But only seven medals in London were gold, with Japanese judokas bagging only one of those. The Japanese Olympic Committee had been gunning for 15 golds, hoping that could invigorate its bid to host the 2020 Games in Tokyo.
Japan finished 11th in the overall medal standings, ahead of Kazakhstan but behind Australia. The U.S. were in top spot with 46 golds.
"To exceed our previous overall best is something that we are happy with, plain and simple," Japan's chef de mission Haruki Uemura told Japanese media. "We had never in the past been getting medals every day like we did here."
The major daily Mainichi Shimbun newspaper celebrated the team's performance.
"Although the number of gold medals fell short of the nine won in Beijing, many of the silver and bronze medals have greatly moved people who watched how they were won," it said.
Japanese swimmers grabbed a record 11 medals, although none of them was golden, as Kosuke Kitajima failed to lift a third straight double gold in the men's 100m and 200m breaststroke.
The Japanese women's soccer team went down fighting 2-1 to the United States, whom they beat in the World Cup final a year ago, to claim silver.
Japanese women won medals in table tennis and badminton for the first time-both of them silver. They also took a first volleyball medal in 28 years-a bronze.
Some of the gold medals came as no surprise.
Three-time world all-around gymnastic champion Kohei Uchimura lifted his first Olympic gold while Saori Yoshida, Kaori Icho and Hitomi Obara won a women's wrestling title each.
Kaori Matsumoto took the only judo title for Japan in the women's 57kg.
But in the last two days of action, middleweight Ryota Murata grabbed the first men's boxing gold for Japan in 48 years and Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu won the first men's wrestling title for Japan in 24 years in the freestyle 66kg.
|May 18||5-year-old boy's hand gets caught in shopping mall escalator|
|A 5-year-old boy sustained an injury at a shopping mall in Nagoya on Friday after his hand became trapped in an escalator. (Japan Today )|
|May 18||Woman stabbed by stalker despite asking police for help|
|A 24-year-old woman was in a serious condition Friday after being stabbed by a man whom she reported to police for stalking her in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture. (Japan Today )|
|May 18||70-year-old woman rescued from toilet after 3-day ordeal|
|A 70-year-old woman has been rescued from a toilet in which she had been waiting for help for three days, Hiroshima police said Friday. (Japan Today )|
|May 18||Traditional dance performed at Nikko temple|
|A traditional dance was performed on Friday at an ancient temple in Nikko City, northeast of Tokyo. (NHK )|
|May 18||China cracks down on over-the-top anti-Japan dramas|
|China's television regulator has ordered a crackdown on dramas about the country's battles with Japan during and before World War Two and demanded they be more serious, state media said on Friday, following viewer complaints about ludicrous storylines. (Reuters )|
|May 17||Bear shot dead after entering school in Ishikawa|
|A bear was shot dead after it wandered into a school in Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture, on Thursday. (Japan Today )|
|May 17||Man kills 3 family members, then himself|
|Police said Friday they have found four dead bodies in an apartment in Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture, in what is believed to have been a family murder-suicide. (Japan Today )|
|May 17||Chinese tourists a bane for Japanese hookers|
|Shukan Post (May 24) conveys the difficulties experienced by other parts of the adult-entertainment biz in servicing customers from the communist nation. A deri heru (“delivery health”) call-girl tells the tabloid that she is often requested to arrive at major hotels in the Shinjuku and Ikebukuro entertainment areas of Tokyo by Chinese visitors. (Tokyo Reporter)|
|May 17||6 dead in freighter fire at Wakkanai|
|Six sailors were found dead after a fire on a foreign freighter docked at a port in Hokkaido, northern Japan. The sailors are presumed to be Russians. (NHK )|
|May 17||Employee of real estate company stabbed in Tokyo|
|Police on Friday said that a real estate company employee was stabbed by an unknown assailant in the lobby of an office building near JR Akihabara station. The man is currently in a serious condition in hospital. (Japan Today )|