The J.League has been around for decades and is said to be one of the top leagues in Asia. However, the reality is that there are many Japanese soccer fans who do not appreciate the J League that much. What is the reason? I am writing an article.
- What is J League?
- What is J League Cup?
- What is the Emperor’s Cup?
- What is ACL?
- Why the J League is said to be boring
- J League is not bad
- J League can be watched online and on TV
What is J League?
J League is Japan’s professional soccer league. The J.League was established in 1993, but until 1998, it consisted of only the first division. However, with the introduction of a two-shift system, J2 was created in 1999, and J3 was launched in 2014. In other words, the current J League has a three-division system. The J League uses a spring/autumn season that starts around February and ends around December. Each league has completely different characteristics and systems, so I will explain them.
J1 is the top of Japan’s professional soccer leagues. The game format is a round-robin battle between 18 teams throughout the year, with no overtime, and the rankings are determined by points for each game: 3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, and 0 points for a loss. In the end, the club with the most points wins. In the event of a tie, the ranking will be determined based on goal difference, total points, head-to-head results, foul points, and lottery. There is a relegation system, and the bottom two teams are usually replaced by the top J2 teams. You can watch the J1 League on any service that distributes DAZN.
In the J2 League, 22 clubs play a round robin to determine the rankings. A win is 3 points, a draw is 1 point for both sides, and a loss is 0 points. In the end, the team with the most points wins. In the event of a tie, the score will be determined based on goal difference, total points, head-to-head results, foul points, and the deciding match. As a general rule, the top teams will be promoted to J2, and the remaining team will be promoted through a playoff. There is also a relegation system in which the bottom two teams are automatically demoted to J3.
In the J3 League, 20 clubs play a round robin to decide the rankings. A win is 3 points, a draw is 1 point for both sides, and a loss is 0 points. In the end, the team with the most points wins. In the event of a tie, the score will be determined based on goal difference, total points, head-to-head results, foul points, and the deciding match. As a general rule, the top teams will be promoted to J2.
There is also a league called JFL. This is a league made up of amateur clubs. In order to move from the JFL to J3, the JFL annual ranking must be in the top 4, the average attendance per game must exceed 2,000 people, and the annual business revenue must be over 150 million yen. Not only that, but you also have to not have excessive debt, which is a relatively strict condition.
What is J League Cup?
The J League Cup is also known as the Levain Cup. This cup match is considered to be one of the three major cups in Japan, but even if you win, you will not qualify for the ACL, so it is a cup match that is ranked lower than the Emperor’s Cup. All J1 clubs compete for the championship, and after playing league games, they play tournament games to compete for the championship. At the end of the J.League Cup, the New Hero Award is given to the most active player under the age of 21, and the Most Valuable Player Award is given to the player who performed the most in the tournament. The Levain Cup is broadcast exclusively on Sky Perfect TV.
What is the Emperor’s Cup?
The Emperor’s Cup is a cup competition that is treated the same as the Levain Cup and the J League, and is considered one of the three major cups in Japan, but it is ranked higher than the Levain Cup. The reason is that the winning team will be able to participate in the ACL. ACLs are explained below. The Emperor’s Cup is a one-shot tournament between J1-J3 clubs and prefectural teams called regional tournaments, so upsets are common. The Emperor’s Cup is similar to the Levain Cup and is broadcast exclusively on Sky Perfect TV.
What is ACL?
This is an extra topic, but there is something called ACL. The ACL is the Asian Champions League, and the top three teams from the J1 League and the Emperor’s Cup winning team qualify. The ACL is divided into East Asia and West Asia, with group leagues and tournaments played until the semi-finals, and the final is a battle between the champions of East and West for the championship. The winner will qualify for the Club World Cup.
Why the J League is said to be boring
Many Japanese soccer fans claim that the J League is boring. This is said to be due to the following reasons.
Lower level than major European leagues
Most of the top-level players from the J League move on to major European leagues. For this reason, it is said that the level is inferior compared to Europe’s top leagues. This is not surprising. Europe’s top clubs are like the world selection team, and their ability is better than the countries that won the World Cup. In comparison, most J League clubs are made up of Japanese players.
There are no representative players
One of the reasons why the J League is said to be boring is that there are very few players representing Japan. The level of Japanese soccer has risen so much that most of the national team’s players have become mainstays in major European leagues. If that happens, it is only natural that the domestic league will become hollowed out.
Can’t win at ACL
One of the reasons why the J League is said to be boring is that it is difficult to win in the ACL. The J League is considered one of the top leagues in Asia, but it is inferior to clubs from the Middle East and South Korea. Urawa Reds are the only club to have won the championship multiple times, but other clubs are having a hard time winning the championship.
J League is not bad
It is true that the J.League has been criticized as mentioned above, but we also need to change our perspective. This is because of the following reasons. I can’t say for sure that the J League is boring.
Functions as a training league
Nowadays, the level of Japanese players has increased, and national team players are quickly going to Europe. However, on the other hand, it also functions as a training league. Countries that neglect their domestic leagues are in decline without exception. A typical example is China. China used to spend a lot of money buying famous foreign players, but instead of getting better, the Chinese have become worse. Even if it is a league that draws players from domestic leagues, if it continues as a development league, the level of Japanese soccer will rise. That’s what the J League is for.
Absorbing other countries’ cultures
In the past, in the J League, the common style was to leave the attacking to the Brazilian players and the Japanese to defend. However, now we have foreign athletes coming from various countries. A large number of players from Africa and Eastern Europe have come to play, and by playing active roles, it has become a place where Japanese players can learn from the experiences and culture of foreign players. We have created an environment where you can step up from there.
The winning team cannot be predicted
In Europe’s major leagues, the winner is always determined, and the fans are clearly getting fed up. However, compared to this, the winning team in the J League changes every year. In the J League, there is not much bias in terms of strength, so in many cases it is difficult to predict the winning team. That’s what makes it such an exciting and interesting league.
J League can be watched online and on TV
The J.League is a very exciting league, and you never know who will win at any time. You can watch the J League live using the services introduced below. If you are interested, please go to the stadium or watch the game on TV.