At the 2015 World Grand Prix Japan finished sixth. They reached the Final Six, but finished bottom of the pool after losing all five matches. That came after a sixth-place finish at the Asian Volleyball Championship. Japan have played in every World Cup, largely thanks to qualifying as hosts in all editions apart from the inaugural competition in 1973. They won a medal at the first three World Cups. In 1973 they took the silver medal then won the 1977 competition in front of their own fans. After slipping back to second in 1981, they have failed to win a medal since. In 2011 they finished fourth. At the 2014 World Championship, Japan just missed out on third round qualification and were a disappointing joint-seventh in the final ranking.
Recently Japan have carried on their steady improvement since Masayoshi Manabe's appointment as coach in 2008, and if they can continue their fine recent form on home soil they have a chance to return to the World Cup podium. They won a bronze medal at the 2013 Grand Champions Cup and at the 2014 World Grand Prix in Tokyo they got the silver medal. Victory in the World Cup could be the beginning of a return to the success of the 1960s and 1970s, when they won a gold medal at three World Championships and two Olympic Games.