The Japanese Football Association has announced the appointment of Asako Takakura as the new Nadeshiko Japan head coach.

48 year old Takakura takes over following last month's resignation of World Cup gold and silver medal winning coach Norio Sasaki.

“It’s an honor and I’m fully aware this is no easy job, but I told them I wanted to take this on without hesitation," said Takakura.

“My name had already been mentioned by the media when I was offered the job, and I was thinking what a great opportunity it would be if it came my way.”

A former midfielder, Takakura has been a mainstay in Japanese women's football for almost three decades having played 79 times for Nadeshiko, including appearances at the 1991, 1995 World Cups as well as the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

Since her retirement, the four time AFC Women's Coach of the Year has coached every age group from U13s to her current position as Japan U20 head coach.  Along the way, Takakura has amassed an array of trophies including the 2014 U17 Women’s World Cup and the 2015 AFC U19 Championships.

asako takakura-3 Takaura with the 2014 U17 FIFA Women's World Cup trophy (Photo: Getty Images)

While Takakura becomes the first female head coach for Japan, JFA President Kozo Tashima was quick to state that, taking into account her vast resume, the decision was about selecting the best coach possible.

“It had to be her,” he said. “Let me make it clear that we didn’t pick her because she is a woman. It could have been a foreigner or Japanese, male or female."

“She simply is the most qualified for the position. She had that kind of ability.”

Asako Takakura has been tasked with a revitalisation of Japan following their recent disappointment in the AFC Women's Olympic Qualifiers and a drop from the AFC No.1 position they had held for six years.

“I’m very disappointed the Nadeshiko didn’t qualify for Rio, but it doesn’t take away from the success the team had under coach Sasaki,” Takakura said.

“I want to adopt a style that only Japanese can play. When Japan won the 2011 World Cup in Germany, that team took full advantage of their qualities. I’ve been involved in player development for a long time and I know there are a lot of good, young players.

“I want to make Nadeshiko strong again.”

With her 4th AFC Coach of the Year Award (Photo: Getty Images) Takakura is a 4x AFC Coach of the Year Award (Photo: Getty Images)

Her first match in charge will be a baptism of fire as she leads the team against the team that emphatically claimed their world title; the United States.

The two nations will meet on 2 June in Colorado and 5 June in Cleveland - their first meeting since the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup final.

“The Americans are No. 1 in the world rankings and you couldn’t ask for a better test than them," she said. "By playing them, I want to find out with my own eyes what we’re lacking.”

As well as the senior team, Takakura will  remain as the head coach of the U20 National Team as they prepare for the U20 FIFA Women's World Cup later this year in Papua New Guinea.