The United States lead after day one of the World Team Trophy thanks to a one-two in the men's singles short program.
Double world champion Nathan Chen edged out team-mate Vincent Zhou with Shoma Uno a distant third in Fukuoka.
That vaulted USA up from third into first after Rika Kihira had won the ladies' short program to move Japan into the joint-lead with Russia.
American men on top
All the attention was on the last three competitors of the day - Zhou, Uno, and finally Chen.
World Championship bronze medallist Zhou skated superbly, opening with a quad Lutz into triple toeloop combination before landing a quad Salchow and a triple Axel.
He earned a personal best score of 100.51, marginally higher than his score at the Worlds in Saitama.
Despite vocal home support, Uno was unable to rise to the occasion with his quad jumps - an opening quad flip and a quad toeloop into double toeloop combination - lacking the crispness of his American rival.
The Olympic silver medallist scored 92.78, only good enough for second with just the double world champion left to skate.
Chen received a warm reception as he took to the ice, and he lived up to his status as the number one skater on the planet.
The 19-year-old had toned down the technical elements from Saitama with just one quad in his routine.
But his elements - an opening triple Axel followed by a quad toeloop and a triple Lutz into triple toeloop combination - were all performed cleanly.
And his score of 101.95 was enough for first place and maximum points for the USA which sent them to the top of the leaderboard.
Kihira bounces back
Kihira was back to her brilliant best in front of her home fans.
After missing out on the podium at last month's World Figure Skating Championships, the 16-year-old produced a flawless skate to win the ladies' short program.
Kihira shook her fists with delight as she scored 83.97 to eclipse her own world record score from the December's Grand Prix Final.
That earned a maximum 12 points for Japan with team-mate Kaori Sakamoto taking third place to score 10 for the hosts.
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva claimed 11 points with second place to leave Russia and Japan tied for the lead after the first two rounds of the competition.
The home fans inside the Marine Messe Fukuoka held their breath for Kihira's opening triple Axel.
And unlike in Saitama, where she ended up completing only a single Axel, the Grand Prix Final and Four Continents winner got it right with a perfectly executed jump.
A triple flip into triple toeloop combination and a triple Lutz were also performed expertly despite Kihira's heavily taped-up boots which will surely be retired at the end of this event.
She needed to be at the top of her game to overtake Tuktamysheva who had gone into the lead with a big personal best.
The 2015 world champion also started with a fine triple Axel, following up with a triple toeloop into triple toeloop, and a triple Lutz to post a score of 80.54.
Samodurova's seven points in addition to Tuktamysheva's 11 had taken Russia to 29 points, level with Japan at the top of the leaderboard prior to the men's singles short program.
Papadakis and Cizeron get France off to flyer
Fresh from claiming their fourth world title, the Olympic silver medallists scored 87.31 - just shy of their score in Saitama - to claim 12 points for their country.
The top three were the same as the final results from the World Championships with Russian duo Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov edging out Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donoghue of the United States.
Japan will have to rely heavily on their singles skaters if they are to challenge for gold, with Misato Komatsubara and Tim Koleto finishing down in sixth and last place.
World Team Trophy standings (after three rounds of eight):
United States 50 points
Schedule (all times Fukuoka local, GMT+9)
Thursday 11 April
1515 Ice Dance rhythm dance
1635 Ladies' singles short program
1840 Men's singles short program
Friday 12 April
1600 Pairs short program
1725 Ice Dance free dance
1900 Men's singles free skate
Saturday 13 April
1515 Pairs free skate
1650 Ladies' singles free skate