By any objective measure, Shunsuke Nakamura was an outstanding success at Celtic. It is a measure of just how high the expectations were under Gordon Strachan that our first Japanese Bhoy did not carry the Celtic complete support.
Scotland was Naka’s second European country and went everywhere with an interpreter, it was thought a second player from Japan would help him settle. Koki Mizuno arrived to great fanfare in January 2008, we knew nothing of him, but he was a Japanese international, and we knew how good they were.
Koki scored an incredible goal at Falkirk that was straight out of the Paddy McCourt playbook, but that was the exception, he left two years later without troubling the Japanese international side again.
The reception Kyogo Furuhashi received in Glasgow is similar to that Naka earned in 2005. The anticipation of the expected arrival of Daizen Maeda, currently a striker for Ange Postecoglou’s former club, Yokohama F. Marinos, is very reminiscent of how we felt about Koki Mizuno 13 years ago.
Naka was a very special talent (and apparently still is). He transformed Celtic from the moment he walked in the door, two days after the 5-0 defeat to Artmedia Bratislava. Kyogo is also a very special talent, equally transformational in what he has done in a few months in Scotland.
By implication, we cannot expect to go back to Japan and recruit a similar talent – there would be nothing special about that talent if we did. Any reasonable expectation would permit Daizen Maeda as much settling in time as we afford Giorgos Giakoumakis.