History of Soccer in Asia
Soccer in Russia
Soccer in Korea
Soccer in Japan
In 1993, Japan’s professional soccer league, J-League was first introduced. As of 1999, it has been comprised of two divisions called J1 and J2. While the J-League was not the first league Japan has had, it has been the main cause of soccer popularity. As a result, soccer is in competition with baseball for the nation’s top sport (Soccer In Japan).
The World Cup, coveted by many countries, was a target Japan had in sight. In 1998, Japan won against Iran 3-2 in overtime. This enabled the Japanese team to advance to the preliminary rounds of the World Cup. Unfortunately, Japan endured three losses and advanced nowhere. Then, in 2002, the World Cup tournament was located in Asia. Both Japan and Korea hosted it together. This inspired the Japanese people to become active in soccer and inspired construction companies to build stadiums used to host matches (Soccer as a Popular Sport: Putting Down Roots in Japan).
A recent development to soccer has been the addition of women. During World War I, men were away at war leaving the women at home. Soccer grew drastically during this time, but when the men came home, they argued that soccer could damage a woman’s body. Then, in the late 1950’s, equality scattered throughout the world and made its way to Japan where women’s soccer teams started to emerge. Today, the Japan Woman’s Football League is called the L. League where “L” stands for “lady” (Soccer as a Popular Sport: Putting Down Roots in Japan).
Today, one can find elementary kids running around playing soccer everywhere. There are local teams and club teams for elementary school kids. Gender is not an issue in schools. Both males and females are found competing on teams at both the junior high and high school levels. The All Japan High School Soccer Tournament is the biggest event for students where the playoff game is televised for people of all ages to watch. If a student plays in a club team, for him or her, the Club Youth Football Tournaments are the biggest events (Soccer as a Popular Sport: Putting Down Roots in Japan).
Games are not the only form of soccer entertainment in Japan. There have been many animated series created based on the sport. The most popular anime is Captain Tsubasa, a story of a boy named Tsubasa who moves to a new town and joins a soccer club. His rival becomes his friend and together, they compete in the championships. The series teaches several techniques and skills. The series has continued to this day, following the story of Tsubasa grown up and making his way to the World Cup (Soccer Anime and Manga article published in America Extra Vol. 5, No. 9, August 2002).
Duffield, Patricia. "Soccer Anime and Manga article published in America Extra Vol. 5, No. 9, August 2002." Soccer Anime and Manga article by P. Duffield. Aug 2002. 17 Feb 2009 <http://www.mindspring.com/~theduffields/resume/articles/features/soccer.htm>.
"Soccer as a Popular Sport: Putting Down Roots in Japan." Japanese Culture Now. 18 Feb 2009 <http://www.tjf.or.jp/takarabako/PDF/TB09_JCN.pdf>.
"Soccer in Japan." japan-guide.com. 17 Feb 2009 <http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2083.html>.