The Japan national football team (satsukaRi Ben Dai Biao, Sakka Nippon Daihyo) represents Japan in association football and is run by the Japan Football Association (JFA), the country's regulatory organization. Japan's first ever game was played on 23 October 1924 when they lost to China 4–1 at home.
Japan's official sport is baseball but football is popular among the Japanese public. The JFA was founded in Tokyo on 25 May 1910 and has its headquarters in Minato-ku, Tokyo. It controls both men's and women's games.
Japan's last match was a 1–4 loss to South Korea on 27 November 2018. They are currently ranked 69th in the world.
Their best result since 1992 was when they reached the quarter-finals of the 2002 World Cup. Previously, they had reached the second round of the 1966 World Cup and the quarter-finals of the 1990 World Cup.
Currently, Japan plays in Group C of the 2022 FIFA World Cup with the other countries being France, Senegal and United States. Japan's closest rival is likely to be South Korea who they play twice every year and both teams compete in all major international tournaments including the AFC Asian Cup. Japan qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup after finishing first in Group C of the 2022 AFC Qualifying Championship.
The Japan Football Association (JFA) operates the Japan national football squad (Japanese: satsuka) Ri Ben Dai Biao (Hepburn: Sakka Nippon Daihyo), which represents Japan in association football. Hajime Moriyasu, a former footballer and current coach of Japan's national under-23 football team, is the current head coach.
This is a list of Japanese international footballers—Japanese association football players who have represented Japan on the national team, according to the Japan Football Association. In the recent year, a number of daring players have been called up to the Japan national football squad.
See Japan Football League (1992–98) for the defunct former league of the same name. The Japan Football League (JFL), usually known simply as the JFL, is the fourth tier of the Japanese association football league system, located underneath the J.League's three divisions. It is operated by the Japan Football Association (JFA). The current president is Kazuyuki Fukuda who took over from Tadashi Niikura in April 2016.
The JFL was founded in 1992 when the old Japan Soccer League was divided into two divisions. In 1998, after finishing as runners-up the previous year, Kashiwa Reysol were promoted to the JSL and thus replaced it. Nowadays, most clubs are based in a single city with some exceptions like Yokohama FC who play their home games at the 80,000-capacity Tokyo Stadium while Shimizu S-Pulse play their matches at the 50,000-seat Suidobori Stadium. There are no promotion or relegation between the JFL and J.League.
A total of 20 teams will compete in the JFL this season, which begins in early March and ends in late October. A club must win at least one match to be eligible for promotion to the J.League. If they lose that match but wins the regional championship then the second place team will also be promoted.
The Japan Football League (JFL) is the country's amateur football league. The Emperor's Cup has been the national open cup since 1921. The J.League Cup is the only cup that is solely available to J.League members (usually J1 alone). The All Japan Senior Football Championship is a cup for clubs in regional levels lower than the JFL. It was established in 1955 and is not associated with any other international tournament.
In addition to these tournaments, there are several smaller cups that are contested by individual teams or groups of friends. These include the Gagarin Cup (for universities), the Todorov Cup (first division only), the Mizutani Cup (second division only), and the Konica Minolta Cup (third division only).
Games are played on Sunday afternoons except for the Emperor's Cup when they are played on Saturday afternoons. There are three divisions in the league system: first division, second division, and third division. Teams play within their division either all home or all away. They cannot move between divisions unless they win their division or are promoted.
A club is allowed to have a maximum of four foreign players on its roster at any one time. Those players must be registered with a football association in their own country, but they do not need to be professional players. Each club is also given a certain number of Japanese players that it can use throughout the season. A club cannot have more Japanese players on its active list than its allotted number of slots.
By holding the Intercontinental Cup in Tokyo as a neutral location, UEFA and CONMEBOL helped enhance Japanese knowledge of football. The Japan Professional Football League (often known as the J.League) was established in 1993, replacing the semi-professional Japan Soccer League as Japan's new top-level club tournament. The current president is Yoshikazu Takaichi, who took over from Tsunehisa Suzuki in October 2016.
The J.League is the only official professional football league in Japan. All clubs must be licensed by the J.League and most play their home games at stadiums that have been approved by the league. The exception is Gamba Osaka, who play at Suita Municipal Stadium even though it wasn't approved when they opened their own stadium in 2002. They were allowed to start playing there because it has a capacity of 50,000, more than the required number at which approval would be needed.
Gamba Osaka have won the J.League eight times, more than any other team. The club also has the record for the longest undefeated run in the league's history with 26 games without a loss. In addition to winning the league title, they have also won the Asian Champions League three times. Shimizu S-Pulse have been runners-up on five occasions and Urawa Reds four times. The most successful foreign club is South Korea's Seongnam FC, who have won the Asian Club Championship twice.