Japan Football Hall of Fame
JFA Hall of Fame Inductee
- Born in Hiroshima on 11 January 1936
Plays football for Hiroshima Municipal Motomachi Senior High School, Yawata Iron & Steel (1954-58, 1962-71; known as Nippon Steel from 1970), and Rikkyo University. Achieves victories in the Kanto University League and East-West Students' Championship Game with Rikkyo University in 1959.
Wins first cap for the full Japan national team in 1957. Continues to play mainly as a forward for the national team until 1970. Appears at the Games of the 18th Olympiad in 1964 (Tokyo) and the Games of the 19th Olympiad in 1968 (Mexico City), scoring two goals in Mexico including the equaliser against Brazil, and providing Japan with the initiative from midfield in the bronze medal match (against Mexico). Also appears in the qualifying tournaments for the Rome Olympics and for the FIFA World Cups in Chile and Mexico, and in the Asian Games (achieving third place in the 5th edition in 1966). Appears in a total of 39 "A" matches, scoring 12 goals.
After rejoining the Yawata Iron & Steel company in 1962, achieves two successive titles in the All-Japan Company Football Tournament in 1963 and 1964, as well as an Emperor's Cup All-Japan Soccer Championship Tournament title in 1964. Plays in a total of 79 games in the JSL, scoring 19 goals (1965-71). Captains the team in 1965 and 1967. Named in the league's annual best XI in 1968.
Appointed as coach of the Yawata Iron & Steel team in 1968, and as manager from 1969 to 1975 (continuing as player-manager until 1971). From 1971, takes manager positions with the Japanese national "B" team, the junior youth national team (finishing as runners-up in the 15th Asian Youth Championships in 1973), the junior national team, and the Japan select XI. Coaches the full Japan national team under the management of Yukio Shimomura in 1979, and is appointed as manager of the national team in May of the following year, with the aim of rebuilding the side. However, Watanabe falls ill in autumn 1980, and has to resign as manager before he can complete his task.
Passes away in 1995.