Japan booked their place in the Asian Cup quarterfinals in Qatar with a 3-1 win over Bahrain on Wednesday.
World Cup standout Ritsu Doan and Real Sociedad star Takefusa Kubo scored for the Samurai Blue before a mix-up between goalkeeper Zion Suzuki and striker Ayase Ueda led to an own goal that momentarily gave life to Bahrain.
But golden boot candidate Ueda made amends with his fourth goal of the tournament to complete a dominant victory by the record four-time Asian champions at Doha's Al Thumama Stadium.
The round-of-16 win may have come at a cost, however, for Japan manager Hajime Moriyasu, who lost Celtic midfielder Reo Hatate to an apparent leg injury in the first half.
Japan will play a quarterfinal Saturday at Al Rayyan's Education City Stadium against Iran, winners of their round-of-16 clash with Syria.
Brighton & Hove Albion winger Kaoru Mitoma made his first appearance of the tournament, coming off the bench in the second half after missing all three group-stage games with an ankle injury.
Bahrain goalkeeper Ebrahim Lutfallah was forced into an early save when Ko Itakura headed on target from a corner kick.
The Samurai Blue converted their overwhelming possession into the opening goal when Doan tapped home after Seiya Maikuma blasted the woodwork with a long-range effort in the 31st minute.
"A wonderful shot from Maikuma fell to my path. I'm always prepared and it was great to score," Doan said.
Itakura went close with another header before Kubo poached Japan's second in 49th minute, when a misdirected touch from the Bahrain defense played him onside directly in front of goal.
"It was a very tough game, but we weren't losing out when vying for the ball, unlike the Iraq game," Kubo said, referring to the shock 2-1 loss to Iraq that led to the Samurai Blue finishing second in Group D.
"I'm happy to have contributed with the goal even by a little bit."
While they progressed to the next stage with little trouble, Japan's shaky set-piece defense saw them once again unable to keep a clean sheet.
Defending a rare Bahrain corner, Suzuki failed to punch away convincingly before he and Ueda collided on the goal line, sending the ball spilling into the net in the 64th minute.
The mishap continues a turbulent tournament for Suzuki, the 21-year-old goalkeeper of Japanese and Ghanaian American heritage, who has received abusive messages on social media, prompting the Japan Football Association to condemn the harassment.
Feyenoord striker Ueda restored Japan's two-goal buffer eight minutes later, finishing calmly from the right of the area with an assist from Maikuma.
"(Bahrain) were trying to stay compact but I felt there were some gaps. I sensed I could get behind them if I timed my movement right with the passer of the ball," Ueda said.
"Tough games keep coming our way but it's important for all of us to have the for-the-team mindset," Doan said. "We want to win the tournament at any cost and will look to win the next one too to advance."