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Over 100 years of time and the efforts of a great many of our forefathers been accumulated in the development of Japanese soccer into its modern day form.
2007 was the 90th anniversary of the participation of Japan in the 3rd Far Eastern Championship Games, which saw the country's first appearance in an international match. To mark this anniversary, I decided to open a Japan Soccer Archive on the internet. This work will be conducted in partnership with the ‘Kagawa Soccer Library’, which contains a great volume of material on Japanese and global soccer, and in addition to utilizing information from here, I intend to work to uncover new materials from libraries across the country, school soccer teams, soccer clubs, and fellow enthusiasts. It is also my hope to make this archive known overseas.
The opening of the Japan Soccer Archive
A look back over history and the football of our forefathers
in the hope of discovering further materials elsewhere
Having been involved in Japanese football for so many years, I, Hiroshi Kagawa, decided to create a website that would tell the stories of our footballing forefathers and introduce the events (and matches) that went down as milestones in their respective eras.
With the kind cooperation of the Japan Football Museum, I have now been able to open this, the Japan Soccer Archive.
The word ‘archive’ has been borrowed into Japanese from English, but corresponding words of very similar spellings are also found in languages such as Italian, French, and German. This term points to historical and official documents, and is generally used to refer to the deposits or other locations where such materials are stored.
A famous example in Japan is the ‘NHK Archives’, but of course this website will not contain quite the enormous volume of materials as can be found at the country’s state broadcaster. Instead, it is my hope that, with your support, my own private collection will serve as a central, starting point to inspire the uncovering of other written and photographic materials around Japan. Like a stone cast across a pond, I look forward to seeing what ripples this archive may later create.
[History of Japanese Soccer]
The first part of this archive consists of a year-by-year, chronological record.
In 1966, I worked with Shiro Otani and Toshio Iwatani ? both now sadly deceased ? to produce a book called ’50 Years of Kicking Footballs (A History of the Football Clubs at Kobe First Junior High School and Kobe High School)’. At the end of this book, I compiled a timeline encompassing some 20 or 30 pages entitled ‘Footballing Footsteps’, and in his position as chief editor, Otani kindly offered the following words of praise: “This is a fantastically well-considered piece of work that closely compares the respective histories of the world, of Japan, and of our own Kobe First Junior High School.” I wonder what he would say about this archive if he were alive today.
Although it should really begin somewhat earlier ? and details from these earlier times will be added at a later date ? the History of Japanese Soccer section will initially start from 1912: a landmark year in which Japanese athletes took part in an Olympic Games for the first time.
[Japanese Soccer Personalities]
This second part will introduce the footballing forefathers who have, through their careers, made great waves and left a lasting impact as Japanese football developed into the ‘form’ it takes today.
Thanks to the ‘Japan Football Hall of Fame’, which was founded at the behest of ‘Captain’ Saburo Kawabuchi of the Japan Football Association (JFA), there has been heightened media interest over the past few years in those who have contributed to Japanese football earlier in its history. It is my hope that this section of the Japan Soccer Archive will further raise awareness and understanding of the feats and performances of the Hall of Fame inductees and other such leading figures.
Football had already become a true international sport by the time it first arrived in Japan.
The history of Japanese football, and indeed the development of football around the world, is closely related to the histories of each country and continent where the game has been played. As I approach my 83rd birthday, it is my sincere hope that this archive will further its readers’ interest in the world and in Japanese history, and enable them to cast their eyes over the steps that modern Japan has made throughout the Meiji, Taisho, Showa, and now Heisei eras.
It is with great gratitude to the various companies that have supported and continue to support this project, and to the Japan Football Museum for their kind cooperation, that I hereby announce the ‘kick-off’ of the Japan Soccer Archive.
23 June 2008