The Japan national football team, nicknamed the Samurai Blue, represents Japan in men’s international football and is controlled by the Japan Football Association (JFA), the governing body of football in Japan. Japan Football History.

YearAll years

Japan was not a major football power until the late 1980s with a small and amateur team. Since the 1990s, when Japanese football became fully professional, Japan has emerged as one of the most successful teams in Asia. They have qualified for the last seven FIFA World Cups, progressing from the group stage in 2002, 2010, and 2018 (the most of any Asian team) and won the AFC Asian Cup a record four times, in 1992, 2000, 2004 and 2011.

The team also finished second in the 2001 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2019 AFC Asian Cup. Apart from Australia and Saudi Arabia, Japan is the only AFC team to have reached the final of a senior FIFA men’s competition.

Early History

Japan’s development in a short period of time has served as an inspiration and example of how football has developed. Their major continental rivals are South Korea, North Korea, China and recently Australia. He also created enmity against Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Japan was the first team from outside the United States to participate in the Copa America, having been invited to the 1999, 2011, 2015 and 2019 editions of the tournament, although they only played in the 1999 and 2019 competitions.

Japan National Football Team

Football in Japan is officially introduced by the Japan Football Association, and a number of academic papers and books on the history of association football in Japan, by then-Lieutenant-Commander Archibald Lucius Douglas of the Royal Navy and his to his subordinates, who had taught him since 1873. The game and its rules to Japanese naval cadets while working as an instructor at the Imperial Japanese Naval Academy in Tsukiji, Tokyo.

The first official football match in Japan was held on February 18, 1888, between the Yokohama Country and Athletic Club and the Kobe Regatta and Athletic Club. YC&AC is the oldest association football club in Japan as association football was introduced to the club on 25 December 1886, with training sessions starting in January 1887.

The first Japanese association football club, founded as a football club, is considered to be Tokyo. Shukyu-dan, founded in 1917, now competes in the Tokyo Prefectural Amateur League.

In 1920

In the 1920s, football associations were organize and regional tournaments began at universities and high schools, particularly in Tokyo. And in 1930, Japan’s national association football team was organize and tied 3–3 with China for its first title in the Far Eastern Championship Games. Japan’s national team also participated in the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, the team’s first victory at the Olympic Games with a 3–2 win over the mighty Sweden.

In addition to the National Cup, several attempts made to create a senior-level national championship, the Emperor’s Cup, establishe in 1921. The first was the All Japan Works Football Championship (AJWFC), established in 1948 and open only to company teams. The second was the All Japan Inter-City Football Championship (AJICFC), which was establishe in 1955 and clubs were divide by city (any club, works, university or independent, could represent their home city.

National League

The first organized national league, the Japan Soccer League, was organize in 1965 with eight amateur club clubs and replaced the AJWFC and AJICFC. At the 1968 Mexico Olympic Games, Japan’s national team, loaded with top JSL stars of the era, achieved its first major success with a third-place finish and a bronze medal.

Olympic success encouraged the creation of a second division for the JSL and the opening of the first few professional players, initially from foreigners (mainly Brazilians), and some from other countries, which led to the country’s Hosted the first international competition, the 1979 FIFA World Youth Championship. Japanese players, however, remained amateurs, having to work all day for the companies that owned the clubs.

This limited the development of the Japanese game. And many of the best Japanese players had to go abroad to earn a living from the game. Such as Yasuhiko Okudera, the first Japanese player to play for a professional European club. UEFA and CONMEBOL helped Japanese awareness of soccer by hosting the Intercontinental Cup in Tokyo as a neutral venue.

Japan Professional Football League

In 1993, the Japan Professional Football League (commonly known as the J-League) was establish to replace the semi-professional Japan Soccer League. As the new top-level club competition in Japan. It included some of the top clubs from the old JSL, fully professional. Renamed to fit the communities and with the corporate identity minimized.

The new high standard league attracted many fans and helped the sport grow in popularity immensely. Professional leagues also offered incentives to amateur non-company clubs to join their ranks, with no major company backing. Major examples of community, non-company-affiliated clubs that have progressed through the prefectural. And regional ranks to the major leagues are Albireo Niigata and Oita Trinita. Japan Football History.

Japan in FIFA World Cup

The Japan participated in its first World Cup tournament at the 1998 FIFA World Cup held in France. In 2002, Japan co-hosted the 2002 FIFA World Cup with the Republic of Korea. The association football communities of the two countries subsequently received the FIFA Fair Play Award.

The Japanese national team has reach the round of 16 on three occasions – as hosts in 2002. Where they were knock out 1-0 by Turkey, in 2010. Where they lost on penalties to Paraguay, and in 2018, where they were 2 lose by -3. Belgium. Japan also qualified for the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. The 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa and the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Japan Football History.

2018 FIFA World Cup

Japan made history at the 2018 FIFA World Cup by defeating Colombia 2–1. The first victory by an AFC team against a CONMEBOL team in an official tournament. As well as in the FIFA World Cup final among UEFA nations. Japan’s first victory. Their second match ended in a draw against Senegal, with one goal scored by Takashi Inoue. And the other by Keisuke Honda. Japan lost 0–1 against Poland in their final group game in Group H, leaving Japan and Senegal in second place with the same record.

The match with Poland caused controversy. As Japan had ten minutes left of their advantage over Senegal. They decided to play very conservatively, passing the ball close together. And keeping it in their own box, without any bookings. Tried to avoid and didn’t try to take. No serious shots on goal, despite losing 0-1, some fans cheered the players on. For more details Click here