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History of Japanese Soccer


Following a third edition of the event that was held in Japan and acted as a great stimulus for sport in the country, the 4th Far Eastern Championship Games was held in Manila in May.

However, the Japan Sports Association claimed that the holding of the event at the same time as school examinations would be inconvenient for a Japanese team made up largely of students, and requested that the dates be changed. When this request was rejected by the Philippines, Japan refused to participate in the Games, and even withdrew its membership of the Far Eastern Athletics Association.

With much criticism of the Japan Sports Association's attitude coming from the world of sport (this event ultimately led to subsequent organizational reforms of the association), a group of athletes based mainly in Osaka decided to form the Japan Junior Athletics Club and send representatives themselves. However, athletes were only sent to three events - track and field, swimming, and tennis - and no team was sent to participate in the soccer competition.

The domestic tournaments that had begun in Kanto, Kansai, and central Japan the previous year, meanwhile, were now entering their second year, with a number of school teams also embarking on tours to play matches against teams from other areas.

In March of 1919, a grand cup was delivered to the British Embassy in Tokyo from the FA (Football Association) in soccer's home country. The FA had heard that tournaments had been played in various locations in Japan the previous year, and had sent the cup as a present to the country. As there was still no association with authority over all of the clubs in the country, the cup was originally accepted by IOC representative and Tokyo Normal Higher School headmaster Jigoro Kano and a fellow teacher at the school, Tairei Uchino, and it was decided to establish the JFA (ultimately founded in 1921).

Meanwhile, the Czech soldiers that had been prisoners in Russia during the Great War travelled to Japan and across to the United States on their way home via Siberia after the revolution. During a stay in Kobe, they played soccer matches against teams including Kwansei Gakuin and Kobe First Junior High School.

The young players of Kobe First Junior High School, who had previously learned the English style of soccer from KRAC (Kobe Regatta and Athletic Club), were astonished to see the short-passing, central European style of play employed by the Czechs.

Japan Soccer
  • Jan German prisoners in Hiroshima play matches against Hiroshima Higher Normal School and Hiroshima Normal School
  • Mar Presentation of silver cup from United Kingdom reported in Tokyo Asahi Shimbun article
  • Mar Establishment of JFA planned by Tokyo Normal Higher School headmaster Jigoro Kano and others
  • Sep Czech army team plays matches in Kobe against teams including Kwansei Gakuin, Himeji Normal School and Kobe First Junior High School
World Soccer
  • May 3rd Copa America (South American Championship) held with Brazil taking first victory (W2 D1). Arthur Friedenreich shows particular form
    6-0 Chile
    3-1 Argentina
    2-2 Uruguay
    1-0 Uruguay


  • 2nd Japanese Football Tournament
    (Toyonaka -- 9 teams participate)
    Final -- Mikage Normal School 5-1 Meisei Commercial

  • 2nd Kanto Football Tournament
    (Tokyo -- 8 teams participate)
    Final -- Aoyama Normal School 2-0 Sakura Junior High School

National Team


  • Mar Independence movement in Korea breaks out in Seoul and other cities (March 1st Movement)
  • May 1st Japanese Junior High School Athletics Championships held at Tokyo Imperial University
  • May Peace conferences confirms Japan as mandatory power of Pacific islands north of the equator. Japan announces restoration of Shandong Peninsula to China
  • Nov 1st National Student Sumo Championships held in Sakai
  • Jan Peace conference begins in Versailles (January 18 - June 28)
  • Mar Comintern founded and holds first congress in Moscow
  • Mar Mussolini forms "fascio" in Italy
  • Oct Sun Yat-sen changes name of Chinese Revolutionary Party to Chinese Kuomintang