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History of Japanese Soccer


In China, the National Government Army of Chiang Kai-shek continued to oppress the Communist Party of China troops led by Zhu De and Mao Zedong, and Japan joined Germany and Italy in formally recognising the National Government of China.

A major round up of Communist Party members took place across Japan in April as the ideological suppression grew ever more intense.

Thursday, October 24 of this year became known as "Black Thursday", when the New York stock market suffered a major crash that provoked the beginning of the Great Depression across the world.

Despite the major waves breaking out in society, sport in Japan was still riding high following the country's gold medal successes at the Amsterdam Olympic Games the previous year (Mikio Oda in the triple jump, Yoshiyuki Tsuruta in the 200m breaststroke), and began its preparations towards the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

As for football, a major reform took place within the JFA under the presidency of Jikichi Imamura.

Since its foundation in 1921, alumni of the pioneering Tokyo Normal Higher School had always been at the heart of JFA operations. However, a desire for further participation on the international stage, improved levels of performance in universities, and general improvements across the board had led to growing calls for an executive election, and of the nine board members chosen when an election was finally held in June 1928, only two had any connection with Tokyo Normal Higher School. With the other seven new members being alumni of other universities, the face of the board had changed dramatically.

At the time, the JFA (still formally known as the Greater Japan Football Association) had ten different branch offices throughout the Japanese territory, in the Hokkaido, Tohoku, Kanto, Tokai, Keihan, Central (Shikoku), Kyushu, and Korea regions. The total number of 302 affiliated teams was almost five times as great as when the association was founded (with 65 teams).

The Meiji Shrine Outer Garden Stadium had already been constructed in Tokyo in 1924, and this was used as a venue for major football matches. In Kansai, the Koshien Stadium had been built by Hanshin Electric Railway Co., Ltd. the same year, and its spacious outfield had allowed it to be used as a venue for rugby and football matches. However, the company then set about building the Koshien South Sports Ground, and the construction of a new venue equipped with a 500m track, a grass field for football and rugby, and reinforced concrete stands was completed on May 22. Koshien had now become a major sporting center, with its facilities including baseball stadium, swimming pool, and tennis courts. Also in 1929, Kinki Nippon Railway (Kintetsu) began the construction of a dedicated rugby stadium at Hanazono.

Meanwhile, a major decision was made in terms of global football.

At a meeting in Zurich on September 8, 1928, FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association) had decided to "hold a tournament to be known as the World Cup every four years, starting from 1930". A meeting to decide the host of the 1930 tournament was held in Barcelona over May 17 and 18, and it was Uruguay that was confirmed as the host of the first ever World Cup.

Japan Soccer
  • Jan Waseda High School achieves its third title victory in the 6th All-Japan High School Football Tournament
  • Jan The third All-Japan Junior High School Football Championship Tournament to be contested by eight regional representatives (and the 11th edition overall, including the Japanese Football Tournaments) is won by Mikage Normal School (Hyogo and Sanin region). The final sees a fierce battle against Pyongyang Soongsil (Korean representatives), with Mikage winning 6-5 after extra time
  • May Construction of the Koshien South Sports Ground is completed
  • Jun Executive election held within Greater Japan Football Association (JFA) President – Jikichi Imamura Standing Director – Shigeyoshi Suzuki (alumnus of Waseda University) Board Members – Junjiro Yoshikawa (alumnus of Toshima Normal School), Yuzuru Nozu (Waseda University), Goro Yamada (Aoyama Normal School), Masato Chino (Keio University), Michio Izome (Meiji University), Michio Nakajima (University of Tokyo), Haruo Minegishi (Tokyo University of Agriculture), Shigemaru Takenokoshi (University of Tokyo)
  • Oct Kwansei Gakuin University takes the title in the 7th Kansai Student League for the fourth year in a row. The university also wins the 9th All-Japan Championship Tournament (now the Emperor's Cup)/Meiji Shrine Tournament
  • Nov The University of Tokyo wins its fourth straight title in the 6th Kanto University League. Wins all five games, scoring 30 goals and conceding six
  • Dec The University of Tokyo faces Kwansei Gakuin University in the 1st East-West University 1st Place Challenge Match, inaugurated this year. University of Tokyo wins 3-2
World Soccer
  • May The English national team visits Spain, and loses 4-3 against the Spanish national team in Madrid on May 15
    England had begun a week's tour of Europe by beating France (4-1) and had gone to Madrid on the back of another victory over Belgium (5-1), but the strong dribbling skills exhibited by Spain enabled them to inflict England's first defeat
  • May FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association) holds a conference in Barcelona (17th and 18th), and decides upon Uruguay as the host nation for the 1st World Cup, to be held in 1930


  • 6th All-Japan High School Football Tournament
    Waseda High School takes title for the third time following successes in 1st and 2nd editions (January 1-6, 19 schools participate * Formerly Inter-High)
    1st round 4-0 Fifth High School
    2nd round 1-0 Yamaguchi High School
    Quarter-final 2-1 Urawa High School
    Semi-final 3-0 Seijo High School
    Final 3-2 (after extra time) Sixth High School

  • 11th All-Japan Junior High School Football Championship Tournament(Currently, High School Championship)
    Mikage Normal School takes victory. Ninth title overall; third edition with regional qualifying system (January 5-7, Koshien Stadium * Formerly Japanese Football Tournament)
    1st round 11-0 Shiga Normal School
    Semi-final 4-2 Aoyama Normal School
    Final 6-5 Pyongyang Soongsil

  • 7th Kansai Student League(Currently, Kansai Student League)
    Kwansei Gakuin University takes victory (October 2 - November 24)
    (1) Kwansei Gakuin University W5
    (2) Kyoto University W4 L1
    (3) Kansai University W2 L3
    (4) Kobe University of Commerce W2 L3
    (5) Osaka Institute of Technology W2 L3
    (6) Osaka University of Foreign Studies L4

  • 9th All-Japan Championship Tournament/5th Meiji Shrine Tournament(Currently, Emperor's Cup)
    Kwansei Gakuin Club takes victory (October 28 - November 1, Meiji Shrine Stadium, Tokyo)
    1st round 6-0 Toyama Normal School
    Semi-final 5-0 Hosho
    Final 3-0 Hosei University

  • 6th Kanto University League
    (1) University of Tokyo W5
    (2) Meiji University W3 L2
    (3) Waseda University W2 D1 L2
    (4) Keio University W2 L3
    (5) Tokyo Bunri University W1 D1 L3
    (6) Tokyo University of Agriculture W1 L4

  • 1st East-West University 1st Place Challenge Match (University Championship Play-Off)
    December 25 University of Tokyo 3-2 Kwansei Gakuin University

National Team


  • Mar House of Representatives approves a "Revision to the Peace Preservation Law" following an emergency imperial edict issued the previous June
  • Mar Former representative of the Labour-Farmer Party, Senji Yamamoto (41), is killed by a right-wing assassin
    The Kyoto-born biologist was a social activist who opposed the revision to the Peace Preservation Law
  • Apr Hankyu Department Store opens in Umeda, Osaka. First real terminal department store
  • Apr Major round up of Japanese Communist Party members (April 16 Incident)
  • May An agreement is reached regarding the Jinan Incident the previous year, and Japanese troops withdraw from the region
  • Jun National Government of China is formally recognised by the Japanese government
  • Jul Giichi Tanaka and his cabinet resign en masse - the Kwantung Army's plot to blow up the train carrying Zhang Zuolin in the north-east of China (Manchuria) the previous year had been exposed, but the lenient punishment given to its key conspirator, Colonel Daisaku Komoto, attracted the displeasure of the Japanese Emperor. Prime Minister (and president of the Seiyukai (Friends of Constitutional Government) party) Tanaka announces the mass resignation of his cabinet, and a new cabinet is formed with Osachi Hamaguchi of the Minseito (Constitutional Democratic Party) as prime minister
  • Aug German Zeppelin airships arrive in Japan
  • Oct Ministry of Finance issues decree to repeal the gold embargo
  • Jan Leon Trotsky, one of the promoters of Soviet revolution, is deported out of the Soviet Union (Trotsky had been one of the key figures of the Russian Revolution of 1917, but his opinions opposed those of Joseph Stalin, who had become General Secretary of the Communist Party in 1922)
  • Mar Herbert Hoover (Republican) is inaugurated as the 31st President of the United States of America
  • Apr The National Government of the Republic of China demands that extraterritoriality for citizens of others countries is abolished
  • Aug German Zeppelin airship successfully circumnavigates the globe
  • Aug Riots break out at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Clashes between Arabs and Jews
  • Oct Shares crash at Wall Street, New York (Black Thursday). Start of the Great Depression