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History of Japanese Soccer


The signs of defeat had been growing stronger in the Great War in Europe for Germany, which finally surrendered in and saw the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II in November. The battle, which had raged for more than four years since 1914, was finally at an end. Austria-Hungary, which had fought on the German side, saw the abdication of Charles I and dissolution into two separate republics, bringing an end to the great empire and the rule of the Hapsburg dynasty.

The impact of the proletarian revolution in Russia was being felt around the world, with vociferous debate about "the people, or the will of the people" even in Japan.

The Japanese government did not recognize the revolutionary government, and dispatched troops to Siberia (in the far east of Russia) with the reason of protecting the residents of Vladivostock. Since the United States and other countries had moved to rescue the Czech army troops that had been in Russia during this time, Japan sent its forces to Siberia in August. Japan sent more than 70,000 troops - considerably more that the total dispatched by the five nations of the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, and China – but the government and the army's ideas were met with the disapproval of many soldiers and members of the general public (troops were ultimately withdrawn in 1922).

Indeed, for many of the population, the rice riots in August were more of a source of interest. The riots, which had begun in Toyama Prefecture as a result of abnormal rises in rice prices, had extended to Kyoto, Nagoya, and a total of 37 cities across the country. The problems were so severe that the National Junior High School Baseball Championship that summer had to be cancelled.

In China, after the end of the Qing Dynasty and the death of the next significant force, Yuan Shikai, a standoff had deepened between the Beijing government and the military in the south, with a lack of cohesion and continued confusion persisting in both. The fact that Sun Yat-sen, who held power in Guangdong (Guangzhou), had sought exile in Japan was testament to this.

Even in a society experiencing such movements, passion for sport continued to rise, with footballers in Japan playing in new tournaments in Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka in January and February.

Tokyo hosted the 1st Kanto Football Tournament, Nagoya hosted the 1st Tokai Football Tournament, while the 1st Japanese Football Tournament was held in Toyonaka, Osaka.

As the spread of soccer, which was now being played in schools across the country, gained further momentum through these tournaments, the seeds were sown for the founding of the Japanese Football Association (JFA).

Japan Soccer
  • Jan 1st Tokai Football Tournament held in Nagoya
  • Jan 1st Japanese Football Tournament held in Osaka
  • Feb 1st Kanto Football Tournament held in Tokyo
World Soccer
  • May Wartime football in England brought to an end. Regular competition restarts from 1919-20 season
  • May 1st Coupe de France final. Olympique de Pantin Paris 3-0 FC Lyon


  • 1st Tokai Football Tournament
    Hachiko wins(Nagoya)
    Participants include Hachiko, Meirin Junior High School, Aichi First Normal School, Aichi First Junior High School. Four-team league

  • 1st Japanese Football Tournament
    Final -- Mikage Normal School 1-0 Meisei Commercial
    Eight teams participate -- Meisei Commercial, Kwansei Gakuin High School, Nara Normal School, Himeji Normal School, Kyoto Normal School, Sakai Junior High School, Kobe First Junior High School

  • 1st Kanto Football Tournament
    Final -- Toshima Normal School A 2-1 Toshima Normal School B
    Eight teams participate -- Toshima (A, B), Aoyama (A, B), Saitama Normal Schools, Meiji Gakuin Junior High School, Yokohama Second Junior High School, Sakura Junior High School. Knockout system employed

National Team


  • May Sun Yatsen seeks exile in Japan
  • Jul Building started on Tanna Tunnel (completed in 1933)
  • Aug Troops sent to Siberia
  • Aug Rice riots
  • Jan Beijing government orders punitive expedition on southern army
  • Feb Trotsky and the Russian Soviet government announces the end of war with Germany and Austria
  • Mar Czech army in Russia rebels against Soviets
  • Oct Hungary separated from Austria
  • Nov German navy troops strike in the port of Kiel
  • Nov Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicates and flees to the Netherlands. Germany signs armistices with the Allied Powers and World War I comes to an end