Koichi Wakata, born August 1, 1963 in Japan, is the first Japanese commander of the International Space Station. He trained as an astronaut for the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency and has flown on four space shuttle missions and one Soyuz mission, spending almost a year total in space.
He traveled to the ISS on Soyuz TMA-11M, November 2013 as part of Expedition 38. He became commander of the ISS (the 3rd non-American, non-Russian commander) when Expedition 39 started in March 2014. He returned to Earth in May 2014.