yuta watanabe

Toronto Raptors are now the most popular team in Japan thanks to Yuta Watanabe

The Toronto Raptors are officially the most popular team in Japan: shoutouts to Yuta Watanabe.

For the first time ever, the Raptors have locked down the highest-selling jersey and team merchandise in the country, according to sales from NBA Store Japan.

yuta watanabe toronto

Toronto Raptors player Yuta Watanabe has the best selling jersey from NBA Store Japan. Photo via NBA Japan.

It's all thanks to Yuta, our Japanese forward whose unflagging attitude post-monster dunk debacle has solidified the 26-year-old as a Raps class act. 

It's also no surprise given that Yutamania originated in Japan long before Watanabe signed a two-way contract with the Raptors to become our resident 6"8 hearthrob. 

He also had the most popular jersey in the 2018-2019 season, and it seems the Watanabaes in his home country have his back again, literally, this time with the #18 Raptors jersey.

The Raptors are now number one on the Most Popular Team Merchandise List. It's the first time they've appeared on the list, followed by the Brooklyn Nets, L.A. Lakers, Golden State Warriors and the Washington Wizards.

Watanabe beat out NBA greats Steph Curry and Russell Westbrook as the country's most popular jersey.

Jersey sales for the Wizards' Rui Hachimura, another Japanese player and friend of Yuta, has fallen down to number four after being the most popular jersey for the 2019-2020 season

The 10 Most Popular NBA Jerseys in Japan: 
  1. Yuta Watanabe, Toronto Raptors
  2. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
  3. Russell Westbrook, Washington Wizards
  4. Rui Hachimura, Washington Wizards
  5. LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers
  6. Luka Dončić, Dallas Mavericks
  7. Chris Paul, Phoenix Suns
  8. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
  9. Carmelo Anthony, Portland Trail Blazers
  10. LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets
The Top 5 Most Popular Team Merchandise in Japan:
  1. Toronto Raptors
  2. Brooklyn Nets
  3. Los Angeles Lakers
  4. Golden State Warriors
  5. Washington Wizards
Lead photo by


Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in Sports & Play

New video from Drake's mansion proves he's actually really good at basketball

TV station drives emotional stake into the hearts of crushed Toronto Maple Leafs fans

People got stuck outside on a ride at Canada's Wonderland during the weekend storm

The massive waterpark at Canada's Wonderland opens for the summer this week

This incredible tropical beach is just two hours from Toronto

This hiking trail near Toronto comes with an epic waterfall

Toronto just got European-style bike infrastructure and cyclists are overjoyed

25 fun day trips from Toronto to add to your summer bucket list