Soccer and baseball are undoubtedly the most popular and frequently followed sports in Japan. Japanese athletes have won several gold medals each in the Olympic Games of these two sports, making Japan one of the most successful nations in terms of number of gold medals.
Japan's national soccer team, called Samurai Blue, has become a favorite among fans throughout the world because of its impressive record of victories. The team has won the FIFA World Cup once in 1966 with star player Hidetoshi Nakata. Japan's professional league, J1 League, was founded in 2013 and has been winning popularity among fans since then. The season lasts for approximately half a year, from early March to late January.
Japan's national baseball team, the Yokohama BayStars, has won the championship title 13 times, more than any other team in the history of the sport. The team plays in Tokyo's Yokohama Stadium which seats 40,000 people. Baseball is widely popular in Japan, and the country's professional league has 10 teams including the BayStars who have maintained their position at the top of the standings since its inception in 1965.
Baseball is the most popular sport in Japan, having gained popularity in the early 1900s. According to the most recent data, baseball is the preferred sport of about half of all Japanese citizens. Football, on the other hand, has evolved along with its more popular sibling. Today, football is the number one sport in Japan among boys and men.
In 1964, when Japan hosted the Tokyo Olympics, a professional football league was established as part of the program. That same year, Nintendo launched "Football" on the newly released Nintendo Wii video game system. The game became an instant success in Japan, and today it is one of the best-selling games of all time. In fact, according to Nintendo, more than 6 million copies of "Football" have been sold in Japan alone.
Japan's love for football may be due to the popularity of the Japanese national team. Japan's national soccer team has won the gold medal in both the 1950 World Cup and the 2002 World Cup, making them the only country who has done so. Baseball players from Japan have also won Olympic gold medals in 1948 and 1952.
Furthermore, the unique dynamics of the J-League (Japan's top football league) can help explain why football is more popular in Japan than baseball. The league was created in 1993 as a joint venture by the Japan Football Association and twelve Japanese corporate sponsors.
Baseball, association football, golf, tennis, and sumo wrestling are the most popular professional sports in Japan. Golf is not as popular as it is in some other countries, but it is still played by many Japanese people. Baseball and soccer are much more popular than golf.
Golf is one of the oldest sports in the world; it was first played in China about 5,000 years ago. But it wasn't until the 19th century that the modern game we know today began to take shape. American golfers such as James Braid and Walter Hagen were bringing new ideas to Japan, and they helped make the sport more popular here. Today, there are almost 70,000 registered golfers in Japan. That's only 1 out of every 100 adults!
The Japan Golf Association has members from all over the country, and its main tournament is called the Open. It is held every year at different courses across Japan. The largest tournament is called the PGD Whistling Straits, and it is held at a private club in Shizuoka Prefecture.
In terms of money, golf is very popular in Japan. The top athletes can earn up to $100,000 a year.
Football is Japan's second most popular sport, after only baseball. The Japan Football Association was founded in 1913 and has 1.5 million members. The JFA runs a national league called Nagoya Cup, as well as local leagues in around 100 cities across the country.
The national team qualified for the 2014 World Cup by defeating South Korea 2-1 on November 15, 2013. Japan's final group game will be against England at Sunji Farm Stadium in Reggio Emilia, Italy on June 16 at 4 p.m. Local time (9 a.m. EDT). You can watch the game live online here.
Japan has never won the World Cup but they do come close often. They have been finalists four times (1934, 1938, 1982, and 1990) and third place twice (1950, 2002).
Football is growing in popularity in Japan, especially among young people. There are now more than a hundred thousand registered players in the country. Many Japanese companies also have sports clubs that play in local or regional leagues. Nissan, Honda, and Toyota all have football teams that play in the Japanese league system.