J1 League

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J1 League
J1 League (small).png
Founded 1992; 27 years ago (1992)
Country Japan
Confederation AFC (Asia)
Number of teams 18
Level on pyramid 1
Relegation to J2 League
Domestic cup(s) Emperor's Cup
Fuji Xerox Super Cup
League cup(s) YBC Levain Cup
International cup(s) AFC Champions League
Current champions Kawasaki Frontale
(2018)
Most championships Kashima Antlers (8 titles)
Top goalscorer Yoshito Ōkubo (179 goals)
TV partners DAZN (all matches),
NHK BS1 (some matches)
Website Official Website
2019 J1 League
Former logo

The J1 League (J1リーグ, J1 Rīgu) is the top division of the Japan Professional Football League (日本プロサッカーリーグ, Nihon Puro Sakkā Rīgu[1]) and the top professional association football J.League in Japan.[2][3][4][5][6][7][8] It is one of the most successful leagues in Asian club football. Currently, the J1 League is the first level of the Japanese association football league system. The second tier is represented by the J2 League. It is currently sponsored by Meiji Yasuda Life and thus officially known as the Meiji Yasuda J1 League. Until the 2014 season it was named the J.League Division 1.

History

Phases of J1

Before the professional league (1992 and earlier)

Before the inception of the J.League, the highest level of club football was the Japan Soccer League (JSL), which consisted of amateur clubs.[9][10] Despite being well-attended during the boom of the late 1960s and early 1970s (when Japan's national team won the bronze Olympic medal at the 1968 games in Mexico), the JSL went into decline in the 1980s, in general line with the deteriorating situation worldwide. Fans were few, the grounds were not of the highest quality, and the Japanese national team was not on a par with the Asian powerhouses. To raise the level of play domestically, to attempt to garner more fans, and to strengthen the national team, the Japan Football Association (JFA) decided to form a professional league.

The professional association football league, J.League was formed in 1992, with eight clubs drawn from the JSL First Division, one from the Second Division, and the newly formed Shimizu S-Pulse. At the same time, JSL changed its name and became the former Japan Football League, a semi-professional league. Although the J.League did not officially launch until 1993, the Yamazaki Nabisco Cup competition was held between the ten clubs in 1992 to prepare for the inaugural season.

Inaugural season and J.League boom (1993–1995)

J.League officially kicked off its first season with ten clubs in early 1993.

After the boom (1996–1999)

Despite the success in the first three years, in early 1996 the league attendance declined rapidly. In 1997 the average attendance was 10,131, compared to more than 19,000 in 1994.

Change of infrastructure and game formats (1999–2004)

The league's management finally realized that they were heading in the wrong direction. In order to solve the problem, the management came out with two solutions.

First, they announced the J.League Hundred Year Vision, in which they aim to make 100 professional association football clubs in the nation of Japan by 2092, the hundredth season. The league also encouraged the clubs to promote football or non-football related sports and health activities, to acquire local sponsorships, and to build good relationship with their hometowns at the grass-root level. The league believed that this will allow the clubs to bond with their respective cities and towns and get support from local government, companies, and citizens. In other words, clubs will be able to rely on the locals, rather than major national sponsors.

Second, the infrastructure of the league was heavily changed in 1999. The league acquired nine clubs from the semi-professional JFL and one club from J.League to create a two division system. The top flight became the J.League Division 1 (J1) with 16 clubs while J.League Division 2 (J2) was launched with ten clubs in 1999. The former second-tier Japan Football League now became the third-tier Japan Football League.

Also, until 2004 (with the exception of 1996 season), the J1 season was divided into two. At the end of each full season, the champion from each half played a two-legged series to determine the overall season winner and runners-up. Júbilo Iwata in 2002, and Yokohama F. Marinos in 2003, won both "halves" of the respective seasons, thus eliminating the need for the playoff series. This was the part of the reason the league abolished the split-season system starting from 2005.

European League Format & AFC Champions League (2005–2008)

Since the 2005 season, J.League Division 1 consisted of 18 clubs (from 16 in 2004) and the season format became more similar to European club football. The number of relegated clubs also increased from 2 to 2.5, with the 3rd-to-last club going into the promotion/relegation playoffs with the third-placed J2 club. Since then, other than minor adjustments, the top flight has stayed consistent.

Japanese teams did not treat the AFC Champions League that seriously in the early years, in part due to the distances travelled and teams played. However, in the 2008 Champions League, three Japanese sides made the quarter-finals.[11]

However, in recent years, with the inclusion of the A-League in Eastern Asia, introduction to the Club World Cup, and increased marketability in the Asian continent, both the league and the clubs paid more attention to Asian competition. For example, Kawasaki Frontale built up a notable fan base in Hong Kong, owing to their participation in the Asian Champions League during the 2007 season.[12] Continuous effort led to the success of Urawa Red Diamonds in 2007 and Gamba Osaka in 2008. Thanks to excellent league management and competitiveness in Asian competition, the AFC awarded J.League the highest league ranking and a total of four slots starting from the 2009 season. The league took this as an opportunity to sell TV broadcasting rights to foreign countries, especially in Asia.

Also starting from the 2008 season, the Emperor's Cup Winner was allowed to participate in the upcoming Champions League season, rather than waiting a whole year (i.e. 2005 Emperor's Cup winner, Tokyo Verdy, participated in the 2007 ACL season, instead of the 2006 season). In order to fix this one-year lag issue, the 2007 Emperor's Cup winner, Kashima Antlers' turn was waived. Nonetheless, Kashima Antlers ended up participating in the 2009 ACL season by winning the J.League title in the 2008 season.

Modern phase (2009–2016)

Three major changes were seen starting in the 2009 season. First, starting that season, four clubs entered the AFC Champions League. Secondly, the number of relegation slots increased to three. Finally, the AFC Player slot was implemented starting this season. Each club will be allowed to have a total of four foreign players; however, one slot is reserved for a player that derives from an AFC country other than Japan. Also, as a requirement of being a member of the Asian Football Confederation, the J.League Club Licence regulations started in 2012 as one criterion of whether a club was allowed to stay in its division or to be promoted to a higher tier in professional level league. No major changes happened to J.League Division 1 as the number of clubs stayed at 18.

In 2015 the J.League Division 1 was renamed J1 League. Also, the tournament format was changed to a three-stage system. The season was split into first and second stages, followed by a third and final championship stage. The third stage was composed of three to five teams. The top point accumulator in each stage and the top three point accumulators for the overall season qualified. If both of the stage winners finished in the top three teams for the season, then only three teams qualified for the championship stage. These teams then took part in a championship playoff stage to decide the winner of the league trophy.

Future (2017–)

Despite the new multi-stage format being initially reported as locked in for five seasons, due to a negative reaction from hardcore fans, and a failure to appeal to casual fans, towards the end of the 2016 it was abandoned in favour of a return to a single-stage system.[13] From 2017, the team which accumulates the most points will be named champion, with no championship stage taking place at the season's end, and from 2018, the bottom two clubs are relegated and the 16th-placed club enters a playoff with the J2 club that wins a promotion playoff series.[14] If the J2 playoff winner prevails, the club is promoted, with the J1 club being relegated, otherwise the J1 club can retain its position in J1 League with the promotion failure of the J2 club.

In November 2017, Urawa Red Diamonds played the AFC Champions League final against Al Hilal. After a draw in the first leg, Urawa Red Diamonds won the second leg 1-0 and were crowned Asian Champions. In the past 10–15 years, Japanese clubs have risen not only continentally, but also internationally. Clubs Gamba Osaka and Urawa Red Diamonds have been crowned Asian champions and participated in the Club World Cup, always targeting at least the semi-finals. Kashima Antlers were finalists of the 2016 edition and eventually lost to Real Madrid.

Timeline

Year Important events # J clubs # ACL clubs Rele. slots
1989
  • JFA forms a professional league assessment committee.
1990
  • The committee decides the criteria for professional clubs
  • Fifteen to twenty clubs from Japan Soccer League applies for the professional league membership
1992
1993
  • The J.League officially kicks off its first season
10
1994 12
1995
  • Following clubs are promoted from Japan Football League: Cerezo Osaka and Kashiwa Reysol
  • The points system is introduced for the first time: a club receives 3 pts for any win, 1 pt for PK loss, and 0 pts for regulation or extra time loss.
14
1996
  • Following clubs are promoted from Japan Football League: Kyoto Purple Sanga and Avispa Fukuoka
  • The league adopts single season format
  • J.League average attendance hits the record low 10,131
16
1997
  • Following club is promoted from Japan Football League: Vissel Kobe
  • The league goes back to split-season format
  • The points system changes: a club receives 3 pts for a regulation win, 2 pts for extra-time win, 1 pt for PK win, and 0 pts for any loss.
17
1998
  • Following club is promoted from Japan Football League: Consadole Sapporo
  • Yokohama Flügels announce that they will be dissolved into crosstown rivals Yokohama Marinos for the 1999 season
  • The league announces the J.League Hundred Year Vision
  • The league announces incorporation of two-division system for the 1999 season
  • The league hosts J.League Promotion Tournament to decide to promote and/or relegate clubs. As a result, Consadole Sapporo becomes the first club be to relegated.
18
1999
  • Yokohama Marinos merge with Yokohama Flügels to become Yokohama F. Marinos
  • Penalty kick shootouts are abolished in both divisions; however, golden goal extra-time rules stayed
  • The points system changes: a club receives 3 pts for a regulation win, 2 pts for an extra time win, and 1 pt for a tie
  • Japan Football League (former) is also restructured, as it becomes the 3rd-tier Japan Football League.
Note: To distinguish between the former and the current JFL, the new JFL is pronounced Nihon Football League in Japanese.
16 2
2000 16 2
2001 16 2
2002 16 2 2
2003
  • Extra time is abolished in Division 1 and traditional 3–1–0 points system is adopted
16 2
2004
  • No automatic relegation this season, as the top flight expands to 18 clubs in the following season
  • Inception of the two-legged Promotion/Relegation Series
16 2 0.5
2005
  • J.League Division 1 expands to 18 clubs
  • J.League Division 1 adopts single-season format
18 2 2.5
2006 18 2 2.5
2007
Note: If a Japanese club wins the AFC Champions League, the host loses its right.
18 2 2.5
2008 18 2 + 1 2.5
2009
  • Four clubs enter AFC Champions League.
  • Implementation of a 4th foreign player slot, a.k.a. AFC player slot
  • Promotion/Relegation Series is eliminated and 16th-place club is now relegated by default.
18 4 3
2010 18 4 3
2011 18 4 3
2015
  • J.League reinstates split-season format for the next five seasons.
  • J.League champion qualifies to the FIFA Club World Cup as the host for the next two seasons again.
18 4 3
2016
  • J.League champion qualifies to the FIFA Club World Cup as the host.
  • Kashima Antlers reaches the 2016 FIFA Club World Cup Final becoming the first Asian club and only Japanese club to reach the Final, finishing with the silver medal.
18 4 3
2017
  • J.League reinstates single-season format after only two seasons.
  • Urawa Red Diamonds wins the 2017 AFC Champions League becoming the first Japanese club to win this competition twice.
18 4 3
2018
  • J.League implements entry playoff between 16th J1 club and J2 playoffs winner.
  • Kashima Antlers wins the 2018 AFC Champions League becoming only the third Japanese club to win this competition. Kashima goes on to finish 4th at 2018 FIFA Club World Cup, the best performance by a Japanese club in a FIFA World Cup held overseas outside of Japanese soil.
18 4 2.5

2019 season

League format

Eighteen clubs will play in double round-robin (home and away) format, a total of 34 games each. A club receives 3 points for a win, 1 point for a tie, and 0 points for a loss. The clubs are ranked by points, and tiebreakers are, in the following order:

  • Goal differential
  • Goals scored
  • Head-to-head results
  • Disciplinary points

A draw would be conducted, if necessary. However, if two clubs are tied for first place, both clubs will be declared as co-champions. The top three clubs will qualify to the following year's AFC Champions League, while the bottom two clubs will be relegated to J2. The third club will play a playoff against the J2 playoffs-winning team.

Prize money (2018 figures)
  • Champions: 300,000,000 yen
  • Second place: 120,000,000 yen
  • Third place: 60,000,000 yen

Addition to the prize, top 4 clubs are awarded with the following funds money.

J league funds distributed to top 4 clubs (from 2017)
  • Champions: 1,550,000,000 yen
  • Second place: 700,000,000 yen
  • Third place: 350,000,000 yen
  • Fourth place: 180,000,000 yen

[15]

Participating clubs

Club Year
joined
Seasons
in J1
Based in First season in
top flight
Seasons in
top flight
Current spell in
top flight
Last title
Kashima Antlers 1993 26 Southwestern cities/towns of Ibaraki 1985 29 1993– 2016
Shonan Bellmare 1994 11 South and central cities/town in Kanagawa 1972 29 2018– 1981
Cerezo Osaka 1995 18 Osaka & Sakai, Osaka 1965 44 2017– 1980
Consadole Sapporo 1998 7 All cities/towns in Hokkaidō 1989/90 10 2017–
Yokohama F. Marinos 1993 26 Yokohama, Yokosuka & Yamato 1979 38 1982– 2004
Kawasaki Frontale 1999 (J2) 15 Kawasaki, Kanagawa 1977 17 2005– 2018
Gamba Osaka 1993 25 North cities in Osaka 1986/87 32 2014– 2014
Nagoya Grampus 1993 25 All cities/towns in Aichi 1973 33 2018– 2010
Júbilo Iwata 1994 23 Iwata, Shizuoka 1980 32 2016– 2002
Urawa Red Diamonds 1993 25 Saitama 1965 51 2001– 2006
Shimizu S-Pulse 1993 (J) 25 Shizuoka 1993 26 2017–
Sagan Tosu 1999 (J2) 7 Tosu, Saga 2012 7 2012–
Sanfrecce Hiroshima 1993 24 Hiroshima, Hiroshima 1965 46 2009– 2015
FC Tokyo 1999 (J2) 18 Tokyo 2000 24 2012–
Oita Trinita 1999 (J2) 8 All cities/towns in Ōita 2003 8 2019–
Vegalta Sendai 1999 (J2) 11 Sendai, Miyagi 2002 11 2010–
Vissel Kobe 1997 20 Kobe, Hyōgo 1997 20 2014–
Matsumoto Yamaga 2012 (J2) 1 Central cities/village in Nagano 2015 1 2019

Source for teams participating:[16]

  • Pink background denotes club was most recently promoted from J2 League.
  • "Year joined" is the year the club joined the J.League (Division 1 unless otherwise indicated).
  • "First season in top flight", "Seasons in top flight", "Current spell in top flight", and "Last title" include seasons in the old Japan Soccer League First Division.

Stadiums (2019)

Primary venues used in the J1 League:

Urawa Red Diamonds Kashima Antlers Shimizu S-Pulse Gamba Osaka Yokohama F. Marinos Kawasaki Frontale Shonan Bellmare
Saitama Stadium 2002 Kashima Soccer Stadium IAI Stadium Nihondaira Suita City Football Stadium Nissan Stadium Kawasaki Todoroki Stadium Shonan BMW Stadium Hiratsuka
Capacity: 63,700 Capacity: 40,728 Capacity: 20,339 Capacity: 40,000 Capacity: 72,370 Capacity: 26,000 Capacity: 15,200
Saitama Stadium Panorama.jpg Kashima Soccer Stadium 5.jpg Nihondaira stadium20090412.jpg Suita City Football Stadium.jpg NISSANSTADIUM20080608.JPG Todoroki 100911.JPG Hiratsukakyogijo1.jpg
Vissel Kobe Júbilo Iwata Matsumoto Yamaga Nagoya Grampus Cerezo Osaka
Noevir Stadium Kobe Yamaha Stadium Matsumoto Stadium Paloma Mizuho Stadium Toyota Stadium Yanmar Stadium Nagai Kincho Stadium
Capacity: 30,132 Capacity: 15,165 Capacity: 20,000 Capacity: 27,000 Capacity: 45,000 Capacity: 47,816 Capacity: 19,904
Inside View of Kobe Wing Stadium.jpg Yamahastafium05161.JPG ALWIN1.jpg Mizuho Stadium 1.JPG Nagoya Grampus game in Toyota Stadium 100814.JPG Nagai stadium20040717.jpg NagaiBall141214-01.JPG
Vegalta Sendai Consadole Sapporo Sagan Tosu FC Tokyo Oita Trinita Sanfrecce Hiroshima
Yurtec Stadium Sendai Sapporo Dome Sapporo Atsubetsu Stadium Best Amenity Stadium Ajinomoto Stadium Ōita Bank Dome Edion Stadium Hiroshima
Capacity: 19,694 Capacity: 41,484 Capacity: 20,861 Capacity: 24,490 Capacity: 50,100 Capacity: 40,000 Capacity: 36,906
Sendaistadium2.JPG Sapporodome201108172.JPG Atsubetsu Stadium 1.JPG Tosu Stadium 20110508.JPG Ajinomoto Stadium 20101120.JPG Ooita Stadium20090514.jpg Bigarch050423.jpg

Former clubs

Club Year
Joined
Seasons
in J1
Based in First season in
top flight
Seasons in
top flight
Last spell in
top flight
Last
title
Current
league
Albirex Niigata 1999 (J2) 14 Niigata & Seirō, Niigata 2004 14 2004–2017 J2
Omiya Ardija 1999 (J2) 12 Saitama 2005 12 2016–2017 J2
Avispa Fukuoka 1996 9 Fukuoka, Fukuoka 1996 9 2016 J2
Yokohama Flügels 1993 6 Yokohama, Kanagawa 1995 11 1998/1999 Defunct
JEF United Chiba 1993 17 Chiba & Ichihara, Chiba 1995 44 1995–2009 1995/96 J2
Montedio Yamagata 1999 (J2) 4 All cities/towns in Yamagata 2009 4 2015 J2
Kashiwa Reysol 1995 22 Kashiwa, Chiba 1995 46 2011–2018 2011 J2
Kyoto Sanga 1996 11 Southwestern cities/towns in Kyoto 1996 11 2008–2010 J2
V-Varen Nagasaki 2013 (J2) 1 All cities/towns in Nagasaki 2018 1 2018 J2
Ventforet Kofu 1999 (J2) 8 All cities/towns in Yamanashi 2006 8 2013–2017 J2
Tokyo Verdy 1993 14 Tokyo 1978 28 2008 1994 J2
Tokushima Vortis 2005 (J2) 1 All cities/towns in Tokushima 2014 1 2014 J2
Yokohama FC 2001 (J2) 1 Yokohama, Kanagawa 2007 1 2007 J2
  • Grey background denotes club was most recently relegated to J2 League.
  • "Year joined" is the year the club joined the J.League (Division 1 unless otherwise indicated).
  • "First season in top flight", "Seasons in top flight", "Last spell in top flight", and "Last title" includes seasons in the old Japan Soccer League First Division.

League table

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification or relegation
1 Kawasaki Frontale (C) 34 21 6 7 57 27 +30 69 Champions League group stage
2 Sanfrecce Hiroshima 34 17 6 11 47 35 +12 57 Champions League play-off round
3 Kashima Antlers 34 16 8 10 50 39 +11 56
4 Consadole Sapporo 34 15 10 9 48 48 0 55
5 Urawa Red Diamonds[a] 34 14 9 11 51 39 +12 51 Champions League group stage
6 FC Tokyo 34 14 8 12 39 34 +5 50
7 Cerezo Osaka 34 13 11 10 39 38 +1 50
8 Shimizu S-Pulse 34 14 7 13 56 48 +8 49
9 Gamba Osaka 34 14 6 14 41 46 −5 48
10 Vissel Kobe 34 12 9 13 45 52 −7 45
11 Vegalta Sendai 34 13 6 15 44 54 −10 45
12 Yokohama F. Marinos 34 12 5 17 56 56 0 41
13 Shonan Bellmare 34 10 11 13 38 43 −5 41
14 Sagan Tosu 34 10 11 13 29 34 −5 41
15 Nagoya Grampus 34 12 5 17 52 59 −7 41
16 Júbilo Iwata (O) 34 10 11 13 35 48 −13 41 Relegation play-off
17 Kashiwa Reysol (R) 34 12 3 19 47 54 −7 39 Relegation to J2 League
18 V-Varen Nagasaki (R) 34 8 6 20 39 59 −20 30
Source: Meiji Yasuda J1 League
Rules for classification: 1) Points; 2) Goal difference; 3) Goals scored
(C) Champion; (O) Play-off winner; (R) Relegated.
Notes:


Statistics

Championship history

Split-Season era (1993–2004)
Bold designates champions; † Single season; ‡ Same club won both stages.

Year 1st Stage 2nd stage
1993 Kashima Antlers Verdy Kawasaki
1994 Sanfrecce Hiroshima Verdy Kawasaki
1995 Yokohama F. Marinos Verdy Kawasaki
1996 Kashima Antlers
1997 Kashima Antlers Júbilo Iwata
1998 Júbilo Iwata Kashima Antlers
1999 Júbilo Iwata Shimizu S-Pulse
2000 Yokohama F. Marinos Kashima Antlers
2001 Júbilo Iwata Kashima Antlers
2002 Júbilo Iwata
2003 Yokohama F. Marinos
2004 Yokohama F. Marinos Urawa Red Diamonds

Single Season era (2005–2014)

Year Champion Runners-Up 3rd Place
2005 Gamba Osaka Urawa Red Diamonds Kashima Antlers
2006 Urawa Red Diamonds Kawasaki Frontale Gamba Osaka
2007 Kashima Antlers Urawa Red Diamonds Gamba Osaka
2008 Kashima Antlers Kawasaki Frontale Nagoya Grampus
2009 Kashima Antlers Kawasaki Frontale Gamba Osaka
2010 Nagoya Grampus Gamba Osaka Cerezo Osaka
2011 Kashiwa Reysol Nagoya Grampus Gamba Osaka
2012 Sanfrecce Hiroshima Vegalta Sendai Urawa Red Diamonds
2013 Sanfrecce Hiroshima Yokohama F. Marinos Kawasaki Frontale
2014 Gamba Osaka Urawa Red Diamonds Kashima Antlers

Split-Season Era (2015–2016)
Bold designates champions.

Year 1st Stage 2nd stage
2015 Urawa Red Diamonds Sanfrecce Hiroshima
2016 Kashima Antlers Urawa Red Diamonds

Single Season Era (2017–)

Year Champion Runners-Up 3rd Place
2017 Kawasaki Frontale Kashima Antlers Cerezo Osaka
2018 Kawasaki Frontale Sanfrecce Hiroshima Kashima Antlers

Most successful clubs

Clubs in bold compete in top flight as of 2019 season.

Club Champions Runners-Up Winning Seasons Runners-Up Seasons
Kashima Antlers
8
3
1996, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2016 1993, 1997, 2017
Yokohama F. Marinos
3
3
1995, 2003, 2004 2000, 2002, 2013
Júbilo Iwata
3
3
1997, 1999, 2002 1998, 2001, 2003
Sanfrecce Hiroshima
3
2
2012, 2013, 2015 1994, 2018
Kawasaki Frontale
2
3
2017, 2018 2006, 2008, 2009
Gamba Osaka
2
2
2005, 2014 2010, 2015
Tokyo Verdy
2
1
1993, 1994 1995
Urawa Red Diamonds
1
5
2006 2004, 2005, 2007, 2014, 2016
Nagoya Grampus
1
2
2010 1996, 2011
Kashiwa Reysol
1
0
2011
Shimizu S-Pulse
0
1
1999
Vegalta Sendai
0
1
2012

Relegation history

Only four clubs have never been relegated from J1. Among those, only two clubs – Kashima Antlers and Yokohama F. Marinos – have been participating in every league season since its establishment in 1993. Sagan Tosu were promoted to the first division in 2012, and remain there ever since. The former J.League club Yokohama Flügels never experienced relegation before their merger with Yokohama Marinos in 1999.

JEF United Chiba holds the record for the longest top flight participation streak of 44 consecutive seasons in the first divisions of JSL and J.League that lasted since the establishment of JFL in 1965 and ended with their relegation in 2009. The longest ongoing top flight streak belongs to Yokohama F. Marinos who play in the top flight since 1982 (38 seasons as of 2018).

The 1998 season

When the league introduced the two-division system in 1999, they also reduced number of Division 1 club from 18 to 16. At the end of 1998 season, they hosted the J.League Promotion Tournament to determine two relegating clubs.

Split-season era (1999–2004, 2015–2016)

Throughout 1999 to 2003 seasons, two bottom clubs were relegated to Division 2. To accommodate for split-season format, combined overall standings were used to determine the relegating clubs. This created a confusing situation, where for the championship race stage standing were used, while overall standing was used for relegation survival.

At end of the 2004 season, Division 1 again expanded from 16 to 18 clubs. No clubs were relegated; however, last-placed (16th) club had to play Promotion/Relegation Series against 3rd placed club from J2. Again, to determine 16th placed club, overall standing was used instead of stage standing.

For five seasons starting in 2015, three bottom clubs are relegated based on overall standings.

Single season era (2005–2014, 2017–present)

For the next four seasons, 2005 to 2008, the number of relegating clubs was increased to 2.5, with two clubs from each division being promoted and relegated directly, and two more (15th in J1 and 3rd in J2) competed in Promotion/Relegation Series.

In 2009, the pro/rele series were abandoned and three teams are directly exchanged between divisions. In 2012, promotion playoffs were introduced in J2, allowing teams that finished from 3rd to 6th to compete for J1 promotion place, and since 2018, the bottom two teams are relegated and the entry playoff has the 16th team play the J2 playoff winner.

Summary
Year 15th Place 16th Place 17th Place 18th Place
1998 JEF United Ichihara Consadole Sapporo Vissel Kobe Avispa Fukuoka
1999 Urawa Red Diamonds Bellmare Hiratsuka Only 16 clubs participated
2000 Kyoto Purple Sanga Kawasaki Frontale
2001 Avispa Fukuoka Cerezo Osaka
2002 Sanfrecce Hiroshima Consadole Sapporo
2003 Vegalta Sendai Kyoto Purple Sanga
2004 Cerezo Osaka Kashiwa Reysol
2005 Shimizu S-Pulse Kashiwa Reysol Tokyo Verdy 1969 Vissel Kobe
2006 Ventforet Kofu Avispa Fukuoka Cerezo Osaka Kyoto Purple Sanga
2007 Omiya Ardija Sanfrecce Hiroshima Ventforet Kofu Yokohama FC
2008 JEF United Chiba Júbilo Iwata Tokyo Verdy Consadole Sapporo
2009 Montedio Yamagata Kashiwa Reysol Oita Trinita JEF United Chiba
2010 Vissel Kobe FC Tokyo Kyoto Sanga Shonan Bellmare
2011 Urawa Red Diamonds Ventforet Kofu Avispa Fukuoka Montedio Yamagata
2012 Albirex Niigata Vissel Kobe Gamba Osaka Consadole Sapporo
2013 Ventforet Kofu Shonan Bellmare Júbilo Iwata Oita Trinita
2014 Shimizu S-Pulse Omiya Ardija Cerezo Osaka Tokushima Vortis
2015 Albirex Niigata Matsumoto Yamaga Shimizu S-Pulse Montedio Yamagata
2016 Albirex Niigata Nagoya Grampus Shonan Bellmare Avispa Fukuoka
2017 Sanfrecce Hiroshima Ventforet Kofu Albirex Niigata Omiya Ardija
2018 Nagoya Grampus Júbilo Iwata Kashiwa Reysol V-Varen Nagasaki

* Bold designates relegated clubs;
† Won the Pro/Rele Series or entry playoff;
‡ Lost the Pro/Rele Series or entry playoff and relegated

Other tournaments

Domestic tournaments
International tournaments
Defunct tournament

Players and managers

Players

Managers

Media coverage

3 matches per week will be live streamed and on demand worldwide via Rakuten Sports.[17]

Note : J-league matches on Rakuten Sports is not available in Japan, Balkan countries, Brunei, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Korea, Macau, MENA countries, Mongolia, Thailand, and USA.

Country Network
 Japan
 Austria
 Brazil
 Canada
 Germany
 Italy
 Spain
  Switzerland
 United States
 Bosnia and Herzegovina Sport Klub
 Croatia
 Montenegro
 North Macedonia
 Serbia
 Slovenia
 China China Sports Media
 Hong Kong Cable TV
 Korea NHK World (Only Japanese satellite channel broadcasts J1 League in Korea.)
 Macau TDM
 Thailand TrueVisions

See also

References

  1. ^ "サッカー用語集 (Football glossary)". JFA (in Japanese). Japan Football Association. January 25, 2017. Retrieved February 24, 2019. 「日本プロサッカーリーグ」の読みは、「にほんプロサッカーリーグ」。
  2. ^ "J-League History Part 5: Expansion, success, and a bright future". Goal.com. 9 September 2013. Retrieved 12 December 2013.
  3. ^ "J-League History Part 4: Exporting Talent". Goal.com. 9 September 2013. Retrieved 12 December 2013.
  4. ^ "J-League History Part 3: Growing pains emerge on the road to the 2002 World Cup". Goal.com. 9 September 2013. Retrieved 12 December 2013.
  5. ^ "J-League History Part 2: Verdy Kawasaki dominates the early years". Goal.com. 9 September 2013. Retrieved 12 December 2013.
  6. ^ "J-League History Part 1: Professional football begins in Japan". Goal.com. 9 September 2013. Retrieved 12 December 2013.
  7. ^ "Tokyo Journal; Japan Falls for Soccer, Leaving Baseball in Lurch". New York Times. 6 June 1994. Retrieved 17 November 2013.
  8. ^ "Japan Wages Soccer Campaign". Christian Science Monitor. 11 June 1993. Retrieved 17 November 2013.
  9. ^ "Football finds a home in Japan". FIFA. 12 December 2005. Retrieved 12 December 2013.
  10. ^ "How Japan created a successful league". When Saturday Comes. 18 July 2010. Retrieved 12 December 2013.
  11. ^ John Duerden (11 August 2008). "Asian Debate: Is Japan Becoming Asia's Leader?". Goal.com. Retrieved 19 August 2012.
  12. ^ 川崎Fが香港でブレーク中、生中継で火 (in Japanese). NikkanSports. 8 March 2008. Retrieved 8 March 2008.
  13. ^ Duerden, John. "J.League seeks to wrestle back spotlight from Chinese Super League". ESPN FC. ESPN. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  14. ^ "2018J1参入プレーオフ 大会方式および試合方式について". J.League. 12 December 2017. Retrieved 12 December 2017.
  15. ^ :J. League reveals breakdown of prize money, funds. The Japan times. 9 Feb 2017.
  16. ^ "J1 League: Summary". Soccerway. Global Sports Media. Retrieved 19 August 2012.
  17. ^ "Rakuten launches live streaming, VOD service, delivering sports content to fans worldwide". Japan Today. Retrieved 2019-06-12.

External links

  • Official Website
  • ‹See Tfd›(in Japanese) Official YouTube Channel
  • RSSSF.com - Japan - List of Champions
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