Shinji Kagawa is the most instantly recognisable of the current crop of Japan players and brings big game experience to a squad otherwise lacking.
There are a few Japanese players plying their trade in Europe, such as captain Makoto Hasebe of Eintracht Frankfurt and Premier League duo Maya Yoshida and Shinji Okazaki, but only Kagawa has truly reached the top level of European football.
The 28-year-old playmaker is a two-time Bundesliga champion with Borussia Dortmund and is regarded as a club legend by the BVB faithful.
Kagawa is enjoying his second stint at the Westfalenstadion after a two-year stint with Manchester United, where he won the Premier League but had to settle largely for more of a fringe role in the squad.
Kagawa failed to sparkle at the World Cup in Brazil as Japan were eliminated with just one point in the group stages but he did impress in qualifying for Russia with six goals in 14 outings.
In total the BVB star has 29 strikes in 89 games for Japan and if the Southeast Asian outfit are to progress his creativity going forward will be vital.
Japan are the 8.00 underdogs to win Group H as they seek to qualify from the group stages for just the third time in their history.
Kagawa and co take on Colombia in their opener and are 4.33 to secure a win, with Poland and Senegal also to come in a highly competitive looking group.