Seiji Oko was often referred to as a powerful hitter and “Big Horse”, and his style of play certainly reflected those titles. Along with his teammate Jungo Morita he created the “Golden Age” of NKK volleyball. He will forever be remembered for is immense skill and poise on and off the volleyball court.
Oko was born in Kanagawa Prefecture in 1948 and started playing volleyball while he was in Junior High. In 1967 he joined the Japanese National Team at the age of nineteen. He quickly became the powerful attacker of the team. In 1968 his team won the silver medal at the Olympics in Mexico. From there the Japanese National Team went on to take second place at the World Cup in 1969 and third place at the World Championships in 1970.
The pinnacle of Oko’s international career came in 1972 when his Japanese National team won the gold medal at the Olympics in Munich. Not only was he the ace spiker on the team, he was also a valuable leader.
On a domestic scale, Oko captured many honors at home in the Japan League. He earned tons of respect by winning the MVP award twice, Distinguished Fighting-Spirit twice, The Best Spiker three times, The Best Blocker three times and he also made the Best 6 (Players) List an amazing seven times.
Oko played in his last Olympics in 1976 in Montreal where his team took fourth place. However, Oko made it to two more Olympics, 1984 and 1992, as a head coach. In 2001 Oko was appointed as Vice-Chairman of the National Men’s Team’s Board and in 2003 he was elected as a board member of the Japan Volleyball Association.
Both on and off the court Oko has dedicated his life to the expansion of volleyball not only in his own country but worldwide as well.