Japan National Football Team Results: 1940-1949

Collection of newspaper cuttings showing various events from the 1940 East Asia Games in progress. (Image courtesy Bunzo)

Tokyo had been chosen by the International Olympic Committee as the host city for the 1940 Olympic Games after conducting an unprecedented, intensive lobbying campaign that would look familiar to contemporary mega-event strategists. The Japanese bid project won the support of a number of powerful nations accordingly, the United States, Great Britain and Germany among them, and Japan’s ambassador to Rome, Sugimura Yotaro, persauded Mussolini to drop Rome’s competing bid for the 1940 Games with a guarantee for Japanese support four years later.

Despite causing irritation by building a new stadium in Komozawa rather than as initially planned in the outer grounds of Meiji-Jingu Shrine, and on the brink of war with China, out of necessity having to cancel additional plans for the Olympic flame to travel via the ancient Silk Road and proposing the flame be flown non-stop from Germany, the country looked set to host a games for which the successful bid had brought widespread rejoicing in Japan. Coinciding with the legend of the Japanese Empire having been founded in 660BC, and hence it being the purported 2600th Anniversary of the establishment of the Empire by Jimmu, it would enable the country’s leaders to project an image of an ambitious, vibrant and modern nation, as well as the darker aspect of a highly militarist government potentially using the games as a nationalistic propaganda tool and to promote the Emperor himself.

The Second Sino-Japanese War broke out on 7 July 1937, however, and Japan relinquished its right to host the Games less than a year later. Japan’s expectations of a swift conclusion to the hostilities were dashed, and with the numbers of lives lost and the growing financial and logistical burden, and in the knowledge that a celebratory event taking place when Japan’s young were dying on battlefields would likely be deemed inappropriate, the games were cancelled by the Japanese government, albeit under the threat of a boycott from both the United States and Great Britain in protest at its military aggression.

Nonetheless, Japan hosted its 2600th Anniversary event, a much smaller scale competition involving athletes from the mainland, Japanese-occupied territories in China, and the Philippines, Hawaii and Thailand, and they were held in a more sombre environment and traditional manner. After this event, Japan would play just four more matches, all in 1942, and would not see international football again until the next decade.


The 2600 Year Anniversary Event (East Asia Games)

07/06/1940 Empire of Japan
Ninomiya 9′
Kawamoto 12′, 26′, 69′ (pen.), 73′
Kim Hee-Soo 27′, 39′
7 (5) Manchuria
0 (0)
Japan XI: Yukio Tsuda; Min Byung-Dae, Tsuguo Kato, Kim Yong-Sik, Lee Yoo-Hyung, Takashi Kasahara, Saburo Shinozaki, Kazu Naoki, Hirokazu Ninomiya, Taizo Kawamoto, Kim Hee-Soo
Substitutes: Tokutaro Ukon, Kim Song-An, Kunitaka Sueoka, Hidetoki Takahashi, Kim Incheol, Nobuhiko Tanabe, Yuji Oriuchi, Katsuhisa Nakagaichi
Coach: Shigemaru Takenokoshi
Venue: Outer Precincts of Meiji Shrine Athletic Grounds, Tokyo, Japan
09/06/1940 Empire of Japan
Kawamoto 41′, 46′
Ninomiya 55′, 77′
Kim S-A 66′
Naoki 89′
6 (1) Republic of China
0 (0)
Japan XI: Yukio Tsuda; Min Byung-Dae, Tokutaro Ukon, Kim Yong-Sik, Lee Yoo-Hyung, Takashi Kasahara, Saburo Shinozaki, Kazu Naoki, Hirokazu Ninomiya, Taizo Kawamoto, Kim Song-An
Substitutes: Kim Hee-Soo, Tsuguo Kato, Kunitaka Sueoka, Hidetoki Takahashi, Kim Incheol, Nobuhiko Tanabe, Yuji Oriuchi, Katsuhisa Nakagaichi
Coach: Shigemaru Takenokoshi
Venue: Outer Precincts of Meiji Shrine Athletic Grounds, Tokyo, Japan
16/06/1940 Empire of Japan
Kawamoto 67′
1 (0) Philippines
0 (0)
Japan XI: Yukio Tsuda; Lee Yoo-Hyung, Tokutaro Ukon, Kim Yong-Sik, Kunitaka Sueoka, Takashi Kasahara, Saburo Shinozaki, Kazu Naoki, Hirokazu Ninomiya, Taizo Kawamoto, Kim Song-An
Substitutes: Kim Hee-Soo, Tsuguo Kato, Min Byung-Dae, Hidetoki Takahashi, Kim Incheol, Nobuhiko Tanabe, Yuji Oriuchi, Katsuhisa Nakagaichi
Coach: Shigemaru Takenokoshi
Venue: Koshien South Ground, Nishinomiya, Japan


Manchukuo Founding Anniversary Competition

08/08/1942 Empire of Japan
Kim Yong-Sik 3′
Kim Hee-Soo 42′
6 (4) Republic of China
1 (1)
Japan XI: Kiyo Ike, Shinya Tanaka, Nobuyuki Kato, Motoo Tatsuhara (c), Ichiro Moriyama, Min Byung-Dae, Kim Hee-Soo, Kim Yong-Sik, Shizuo Fujii, Bae Jong-Ho, Takashi Kano
Substitutes: Tsunesuke Matsuoka, Masa Manabe, Masatoshi Onuki, Masahisa Okuse, Nobuo Matsunaga, Tokuya Maitani, Masao Nozawa
Coach: Kouichi Kudou
Venue: Xinjing, Manchukuo
09/08/1942 Manchuria
1 (0) Empire of Japan
3 (0)
Japan XI: Kiyo Ike; Shinya Tanaka, Nobuyuki Kato, Tsunesuke Matsuoka, Ichiro Moriyama, Min Byung-Dae, Kim Hee-Soo, Kim Yong-Sik, Takashi Kano, Bae Jong-Ho, Masa Manabe
Substitutes: Shizuo Fujii, Motoo Tatsuhara, Masatoshi Onuki, Masahisa Okuse, Nobuo Matsunaga, Tokuya Maitani, Masao Nozawa
Coach: Kouichi Kudou
Venue: Xinjing, Manchukuo
10/08/1942 Empire of Japan
12 (5) Mongolia
0 (0)
Japan XI: Kiyo Ike; Masatoshi Onuki, Tsunesuke Matsuoka, Masahisa Okuse, Nobuo Matsunaga, Motoo Tatsuhara (c), Kim Yong-Sik, Tokuya Maitani, Shizuo Fujii, Masao Nozawa, Kim Hee-Soo
Substitutes: Ichiro Moriyama, Min Byung-Dae, Takashi Kano, Bae Jong-Ho, Masa Manabe, Shinya Tanaka, Nobuyuki Kato
Coach: Kouichi Kudou
Venue: Xinjing, Manchukuo


Friendly Match

16/08/1942 Korea
5 (2) Empire of Japan
0 (0)
Japan XI: Kiyo Ike; Shinya Tanaka, Nobuyuki Kato, Masahisa Okuse, Ichiro Moriyama, Min Byung-Dae, Tatsuhara (c), Bae Jong-Ho, Takashi Kano, Kim Yong-Sik, Kim Hee-Soo
Substitutes: Masa Manabe, Shizuo Fujii, Masatoshi Onuki, Tsunesuke Matsuoka, Nobuo Matsunaga, Tokuya Maitani, Masao Nozawa
Coach: Kouichi Kudou
Venue: Keijo, Korea

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