult Swallows 2019-20
Tsuyoshi Nishioka 4/1/2011 2003 BBM Rookie Edition #70 Chiba Lotte Marines 2003-10, Minnesota Twins 2011-12, Hanshin Tigers 2013-18
Yoshinori Tateyama 5/24/2011 1999 BBM #432 Nippon-Ham Fighters/Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters 1999-2010, Texas Rangers 2011-13, New York Yankees 2013-14, Hanshin Tigers 2014
Norichika Aoki 4/6/2012 2004 BBM Rookie Edition #61 Yakult Swallows/Tokyo Yakult Swallows 2004-11, Milwaukee Brewers 2012-13, Kansas City Royals 2014, San Francisco Giants 2015, Seattle Mariners 2016, Houston Astros 2017, Toronto Blue Jays 2017, New York Mets 2017, Tokyo Yakult Swallows 2018-
Munenori Kawasaki 4/7/2012 2000 BBM #291 Fukuoka Daiei/Softbank Hawks 2000-11, Seattle Mariners 2012, Toronto Blue Jays 2013-15, Chicago Cubs 2016, Fukuoka Softbank Hawks 2017
Yu Darvish 4/9/2012 2005 BBM Rookie Edition #12 Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters 2005-11, Texas Rangers 2012-17, Los Angeles Dodgers 2017, Chicago Cubs 2018-20, San Diego Padres 2021-
Hisashi Iwakuma 4/20/2012 2000 BBM #388 Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes 2000-04, Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles 2005-11, Seattle Mariners 2012-17, Yomiuri Giants 2019-20
Kyuji Fujikawa 4/1/2013 1999 BBM #392 Hanshin Tigers 1999-2012, Chicago Cubs 2013-14, Texas Rangers 2015, Hanshin Tigers 2016-20
Kensuke Tanaka 7/9/2013 2000 BBM #367 Nippon-Ham Fighters/Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters 2000-12, San Francisco Giants 2013, Texas Rangers 2014, Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters 2015-19
Masahiro Tanaka 4/4/2014 2007 BBM Rookie Edition #40 Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles 2007-13, New York Yankees 2014-20, Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles 2021-
Tsuyoshi Wada 7/8/2014 2003 BBM Rookie Edition #63 Fukuoka Daiei/Softbank Hawks 2003-2011, Baltimore Orioles 2012-13, Chicago Cubs 2014-15, Fukuoka Softbank Hawks 2016-
Toru Murata 6/28/2015 2008 BBM Rookie Edition #4 Yomiuri Giants 2008-10, Cleveland Indians 2011-16, Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters 2017-
Kenta Maeda 4/6/2016 2007 BBM Rookie Edition #76 Hiroshima Toyo Carp 2007-15, Los Angeles Dodgers 2016-19, Minnesota Twins 2020-
Yoshihisa Hirano 3/29/2018 2006 BBM Rookie Edition #27 Orix Buffaloes 2006-17, Arizona Diamondbacks 2018-19, Seattle Mariners 2020, Orix Buffaloes 2021-
Shohei Ohtani 3/29/2018 2013 BBM Rookie Edition #42 Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters 2013-17, Los Angeles Angels 2018-
Kazuhisa Makita 3/30/2018 2011 BBM Rookie Edition #13 Saitama Seibu Lions 2011-17, San Diego Padres 2018-19, Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles 2020-
Yusei Kikuchi 3/21/2019 2010 BBM Rookie Edition #67 Saitama Seibu Lions 2010-18, Seattle Mariners 2019-
Shogo Akiyama 7/24/2020 2011 BBM Rookie Edition #14 Saitama Seibu Lions 2011-19, Cincinnati Reds 2020-
Yoshitomo Tsutsugoh 7/24/2020 2010 BBM Rookie Edition #42 Yokohama Baystars/DeNA Baystars 2010-2019, Tampa Bay Rays 2020-21, Los Angeles Dodgers 2021-
Shun Yamaguchi 7/26/2020 2006 BBM Rookie Edition #68 Yokohama Baystars/DeNA Baystars 2006-16, Yomiuri Giants 2017-19, Toronto Blue Jays 2020, San Francisco Giants 2021-
Hirokazu Sawamura 4/2/2021 2011 BBM Rookie Edition #059 Yomiuri Giants 2011-20, Chiba Lotte Marines 2020, Boston Red Sox 2021-
Kohei Arihara 4/3/2021 2015 BBM Rookie Edition #023 Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters 2015-20, Texas Rangers 2021-

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