List of Japanese football champions

Last updated
Japanese League (1st tier)
Japan Soccer League (1965–1971)
Japan Soccer League Division 1 (1972–1992)
J.League (1993–1998)
J.League Division 1 (1999–2014)
J1 League (2015–present)
Country
Japan
Flag of Japan.svg
Founded
1965
Number of Teams
18 (2019 season)
Current Champions
Kawasaki Frontale (2020)
Most successful club
Kashima Antlers and Sanfrecce Hiroshima
(8 championships)

The Japanese football champions are the winners of the top league in Japan, the Japan Soccer League from 1965 to 1992 and the J1 League since then.

Contents

Sanfrecce Hiroshima and Tokyo Verdy are the only teams that have won the title four times in a row (in 1965–1968 as Toyo Industries and in 1991–1994 as Yomiuri S.C./Verdy Kawasaki respectively). Notice that from 1985 to 1992 Japanese football adjusted to the "fall-spring" season schedule (common in most of Europe) but after establishment of J.League switched back to "spring-fall" scheme (common in North America, East Asia, and Nordic European latitudes).

Teams in bold have completed the double of the title and the Emperor's Cup in the same season. In 1985 no double was possible due to the season's timeframe change; thus, the doubles completed between then and 1992 are won in the middle of the season.

Japan Soccer League (1965–1971)

Numbers in parentheses indicate number of wins at the date. Leading goalscorer's nationality is at the time of award and does not necessarily indicate the national team played for.

YearChampions
(number of titles)
Runners-upThird placeLeading goalscorerGoals
1965
Toyo Industries Yawata Steel Furukawa Electric Flag of Japan.svg Mutsuhiko Nomura (Hitachi)15
1966
Toyo Industries (2) Yawata Steel Furukawa Electric Flag of Japan.svg Aritatsu Ogi (Toyo Industries)14
1967
Toyo Industries (3) Furukawa Electric Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Flag of Japan.svg Takeo Kimura (Furukawa Electric)15
1968
Toyo Industries (4) Yanmar Diesel Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Flag of Japan.svg Kunishige Kamamoto (Yanmar Diesel)14
1969
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Toyo Industries Yawata Steel Flag of Japan.svg Hiroshi Ochiai (Mitsubishi Motors)12
1970
Toyo Industries (5) Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Hitachi SC Flag of Japan.svg Kunishige Kamamoto (Yanmar Diesel)16
1971
Yanmar Diesel Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Nippon Steel Flag of Japan.svg Kunishige Kamamoto (Yanmar Diesel)11

Japan Soccer League Division 1 (1972–1992)

YearChampions
(number of titles)
Runners-upThird placeLeading goalscorerGoals
1972
Hitachi SC Yanmar Diesel Toyo Industries Flag of Japan.svg Akira Matsunaga (Hitachi)12
1973
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (2) Hitachi SC Yanmar Diesel Flag of Japan.svg Akira Matsunaga (Hitachi)11
1974
Yanmar Diesel (2) Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Hitachi SC Flag of Japan.svg Kunishige Kamamoto (Yanmar Diesel)21
1975
Yanmar Diesel (3) Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Hitachi SC Flag of Japan.svg Kunishige Kamamoto (Yanmar Diesel)17
1976
Furukawa Electric Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Fujita Industries Flag of Japan.svg Kunishige Kamamoto (Yanmar Diesel)15
1977
Fujita Industries Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Hitachi SC Flag of Brazil.svg Carvalho (Fujita Industries)23
1978
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (3) Yanmar Diesel Fujita Industries Flag of Japan.svg Kunishige Kamamoto (Yanmar Diesel)
Flag of Brazil.svg Carvalho (Fujita Industries)
15
1979
Fujita Industries (2) Yomiuri SC Hitachi SC Flag of Brazil.svg Ruy Ramos (Yomiuri)14
1980
Yanmar Diesel (4) Fujita Industries Furukawa Electric Flag of Japan.svg Hiroyuki Usui (Hitachi)14
1981
Fujita Industries (3) Yomiuri SC Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Flag of Japan.svg Hiroshi Yoshida (Furukawa Electric)14
1982
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (4) Yanmar Diesel Furukawa Electric Flag of Japan.svg Hiroyuki Usui (Hitachi)13
1983
Yomiuri SC Nissan Motors Fujita Industries Flag of Brazil.svg Ruy Ramos (Yomiuri)10
1984
Yomiuri SC (2) Nissan Motors Yamaha Motors Flag of Japan.svg Tetsuya Totsuka (Yomiuri)14
1985–86
Furukawa Electric (2) NKK SC Honda Motors Flag of Japan.svg Hiroshi Yoshida (Furukawa Electric)16
1986–87
Yomiuri SC (3) NKK SC Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Flag of Japan.svg Toshio Matsuura (NKK)17
1987–88
Yamaha Motors NKK SC Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Flag of Japan.svg Toshio Matsuura (NKK)11
1988–89
Nissan Motors ANA SC Yamaha Motors Flag of Brazil.svg Adílson (Yamaha Motors)11
1989–90
Nissan Motors (2) Yomiuri SC ANA SC Flag of Brazil.svg Renato (Nissan Motors)17
1990–91
Yomiuri SC (4) Nissan Motors Honda Motors Flag of Japan.svg Tetsuya Totsuka (Yomiuri)
Flag of Japan.svg Tsuyoshi Kitazawa (Honda Motor)
Flag of Brazil.svg Renato (Nissan Motors)
10
1991–92
Yomiuri SC (5) Nissan Motors Yamaha Motors Flag of Brazil.svg Toninho (Yomiuri)18

J.League (1993–1998)

In 1992, professional J.League was established. All teams elected to it stripped themselves of corporate identities and adopted their own names. From 1993 to 2005 (except for 1996 season), and in 2015 and 2016, the league was contested in an Apertura and Clausura manner, thus the "runners-up" for these seasons are actually the winners of one of these tournaments which lost to the winners of the playoff. The "third places" are the highest-scoring teams in the aggregate table which were not involved in the playoff. If there was no playoff due to the champions winning both stages, the third place is the second-best points earning team who are not the champions.

YearChampions
(number of titles)
Runners-upThird placeLeading goalscorerGoals
1992
Transition period; top flight clubs only play the J.League Cup, but Japan Football League plays inaugural season
1993
Verdy Kawasaki (6) Kashima Antlers Shimizu S-Pulse Flag of Argentina.svg Ramón Díaz (Yokohama Marinos)28
1994
Verdy Kawasaki (7) Sanfrecce Hiroshima Kashima Antlers Flag of Germany.svg Frank Ordenewitz (JEF United Ichihara)30
1995
Yokohama F. Marinos (3) Verdy Kawasaki Nagoya Grampus Eight Flag of Japan.svg Masahiro Fukuda (Urawa Red Diamonds)32
1996
Kashima Antlers Nagoya Grampus Eight Yokohama Flügels Flag of Japan.svg Kazuyoshi Miura (Verdy Kawasaki)23
1997
Júbilo Iwata (2) Kashima Antlers Yokohama F. Marinos Flag of Cameroon.svg Patrick Mboma (Gamba Osaka)25
1998
Kashima Antlers (2) Júbilo Iwata Shimizu S-Pulse Flag of Japan.svg Masashi Nakayama (Júbilo Iwata)36

J.League Division 1 (1999–2014)

Top flight becomes J.League Division 1 in 1999.

YearChampions
(number of titles)
Runners-upThird placeLeading goalscorerGoals
1999
Júbilo Iwata (3) Shimizu S-Pulse Kashiwa Reysol Flag of South Korea.svg Hwang Sun-Hong (Cerezo Osaka)24
2000
Kashima Antlers (3) Yokohama F. Marinos Kashiwa Reysol Flag of Japan.svg Masashi Nakayama (Júbilo Iwata)20
2001
Kashima Antlers (4) Júbilo Iwata JEF United Ichihara Flag of Brazil.svg Will (Consadole Sapporo)20
2002
Júbilo Iwata (4) Yokohama F. Marinos Gamba Osaka Flag of Japan.svg Naohiro Takahara (Júbilo Iwata)26
2003
Yokohama F. Marinos (4) Júbilo Iwata JEF United Chiba Flag of Brazil.svg Ueslei (Nagoya Grampus Eight)22
2004
Yokohama F. Marinos (5) Urawa Red Diamonds Gamba Osaka Flag of Brazil.svg Emerson (Urawa Red Diamonds)27
2005
Gamba Osaka Urawa Red Diamonds Kashima Antlers Flag of Brazil.svg Araújo (Gamba Osaka)33
2006
Urawa Red Diamonds (5) Kawasaki Frontale Gamba Osaka Flag of Brazil.svg Washington (Urawa Red Diamonds)
Flag of Brazil.svg Magno Alves (Gamba Osaka)
26
2007
Kashima Antlers (5) Urawa Red Diamonds Gamba Osaka Flag of Brazil.svg Juninho (Kawasaki Frontale)22
2008
Kashima Antlers (6) Kawasaki Frontale Nagoya Grampus Flag of Brazil.svg Marquinhos (Kashima Antlers)21
2009
Kashima Antlers (7) Kawasaki Frontale Gamba Osaka Flag of Japan.svg Ryoichi Maeda (Júbilo Iwata)20
2010
Nagoya Grampus Gamba Osaka Cerezo Osaka Flag of Australia (converted).svg Joshua Kennedy (Nagoya Grampus)
Flag of Japan.svg Ryoichi Maeda (Júbilo Iwata)
17
2011
Kashiwa Reysol (2) Nagoya Grampus Gamba Osaka Flag of Australia (converted).svg Joshua Kennedy (Nagoya Grampus)19
2012
Sanfrecce Hiroshima (6) Vegalta Sendai Urawa Red Diamonds Flag of Japan.svg Hisato Satō (Sanfrecce Hiroshima)22
2013
Sanfrecce Hiroshima (7) Yokohama F. Marinos Kawasaki Frontale Flag of Japan.svg Yoshito Ōkubo (Kawasaki Frontale)26
2014
Gamba Osaka (2) Urawa Red Diamonds Kashima Antlers Flag of Japan.svg Yoshito Ōkubo (Kawasaki Frontale)18

J1 League (2015–present)

The league was renamed to J1 League in 2015.

YearChampions
(number of titles)
Runners-upThird placeLeading goalscorerGoals
2015
Sanfrecce Hiroshima (8) Gamba Osaka Urawa Red Diamonds Flag of Japan.svg Yoshito Ōkubo (Kawasaki Frontale)23
2016
Kashima Antlers (8) Urawa Red Diamonds Kawasaki Frontale Flag of Brazil.svg Leandro (Vissel Kobe)
Flag of Nigeria.svg Peter Utaka (Sanfrecce Hiroshima)
19
2017
Kawasaki Frontale Kashima Antlers Cerezo Osaka Flag of Japan.svg Yū Kobayashi (Kawasaki Frontale)23
2018
Kawasaki Frontale (2) Sanfrecce Hiroshima Kashima Antlers Flag of Brazil.svg (Nagoya Grampus)24
2019
Yokohama F. Marinos (6) FC Tokyo Kashima Antlers Flag of Japan.svg Teruhito Nakagawa (Yokohama F. Marinos)
Flag of Brazil.svg Marcos Júnior (Yokohama F. Marinos)
15
2020
Kawasaki Frontale (3) Gamba Osaka Nagoya Grampus Flag of Kenya.svg Michael Olunga (Kashiwa Reysol)28

Total titles won

Japan location map with side map of the Ryukyu Islands.svg
Red pog.svg
Greater Tokyo Area
Red pog.svg
Keihanshin
Location of Japanese football champions
Japan Kanto adm location map.svg
Japanese football champions in the Greater Tokyo Area

Thirteen clubs have been champions, though only ten have won the title since the establishment of J. League. Of these ten, Kashima Antlers, Gamba Osaka, Nagoya Grampus and Kawasaki Frontale have never been Japan Soccer League champions.

All Japanese champion clubs still exist and are competing in the J. League; however, some may have moved from their Japan Soccer League locations they won the title at, or may have cut off ties with their original parent company.

Years in italic indicate Japan Soccer League seasons. Clubs in bold compete in J1 as of the 2021 season; clubs in italic no longer exist.

ClubWinnersRunners-upWinning SeasonsRunners-up Seasons
Flag of Hiroshima Prefecture.svg Sanfrecce Hiroshima 831965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1970, 2012, 2013, 20151969, 1994, 2018
Flag of Ibaraki.svg Kashima Antlers 831996, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2007, 2008, 2009, 20161993, 1997, 2017
Flag of Tokyo Metropolis.svg Tokyo Verdy 741983, 1984, 1986–87, 1990–91, 1991–92, 1993, 19941979, 1981, 1989–90, 1995
Flag of Kanagawa.svg Yokohama F. Marinos 671988–89, 1989–90, 1995, 2003, 2004, 20191983, 1984, 1990–91, 1991–92, 2000, 2002, 2013
Flag of Saitama.svg Urawa Red Diamonds 5111969, 1973, 1978, 1982, 20061970, 1971, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2014, 2016
Flag of Osaka.svg Cerezo Osaka 441971, 1974, 1975, 19801968, 1972, 1978, 1982
Flag of Shizuoka Prefecture.svg Júbilo Iwata 431987–88, 1997, 1999, 20021998, 2001, 2003
Flag of Kanagawa.svg Kawasaki Frontale 332017, 2018, 20202006, 2008, 2009
Flag of Kanagawa.svg Shonan Bellmare 311977, 1979, 19811980
Flag of Osaka.svg Gamba Osaka 232005, 20142010, 2015, 2020
Flag of Chiba.svg JEF United Chiba 211976, 19851967
Flag of Chiba.svg Kashiwa Reysol 211972, 20111973
Flag of Aichi Prefecture.svg Nagoya Grampus 1220101996, 2011
Flag of Kanagawa.svg NKK SC 031985, 1986–87, 1987–88
Flag of Fukuoka Prefecture.svg Nippon Steel Yawata 021965, 1966
Flag of Kanagawa.svg Yokohama Flügels 011988–89
Flag of Shizuoka Prefecture.svg Shimizu S-Pulse 011999
Flag of Miyagi Prefecture.svg Vegalta Sendai 012012
Flag of Tokyo Metropolis.svg FC Tokyo 012019

Wins by region

This is a breakdown by Japanese region, as clubs have moved cities before and even during the J.League period. Sanfrecce Hiroshima, Júbilo Iwata, Yokohama F. Marinos, Cerezo Osaka, Nagoya Grampus and Kawasaki Frontale are the only champion clubs who have always been based in their respective cities.

Note that JFA divides Japan into nine regions rather than the more traditional eight, splitting Chūbu into Hokushin'etsu and Tōkai. See Japanese Regional Leagues for further detail.

RegionNumber of titlesClubs
Kantō 36 Kashima Antlers (8), Tokyo Verdy (7), Yokohama F. Marinos (6), Urawa Red Diamonds (5), Kawasaki Frontale (3), Shonan Bellmare (3), JEF United Chiba (2), Kashiwa Reysol (2)
Chūgoku 8 Sanfrecce Hiroshima (8)
Kansai 6 Cerezo Osaka (4), Gamba Osaka (2)
Tōkai 5 Júbilo Iwata (4), Nagoya Grampus (1)

See also

Sources

Related Research Articles

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2000 Yokohama F. Marinos season

Statistics of Emperor's Cup in the 2002 season.

Statistics of Emperor's Cup in the 2003 season.

Statistics of J. League Cup in the 2000 season.

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