Japan youth international Taichi Fukui joined Bayern Munich in Janaury 2023. - © IMAGO/Lackovic
Japan youth international Taichi Fukui joined Bayern Munich in Janaury 2023. - © IMAGO/Lackovic

Taichi Fukui: Who is Bayern Munich’s young Japanese playmaker?


The name of Taichi Fukui raised a few eyebrows when Bayern Munich head coach Thomas Tuchel included the youngster in his squad for the Bundesliga Matchday 4 fixture against Bayer Leverkusen. But what is there to know about the young Japanese playmaker?

bundesliga.com takes a closer look…

Taichi Fukui
Age: 19 (born 15 July 2004)
Club: Bayern Munich
Position: Attacking midfielder
Country: Japan (12 U20 appearances)

Key stats

Born in the prefecture of Kanagawa in Japan, Fukui learned his trade at top-flight club Sagan Tosu, rising up through the youth ranks all the way to the fringes of the first team. The attacking midfielder began to make serious waves with the side’s U18s, registering 12 assists and seven goals in 17 games.

That soon earned him up a call-up to the first team in early 2021, and he went on to make 12 senior competitive appearances, providing three assists.

Fukui has represented Japan 12 times at U20 level. - IMAGO/AFLOSPORT

Bayern began to circle and in August 2022 they invited the gifted right-footer for a trial in Munich, where he did enough in training with the reserves to convince the club of his qualities, ultimately joining the Reds from 1 January 2023 on a contract valid until June 2025.

The 5’8”playmaker was initially earmarked for Bayern’s reserve team, and chalked up four assists in 12 outings in the second half of 2022/23 in the Regionalliga, Germany’s fourth division. He has been a regular starter in 2023/24 too, and has clearly caught Tuchel’s eye, an inclusion in the Bundesliga Matchday 4 squad against Leverkusen surely just the first of many…

Plays a bit like: Mario Götze

Comfortable playing behind a striker or deeper in midfield, Fukui’s agility, ease on the ball, coolness under pressure and ability with both feet are reminiscent of a young Mario Götze, even if the player himself says that his role models are “Joshua Kimmich and Kevin De Bruyne”. If he ends up behind a hybrid of both it would be no bad thing…

Fukui (l.) celebrates with Harry Kane (2nd l.) after Bayern scored on Matchday 4 against Bayer Leverkusen. - IMAGO/MIS

Did you know?

Fukui became the youngest debutant in history at former club Sagan Tosu when he made his first-team bow on 3 July 2021 in a 1-1 draw against Sanfrecce Hiroshima at the age of 17 years, 354 days.

What they’re saying

“Taichi is an interesting player, a technically gifted attacking midfielder who’s agile and a good dribbler. Given the strength of his character we believe he has plenty of potential for development.” – Holger Seitz, Bayern youth academy director

“Taichi trained with our reserve team for several weeks over the summer and consistently made a good impression. We’re delighted that he’s joining us.” – Jochen Sauer, Bayern Campus director

“It’s a huge honour for me to join Bayern. I’ll give everything for the club.” – Taichi Fukui