- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 10", Weight 160 lbs.
- High School Okayama Higashi Shogyo High School
- School Meiji University
- Born February 3, 1934 in Okayama, Okayama Japan
- Died August 12, 2000
Ironman submarine pitcher Noboru Akiyama played his entire career with the Taiyo Whales. He retired with a record of 193-171 with 1897 strikeouts and a 2.60 ERA.
Akiyama's manager in college put him through thousand pitch sessions each day in order to develop a rubber arm. After debuting in 1956, Akiyama had four straight 300 innings pitched seasons followed by five straight 200 innings pitched seasons. He compiled an incredible 785 and two-thirds innings in his first two seasons. During his career, he would win both halves of doubleheaders five different times and once threw back-to-back shutouts on consecutive days. Akiyama was very rarely ever bothered by injury. In 1963, he felt sharp elbow pains in the first inning of a game and had to come out. The Whales' trainer treated him with acupuncture, and the next day, Akiyama tossed a complete game victory.
Akiyama secured Central League Rookie of the Year honors by earning 25 of his team's 43 wins in 1956. In 1960, he was awarded the MVP Award for leading his team to a championship with a 21-10 record and a 1.75 ERA. Akiyama started all four games in the 1960 Nippon Series as his Whales swept the heavily favored Daimai Orions.
Akiyama managed the Whales for two seasons after retiring and then became a commentator for Kanagawa TV. He died of respiratory arrest at his home on August 12, 2000. Akiyama was inducted into the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame in 2004.