Japan v Latvia Friendly Result (Kirin Challenge Cup 2013)

The Samurai Blue eased to victory against very poor opposition in the shape of Latvia, but it wasn’t until the 41st minute that they took the lead. Shinji Okazaki stretched to divert Atsuto Uchida’s wayward shot into the net via the upright to give Japan a 1-0 advantage at half-time.

Two further goals were added in the space of teo minutes in the second period, both created by Shinji Kagawa. First on 59 minutes Keisuke Honda bent the ball beyond the reach of Vanins in the Latvia goal, before Okazaki doubled his tally and scored his 31st overall in 59 appearances for the national team, rounding Vanins and rolling the ball into the empty net. Okazaki now sits just seven goals behind Hiromi Hara in the all-time goal scoring table for his country, and continuing at only a marginally improved goals per game ratio could see him reach Hara in third position before the close of the year.

With such bare resistance offered by their opponents it took little effort on the Samurai Blues’ part to dismantle the visitors, but they can be satisfied with a reasonable performance and in having achieved the expected and required comfortable win.

Japan Japan
Okazaki 41′, 61′
Honda 60′
3 Latvia 5050 Latvia 0

Japan: Kawashima; Uchida (Gotoku Sakai, 62′), Konno (Inoha, 66′), Yoshida, Nagatomo; Hasebe, Hosogai (Endo, 45′); Kiyotake (Maeda, 45′), Honda (Inui, 62′), Kagawa; Okazaki (Otsu, 81′)
Substitutes: Hayashi, Gonda; Inoha, Gotoku Sakai, Mizumoto, Hiroki Sakai; Endo, Takahashi; Inui, Otsu; Maeda

Latvia: Vanins; Bulvītis, Ivanovs, Gorkšs, Rugins; Laizāns (Žigajevs, 65′), Cauna (Sinelnikovs, 88′), Višnakovs (Zjuzins, 65′), Fertovs; Kamešs (Maksimenko, 72′), Gauračs (Verpakovskis, 71′)
Substitutes: Doroševs, Mālins, Maksimenko, Klava, Kurakins, Smirnovs, Žigajevs, Zjuzins, Sinelnikovs, Verpakovskis

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J.League, Samurai Blue and Nadeshiko Fixtures (Football Japan Fixtures Calendar 2013)

A full, comprehensive fixtures calendar for the forthcoming Japanese football season, including kick-off times and stadium addresses, and which covers J.League Divisions 1 and 2, the Yamazaki Nabisco and Emperor’s Cups, the AFC Champions League matches in which Japanese sides are participating, and senior Men’s and Women’s internationals can be accessed at the following links:

XML iCal HTML

iCal (.ics file type) is compatible with most calendar software including Google Calendar, Apple iCal, Microsoft Outlook, Lotus Notes and Yahoo Calendar. It will also work with Android and Apple smartphones and tablets. Any updates made to the calendar as the season progresses will automatically be reflected on your device.

To add the Calendar to a Google Calendar, click “Other Calendars”, then “Add by URL”. Copy and paste the iCal link provided above into the field marked “URL”, then click “Add Calendar”. The Football Japan calendar will be added to your list of calendars. A summary of these instructions on the Google website can be found here.

To add the Calendar to an iOS device, tap the “Settings” icon. Tap “Mail, Contacts, Calendars”, and then “Add Account…”. Then press “Other”, and “Add Subscribed Calendar”. Copy and paste the iCal link from above into the “Server” field, and press “Next”. Your device will then attempt to verify the subscription, and once successful, simply choose “Save” to complete the subscription. However, if you have any other Apple devices it is highly recommended that you first subscribe via Calendar or iCal on OS X, before adding the calendar on iOS. See page 67 of the current iPad User Guide here for further information if required.

Details on how to subscribe to the calendar using Microsoft Outlook can be found here, for Lotus Notes users a video guide has been produced here, and details on subscriptions via Yahoo Calendar are available here.

If you wish to see Japan Football League or L.League fixtures added to the calendar, or if you have any feedback or suggestions, please send me an email or contact me on Twitter at

J.League Player Distribution – Data Visualisation

Leading up to what, for many reasons, should be an enthralling 2013 season, I’ll be creating some visual representations of data containing a number of interesting insights into the J.League and the wider of issues surrounding the growth of football in Japan. This post, which relates to the prefectures of birth of J.League Division 1 and 2 squad members at the end of the 2012 season, uses two methods to look at the same data. Initially each prefecture was accorded a simple total of squad members born inside their respective boundaries, and later, in an attempt to assess which prefectures could be regarded as the “football hotbeds” of Japan, I calculated that same number of players in the context of the relevant prefectural population.

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J.League to launch Division 3

Having previously noted on 9 November 2012 that discussions regarding a third professional tier of the J.League were set to commence before the end of the year, the Daily Yomiuri reports that the J.League is set to launch Division 3 in 2014.

In its inaugural season the number of participating teams is expected to be between ten and twelve, with a minimum stadium capacity requirement of just 3,000, compared to the 10,000 necessary required in J.League Division 2. While the 10,000 capacity stadia criteria in Division 2 makes little sense on the basis that average crowds across the division totalled just over 5,800, with only three teams nearer or above the 10,000 mark over the course of the 2012 season, the substantially smaller figure for the lower league should provide an easier standard of entry into the professional game for a number of teams currently residing in the JFL and the regional leagues.

There is no news at the present time as to how teams still owned and operated directly by parent companies will be affected, such as Honda FC, and where their future lies within the Japanese football league pyramid if they cannot or will not professionalise. Honda FC in particular made a deliberate decision to revert to fully amateur status having once been a J.League Associate Member, Honda Motor’s board assessing the environment and believing pursuing motor sport opportunities in the context of its main business to be the preferred option. It can only be hoped therefore that, despite the progress made by the J.League and the likely benefits that a third professional division will bring to the domestic and national game, one of the JFL’s stalwart members will be afforded sufficient consideration by the JFA in the event that it doesn’t garner the minimum level of support necessary from its fans and owners to become one of the third tier’s initial professional teams.

92nd Emperor’s Cup Final

 

Masakatsu Sawa’s snap shot after a pass from Leandro Domingues was turned away well by Gamba Osaka goalkeeper Yohei Takeda. From the resulting corner, however, bent away from goal by Jorge Wagner, Yasuhito Endo could not climb high enough to divert the ball away from goal, and Masakatsu Sawa rose to plant a firm header beyond Takeda to score the only goal of the game for Kashiwa Reysol. which ended Gamba Osaka’s hopes of appearing in their sixth consecutive AFC Champions League. Reysol join Australia’s Central Coast Mariners, Guizhou Renhe from China and South Korea’s Suwon Samsung Bluewings in Group H, taking the final place reserved for a Japanese side in the competition. Gamba now have the opportunity to focus primarily on gaining immediate promotion back to the top-flight of Japanese football, but whether they are able to rely on the talents of senior internationals Endo and Yasuyuki Konno, together with the potent attacking abilities of Leandro and Akihiro Ienaga is a matter which will be decided in the coming weeks.

Gamba Osaka
0 Kashiwa Reysol
Watanabe 35′
1

Japan National Football Team Results: 1950-1954

South Korea’s Chung Nam-Sik (centre), flanked by teammates Choi Jung-Min (left) and Sung Nak-Woon (right), shoots towards the Japanese goal in the first of two 1954 FIFA World Cup qualification matches between the two teams. China withdrew before qualification got underway, leaving South Korea and Japan to battle it out for the sole place reserved for an Asian team at the finals in Switzerland. The first game (above) was won by Kim Yong-Shik’s side 5-1, and although required to play both matches in Japan owing to the South Korean government’s refusal to allow Japan to play on their territory, the Meiji-Jingu Stadium proved no disadvantage to the travelling side and they clinched their place in the finals with a 2-2 draw one week later (Image courtesy JCube)

Friendly Matches

11/02/1951 Japan
Kano 19′
Ninomiya 67′, 89′
Miyata 88′
5 (2) All Kansai Selection
4 (3)
Japan XI: Yukio Tsuda; Megumu Tamura, Yoshio Okada, Koji Miyata, Shigeo Sugimoto, Ko Arima, Masanori Tokita, Taro Kagawa, Seki Matsunaga, Toshio Iwatani, Takashi Kano
Substitutes: Hideo Horiguchi, Nobuo Matsunaga, Hirokazu Ninomiya, Tsunae Wada, Nobuyuki Kato, Ken Noritake
Coach: Hirokazu Ninomiya
Venue: Osaka City Stadium, Osaka, Japan

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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.

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