The pair helped Feyenoord win the 2002 UEFA Cup and van Persie remembers the Japanese veteran as being an extremely gifted footballer.
"We have really good memories together," van Persie told the Daily Telegraph.
"We go back 10 years now, 10 or 11 years, we won the UEFA Cup together and he was very good to me when I was very young. I came to the first team at Feyenoord when I was very young and he really looked after me.
"You can compare him with (United midfielder) Shinji (Kagawa) the way they play, very quick, technical, good vision.
"He is a great guy."