Sponichi posted an interview they conducted with Samurai Japan manager Hiroki Kokubo.
What is your goal this year? An international game has been scheduled in the fall.
I think it is natural for players to want to rest a little in November. But we need to make this appealing to them. It is important to keep the lines of communication open. We have to figure out how to keep players interested in the national team throughout the course of the season.
Rakuten won the Nippon Series last year.
It made me realize again just how powerful baseball is. Once [Senichi] Hoshino decided to use a player, he stuck with him. That is similar to how [Sadaharu] Oh worked.
Is your goal to become a manager like [Sadaharu] Oh?
Perhaps. But I think our perspectives on baseball may be different. I think what Katsuya Nomura said about organizations not being able to function without a center is true. I always think about that as I watch games.
What happens when the core players hit a slump?
The clean-up hitter will always be the clean-up hitter. But it can be difficult to push through with one's own beliefs when they are shouldering the expectations of an entire country. I honestly do not know what I would do until I am in that situation.
What are your thoughts on Rakuten's [Masahiro] Tanaka going to the United States?
You can not stop the flow of players wanting to go and I think the numbers will continue to increase. But I think that is fine.
Source: Sponichi 1/2/2014