TMW: Kamada a symbol of Japan’s ‘DNA Project’ – the story of his rise

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan are closing in on the signing of Daichi Kamada on a free transfer, with the Rossoneri set to welcome their first Japanese player since Keisuke Honda.

TMW have provided some background on Kamada which starts with Dettmar Cramer, a scholar of football who laid the first foundations for the development of Japanese football.

Cramer – who would later become manager of Bayern Munich and win the European Cup twice – began his work in Japan four years before the 1960 Olympics in Tokyo, continuously promoting the idea of Japanese players moving to Europe.

There are several Japanese players in the Bundesliga today and it is undeniable that everything started from that time and from the bond created in those years, despite the fact that football in Japan has experienced several ups and downs, in terms of popularity and performances.

Together with the South Korean movement, it is the only credible and competitive footballing country in Asia which means it is no coincidence that the two countries participated in the World Cup virtually every time.

Since 2016, Japan have chosen to design a system for the production of ever better footballers. The Japanese federation has created the ‘DNA Project’, an initiative which aims to adapt and modify existing training methods to produce more complete footballers, with ever greater knowledge.

They sent European coaches such as ex-Milan boss Alberto Zaccheroni to work with the players, who showed that they want to improve, they are dedicated to perfecting their technique and they greatly appreciate the teachings.

In terms of play style, there has been a noticeable change. As usual, the big driving force for kids who want to identify with a defined model is having local players who do well abroad, such as Daichi Kamada at Eintracht Frankfurt.

Kamada landed in Germany at just over 20 years old, at Eintracht. Massimo Ficcadenti – a coach in love with Japan as a country and who chose to continue his coaching career there after spells at Piacenza, Cesena and Cagliari – took care of his training in Japan.

In Germany things didn’t go well right away as the intensity of that football was too high and under Nico Kovac he couldn’t find playing time. He went on loan to Saint Truiden, where other Japanese players have since been, and there he began to grow.

Adi Hutter arrived at Eintracht and played Kamada as one of two No.10s behind the centre-forward, usually Andre Silva. Kamada found a home for himself in the 3-4-2-1 system, then Oliver Glasner came and made him the playmaker.

Kamada has scored 40 goals in 178 appearances for Frankfurt, and his last step with the the German club will be the DFB-Pokal final on 3 June against RB Leipzig.

At 26 years old and fancying a new challenge, he will assert himself as the idol of all those young players back home who want to follow a path like his.

Tags AC Milan Daichi Kamada


  1. DNA project has taken on a loaded meaning for me these days.

    I read this and assume he is involved in bioweapons labs in Ukraine.

  2. He will be our work horse like Japanese cars. Delivering consistency week in week out. Milan needs him to the job done against lower rung teams.

Comments are closed

Serie A Standings

Live football scores . Current table, fixtures & results.