|Full name||Koji Nakata|
|Date of birth||July 9, 1979|
|Place of birth||Otsu, Shiga, Japan|
|Height||1.82 m (5 ft 11 1⁄2 in)|
|Playing position||Defender, Midfielder|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
He announced that he will get married with Nao Nagasawa on February 22, 2014.
The 'other Nakata', as he is known to most non-Japanese fans, is a left-footed midfielder. A very versatile player, Nakata has established himself as one of the best defensive midfielders for Japan. Although his preferred position is at defensive midfield, his versatility means he can also operate as left wing-back, his normal position with Basel.
In 2004, during the Asian Cup final versus China, Nakata gained notoriety amongst Chinese fans by scoring the second Japanese goal with his hand. Despite Chinese protests, the goal was still allowed. The Chinese media refer to this incident as the "Hand of Koji" incident, alluding to Diego Maradona's infamous hand of god goal.
Nakata moved from Japanese giants Kashima Antlers to France at the start of 2005 when former Japan national team manager Philippe Troussier, then the Olympique Marseille coach, signed him in a deal. After an understandably unhappy season in France (Troussier was sacked just a few months later), the frozen-out Nakata jumped at the chance to leave and by early 2006 had moved to Switzerland's top team Basel where he played as a defender. Kōji was highly rated by Japan coach Zico and is sometimes compared to Junichi Inamoto, also a defensive midfielder for Japan. He returned to J1 League club Kashima Antlers in July 2008.
In October 2008 Nakata underwent knee surgery, effectively ruling him out for the remainder of the 2008 J. League season after appearing in 12 games.
National Team statistics
Appearances in major competitions
|Japan||AFC Youth Championship 1998||U-19||2nd Place|
|Japan||1999 FIFA World Youth Championship||U-20||7||0||0||2nd Place|
|Japan||2000 Summer Olympics||U-23||3||0||0||Quarter-finals|
|Japan||2001 FIFA Confederations Cup||Senior||2nd Place|
|Japan||2002 FIFA World Cup||Senior||4||0||0||Round of 16|
|Japan||2003 FIFA Confederations Cup||Senior||1||1||0||Group Stage|
|Japan||2004 AFC Asian Cup||Senior||1||3||2||Champions|
|Japan||2005 FIFA Confederations Cup||Senior||0||2||0||Group Stage|
|Japan||2006 FIFA World Cup||Senior||0||1||0||Group Stage|
Goals for Senior National Team
|1.||3 August 2004||Jinan, China||Bahrain||4-3||Won||2004 AFC Asian Cup Semi-Final|
|2.||7 August 2004||Beijing, China||China PR||3-1||Won||2004 AFC Asian Cup Final|
|Japan national team|
- Kashima Antlers
- A3 Champions Cup: 2003
- J1 League: 1998, 2000, 2001, 2008, 2009
- Emperor's Cup: 2000, 2010
- J.League Cup: 2000, 2002, 2011, 2012
- Suruga Bank Championship: 2012, 2013
- Olympique Marseille
- FC Basel
- AFC Asian Cup: 2004
- FIFA Confederations Cup Runner-up: 2001
- FIFA World Youth Championship Runner-up: 1999
- Kōji Nakata at National-Football-Teams.com
- Japan National Football Team Database
- Player statistics at J.League Data Site (Japanese)
- Rising Sun News profile