After an epic final lasting just under six hours, Japan’s quest for its first Thomas Cup triumph ended by extending five-time champion Malaysia’s 22-year wait for a sixth title.
Takuma Ueda defeated Daren Liew in the deciding fifth rubber as Japan completed a 3-2 triumph.
Japan became only the fourth nation, after Indonesia (13 times), China (9) and Malaysia (5) to lift the coveted Cup.
For Malaysia, this was the ninth runner-up finish and first since 2002.
With Japan starting what was expected to be a close title-clash as ranking-favourite in four of the five rubbers, the Malaysians would have had to punch above their weight to gain the title. They came close to winning the first doubles and claimed the second, but fell short in the deciding singles.
After World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei defeated fourth-ranked Kenichi Tago to put Malaysia ahead the World No. 3 duo of Kenichi Hayakawa and Hiroyuki Endo battled from a one-game deficit to be part of one of the most memorable finishes seen this week.
The decider saw Boon Heong Tan and Thein How Hoon save a match-point to make it 19-20 before Hayakawa finished off an astonishing rally.
Then, Kento Momota settled a score against Wei Feng Chong and put Japan ahead for the first time. The 39-minute battle featuring two left-handers produced thrilling rallies but Momota stayed in control on the big points to avenge the three-game loss suffered in last year’s Malaysia Open.
In the second doubles, 13th ranked Keigo Sonoda and Takeshi Kamura brought Japan closer to the title before they were punished in the second and third games for being impetuous.
Thereafter it was left to Ueda to tame Liew to whom he had lost their only previous encounter in the 2013 China Open. Ueda appeared to be cruising when he led 15-9 after winning the first game. Liew staged a remarkable comeback to clinch the game. But the deciding game turned Ueda's way.
The results (final): Thomas Cup: Japan beat Malaysia 3-2 (Kenichi Tago lost to Lee Chong Wei 12-21, 6-21; Kenichi Hayakawa & Hiroyuki Endo bt Boon Heong Tan & Thien How Hoon 12-21, 21-17, 21-19; Kento Momota bt Wei Feng Chong 21-15, 21-17; Keigo Sonoda and Takeshi Kamura lost to V. Shem Goh and Wee Kiong Tan 21-19, 17-21, 12-21; Takuma Ueda bt Daren Liew 21-12, 18-21, 21-18).