Japan Soccer Archive

History of Japanese Soccer
Japanese Soccer Personalities
Virtual Library

History of Japanese Soccer


The Meiji Emperor, who had ascended to the throne at the age of just 15 in 1867, and overseen a period of reform never experienced before in the history of Japan, passed away on July 30. The Crown Prince Yoshihito subsequently ascended to the throne, marking the beginning of the Taisho Era.

With the moving of the capital to Tokyo following the transfer of political power from the Tokugawa shogunate back to the Emperor, the formings of a modern nation state, and the reintroduction of an imperial monarchy ideology, the Meiji Era had seen the development of an extremely complicated new form for Japan, and with the First Sino-Japanese War and the Russo-Japanese War also being fought during this time, it was certainly a turbulent period for the country. In terms of sport, meanwhile, 1912 was a landmark year for Japan, with two track and field athletes, Yahiko Mishima (University of Tokyo) and Shizo Kanakuri (Tokyo Normal Higher School), joining official representative Jigoro Kano in being the first Japanese participants in the Olympic Games, in the Fifth Olympiad in Stockholm (July 6-12).

In terms of Japanese soccer, one of the sports organizations created in Tokyo Normal Higher School in 1896 was a football club, and having been renamed as an association football club in 1902, matches were played against other schools including Aoyama Normal School, Toshima Normal School, and the Normal Higher School-Affiliated Junior High School. There are also records of the club having visited other normal schools around the country, including in Aichi, Niigata, Yamaguchi, and Okayama, to provide coaching in the summer holidays.
Individual matches between Mikage Normal School of Kobe and Himeji Normal School (1-1) were held in venues such as Tokyo and Hiroshima.

Japan Soccer
  • Apr Kanji Matsumoto, a player with Tokyo Normal Higher School the previous year, is appointed to the prestigious Hiroshima school Hiroshima First Junior High. He builds goals in the grounds and kicks balls with pupils
World Soccer
  • Jun Great Britain national team wins its second consecutive gold medal in the Fifth Olympic Games in Stockholm (11 countries participating; final result - Great Britain 4-2 Denmark)


  • Mikage Teaching School hosts First Out-of-School Football Tournament
    October 25 -- Mikage Teaching School hosts First Out-of-School Football Tournament.
    Participated in by Kobe Second Junior High and Himeji Normal School

National Team


  • Apr Takuboku Ishikawa dies
  • Jun Rice riot in Toyama
  • Jun Japan participates in the Stockholm Olympic Games. Interest in sports grows (Yahiko Mishima fails to reach finals of short-distance events, while Shizo Kanakuri withdraws midway through the marathon)
  • Jul Meiji Emperor dies
  • Sep Martyrdom of Maresuke Nogi and his wife
  • Jan British Antarctic Explorer Robert Falcon Scott reaches the South Pole but dies during return journey
  • Jan Revolution in China, Sun Yat-sen becomes provisional president in Nanjing. Country renamed as Republic of China
  • Feb Xuantong Emperor abdicates, marking the end of the Qing Dynasty
  • Apr British luxury liner RMS Titanic sinks after collision with iceberg
  • Aug First Balkan War