Emperor's Cup

The Emperor's Cup JFA All-Japan Soccer Championship Tournament (Japanese: 天皇杯 JFA 全日本サッカー選手権大会, Hepburn: Tennōhai Jē Efu Ē Zen Nippon Sakkā Senshuken Taikai),[1] commonly known as The Emperor's Cup (Japanese: 天皇杯, Hepburn: Tennōhai) or The Emperor's Cup Soccer[citation needed] (Japanese: サッカー天皇杯, Hepburn: Sakkā Tennōhai), or also Japan FA Cup is a Japanese football competition. It has the longest tradition of any football tournament in Japan, dating back to 1921, before the formation of the J.League, Japan Football League and their predecessor, Japan Soccer League. Before World War II, teams could qualify not only from Japan proper but also from Korea, Taiwan, and sometimes Manchukuo. The women's counterpart is the Empress's Cup.

Emperor's Cup
Emperor's Cup logo since 2018.svg
Founded1921; 100 years ago (1921)
Number of teams88
Domestic cup(s)Japanese Super Cup
International cup(s)AFC Champions League
Current championsKawasaki Frontale
(1st title)
Most successful club(s)Keio University (9 titles)
Television broadcastersNHK
2021 Emperor's Cup
This logo was used until 2017. However, as of 2021, it is still used for TV broadcasts.


As it is a competition to decide the "best football team in Japan", the cup is now open to every member club of the Japan Football Association, from J1 and J2 (J.League Divisions 1 and 2) down to teams from J3 (J3 League), JFL, regional leagues, and top college and high school teams from around the country. The Emperor's Cup is one of two well-known national football tournaments named after a monarch (the other is Spain's Copa del Rey).

The holder can wear a Yatagarasu emblem (the ordinary winner wears one, the E letter and the purple line above the bird, the league-cup double winner can wear the gold star and line above the Yatagarasu) and obtains an AFC Champions League spot for the next season.

Since the creation of the J.League in 1992, the professional teams have dominated the competition, although doubles, once common in the JSL, have become very rare. However, because the Emperor's Cup is contested in a knockout tournament format, the opportunity for "giant-killers" from the amateur ranks upsetting a top J.League squad is a very real possibility. For example, a major upset almost occurred in the 2003/04 competition, when Funabashi Municipal High School took the 2003 J.League champion Yokohama F. Marinos to a penalty shootout.[2] Although Waseda University was the last non-league winner in 1966, and the previous non-top tier winner was in 2011 (contested by two second-tier teams, FC Tokyo and Kyoto Sanga, with FC Tokyo winning 4–2).

Since 1969, the Emperor's Cup final had traditionally been played on New Year's Day of the following year at the National Stadium in Tokyo and is regarded as the traditional closing match of the season. Since 2014, the venue has varied due to the stadium's renovation for the 2020 Summer Olympics. The 2014 Emperor's Cup Final was not held on New Year's Day, but 13 December 2014, due to the Japan's qualification to the 2015 AFC Asian Cup. The 2018 final was held on 9 December 2018. Although an official reason has not been given, it was suspected due to the national team's involvement in 2019 AFC Asian Cup.

On 1 January 2020, first time finalist Vissel Kobe beat Kashima Antlers in the 2019 Emperor's Cup Final at the recently built new National Stadium to win the first title in their 54-year club history.[3] This was the first professional match in Japan video assistant referee (VAR) being used.[4]


The first matches to qualify for the Emperor's cup begin anywhere from April to August of that year, and varies year to year. For the 97th Emperor's Cup (2017), the games were played from 22 April 2017 and ended with the final on 1 January 2018.[5] The knockout phase of the competition begins towards the end of the year. This phase is composed of all teams from J1 League (J1) and J2, the winners from each of the 47 prefectural championships (consist of amateur teams ranging from J3 League to college teams), and 1 organizer-nominated team among all amateur teams (this was assigned to the collegiate champion until 2011).

J1 teams, and sometimes J2 team(s) also receive bye(s) in the knockout phase. In 2016, all J1 teams and the previous year's J2 champions received a bye, and AFC Champions League participants received 3 byes. In 2017, all J1 and J2 teams received a bye. However, they lose home advantage starting from the third round, unless they are facing a higher-tier or higher ranked team.

From 1965 to 1971, the top 4 JSL clubs at the end of the season qualified for the Cup and the other four spaces allotted were taken by finalists from universities. From 1972 to 1995, as the League increased in size, the entire top division teams were entered automatically, while the second tier's member clubs participated in regional stages with other clubs. Beginning in 1996, the second-tier clubs (at the time, the old Japan Football League) began to be admitted automatically instead of having to play regional stages, which in turn became prefectural stages.

Before 2008, 48 teams took part in the first two rounds – the winner from each of the 47 prefectural championships and the collegiate champion. The top team in the JFL standings and all thirteen J2 teams joined in the third round. Finally, the eighteen J1 teams joined in the fourth round, making a total of 80 participating teams.


Emperor's Cup trophy

The original All Japan Championship Tournament trophy was awarded to the JFA by the English Football Association in 1919. This trophy was used until January 1945, when the militarist government confiscated it and melted down to procure additional metal for the war effort.[6] When the tournament was reinstated, the present trophy, showing the Imperial chrysanthemum seal began to be awarded.[citation needed]

In August 2011, the English FA presented its Japanese counterpart with a replica of the original trophy, made by London silversmiths Thomas Lyte.[7] JFA President Junji Ogura expressed hope that the trophy, to be awarded at the 2011 final, would be "a symbol of peace".[8][6]

Qualification to AFC Champions LeagueEdit

The cup winner qualifies for the AFC Champions League (ACL) since the 2001 tournament, where Shimizu S-Pulse qualified for the ACL 2002–03. Before the establishment of ACL, the cup winner qualified for the Asian Cup Winners' Cup. From 2012, as a part of the requirement of AFC, the champion team must also hold a J1 Club License in order to enter the ACL (but not necessary to be a Division 1 team).

From the 2002–03 to 2008 ACL editions, the cup winner participated in the ACL that began one year later; for example, the Emperor's Cup winner for the 2005 season (crowned on 1 January 2006) participated in the 2007 tournament. In November 2007, the JFA announced that the 2009 ACL spot would be given to the 2008 season's winner (crowned on 1 January 2009), not the 2007 winner. As a result, the 2007 winner, Kashima Antlers, did not earn the 2009 ACL spot through the championship. (Nevertheless, Antlers eventually earned the 2009 ACL spot by winning the 2008 J.League Division 1.)

If the cup winner has already earned an AFC Champions League spot through finishing above third in J1 League, the last spot will be given to J1's fourth-placed team.

List of Emperor's Cup finalsEdit

Teams in bold indicate doubles with the league title, while teams in italics indicate non-top flight clubs (both after 1965).

Year Winners Score Runners-up Final venue Number of entrants
1921 Tokyo Shukyu-dan 1–0 Mikage Shukyu-dan (Kobe) Hibiya Park 4
1922 Nagoya Shukyu-dan 1–0 Hiroshima Koto-shihan Toshima-shihan Ground 4
1923 Astra Club (Tokyo) 2–1 Nagoya Shukyu-dan Tokyo Koto-shihan Ground 4
1924 Rijo Shukyu Football Club (Hiroshima) 1–0 All Mikage Shihan Club (Kobe) Meiji Jingu Stadium 4
1925 Rijo Shukyu Football Club (Hiroshima) 3–0 Imperial University of Tokyo Meiji Jingu Stadium 6
1926 Cancelled due to the death of Emperor Taishō
1927 Kobe-Ichi Junior High School Club 2–0 Rijo Shukyu Football Club (Hiroshima) Meiji Jingu Stadium 8
1928 Waseda University WMW 6–1 Imperial University of Kyoto Meiji Jingu Stadium 7
1929 Kwangaku Club 3–0 Hosei University Meiji Jingu Stadium 8
1930 Kwangaku Club 3–0 Keio BRB Koshien-minami Ground 4
1931 Imperial Univ. of Tokyo LB 3–0 Kobun Junior High School (Taiwan) Meiji Jingu Stadium 7
1932 Keio Club 5–1 Yoshino Club (Nagoya) Koshien-minami Ground 3
1933 Tokyo Old Boys Club 4–1 Sendai Soccer Club Meiji Jingu Stadium 8
1934 No tournament due to the Far Eastern Championship Games
1935 Kyungsung FC 6–1 Tokyo Bunri University Meiji Jingu Stadium 6
1936 Keio BRB 3–2 Bosung College (Seoul) Army Toyama Ground 5
1937 Keio University 3–0 Kobe University of Commerce Meiji Jingu Stadium 4
1938 Waseda University 4–1 Keio University Meiji Jingu Stadium 5
1939 Keio BRB 3–2 Waseda University Meiji Jingu Stadium 8
1940 Keio BRB 1–0 Waseda University WMW Meiji Jingu Stadium 8
1941–45 Suspended during World War II campaign
1946 University of Tokyo LB 3–2 Kobe University of Economics Tokyo Imperial Univ. Gotenshita Stadium 12
1947–48 Cancelled due to post-World War II unrest
1949 University of Tokyo LB 3–2 Kandai Club Waseda Univ. Higashifushimi Ground 5
1950 All Kwangaku 6–1 Keio University Kariya City Stadium 16
1951 Keio BRB 3–2 Osaka Club Miyagino Soccer Stadium (Sendai) 14
1952 All Keio 6–2 Osaka Club Fujieda Higashi High School 16
1953 All Kwangaku 5–4 (a.e.t.) Osaka Club Nishikyogoku Stadium 16
1954 Keio BRB 5–3 Toyo Industries Yamanashi Prefectural Stadium (Kofu) 16
1955 All Kwangaku 4–2 Chuo University Club Nishinomiya Stadium 16
1956 Keio BRB 4–2 Yawata Steel Omiya Athletic Stadium 16
1957 Chuo University Club 1–0 Toyo Industries Kokutaiji High School (Hiroshima) 16
1958 Kwangaku Club 1–0 Yawata Steel Fujieda Higashi High School 16
1959 Kwangaku Club 1–0 Chuo University koishikawa Football Stadium 16
1960 Furukawa Electric 4–0 Keio BRB Osaka Utsubo Soccer Stadium 16
1961 Furukawa Electric 3–2 Chuo University Fujieda Higashi High School 16
1962 Chuo University 2–1 Furukawa Electric Kyoto Nishikyogoku Stadium 16
1963 Waseda University 2–1 Hitachi Ltd. Kobe Oji Stadium 7
1964 Yawata Steel
Furukawa Electric
0–0 (a.e.t.) none (title shared) Kobe Oji Stadium 10
1965 Toyo Industries 3–2 Yawata Steel Tokyo Komazawa Stadium 8
1966 Waseda University 3–2 (a.e.t.) Toyo Industries Tokyo Komazawa Stadium 8
1967 Toyo Industries 1–0 Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Tokyo National Stadium 8
1968 Yanmar Diesel 1–0 Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Tokyo National Stadium 8
1969 Toyo Industries 4–1 Rikkyo University Tokyo National Stadium 8
1970 Yanmar Diesel 2–1 (a.e.t.) Toyo Industries Tokyo National Stadium 8
1971 Mitsubishi Heavy Industries 3–1 Yanmar Diesel Tokyo National Stadium 8
1972 Hitachi Ltd. 2–1 Yanmar Diesel Tokyo National Stadium 75
1973 Mitsubishi Heavy Industries 2–1 Hitachi Ltd. Tokyo National Stadium 807
1974 Yanmar Diesel 2–1 Eidai Industries Tokyo National Stadium 1,105
1975 Hitachi Ltd. 2–0 Fujita Industries Tokyo National Stadium 1,298
1976 Furukawa Electric 4–1 Yanmar Diesel Tokyo National Stadium 1,358
1977 Fujita Industries 4–1 Yanmar Diesel Tokyo National Stadium 1,421
1978 Mitsubishi Heavy Industries 1–0 Toyo Industries Tokyo National Stadium 1,481
1979 Fujita Industries 2–1 Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Tokyo National Stadium 1,494
1980 Mitsubishi Heavy Industries 1–0 Tanabe Pharmaceutical Tokyo National Stadium 1,474
1981 Nippon Kokan 2–0 Yomiuri FC Tokyo National Stadium 1,569
1982 Yamaha Motor Company 0–0
(1–0 replay)
Fujita Industries Tokyo National Stadium 1,567
1983 Nissan Motor Company 2–0 Yanmar Diesel Tokyo National Stadium 1,565
1984 Yomiuri FC 2–0 Furukawa Electric Tokyo National Stadium 1,476
1985 Nissan Motor Company 2–0 Fujita Industries Tokyo National Stadium 1,498
1986 Yomiuri FC 2–1 Nippon Kokan Tokyo National Stadium 1,612
1987 Yomiuri FC 2–0 Mazda Soccer Club Tokyo National Stadium 1,690
1988 Nissan Motor Company 3–2 (a.e.t.) Fujita Industries Tokyo National Stadium 1,786
1989 Nissan Motor Company 3–2 Yamaha Motor Company Tokyo National Stadium 1,737
1990 Matsushita Electric Industrial 0–0

(4–3 p)

Nissan Motor Company Tokyo National Stadium 1,776
1991 Nissan Motor Company 4–2 (a.e.t.) Yomiuri FC Tokyo National Stadium 1,872
1992 Yokohama F. Marinos 2–1 (a.e.t.) Verdy Kawasaki Tokyo National Stadium 2,452
1993 Yokohama Flügels 6–2 (a.e.t.) Kashima Antlers Tokyo National Stadium 2,511
1994 Bellmare Hiratsuka 2–0 Cerezo Osaka Tokyo National Stadium 2,792
1995 Nagoya Grampus Eight 3–0 Sanfrecce Hiroshima Tokyo National Stadium 2,800
1996 Verdy Kawasaki 3–0 Sanfrecce Hiroshima Tokyo National Stadium (unknown)
1997 Kashima Antlers 3–0 Yokohama Flügels Tokyo National Stadium 6,107
1998 Yokohama Flügels 2–1 Shimizu S-Pulse Tokyo National Stadium 6,317
1999 Nagoya Grampus Eight 2–0 Sanfrecce Hiroshima Tokyo National Stadium 6,516
2000 Kashima Antlers 3–2 (a.e.t.) Shimizu S-Pulse Tokyo National Stadium 6,578
2001 Shimizu S-Pulse 3–2 Cerezo Osaka Tokyo National Stadium 6,306
2002 Kyoto Purple Sanga 2–1 Kashima Antlers Tokyo National Stadium 6,418
2003 Júbilo Iwata 1–0 Cerezo Osaka Tokyo National Stadium 6,849
2004 Tokyo Verdy 1969 2–1 Júbilo Iwata Tokyo National Stadium 6,685
2005 Urawa Red Diamonds 2–1 Shimizu S-Pulse Tokyo National Stadium 5,918
2006 Urawa Red Diamonds 1–0 Gamba Osaka Tokyo National Stadium 6,390
2007 Kashima Antlers 2–0 Sanfrecce Hiroshima Tokyo National Stadium 6,161
2008 Gamba Osaka 1–0 (a.e.t.) Kashiwa Reysol Tokyo National Stadium 5,948
2009 Gamba Osaka 4–1 Nagoya Grampus Tokyo National Stadium (unknown)
2010 Kashima Antlers 2–1 Shimizu S-Pulse Tokyo National Stadium (unknown)
2011 FC Tokyo 4–2 Kyoto Sanga FC Tokyo National Stadium (unknown)
2012 Kashiwa Reysol 1–0 Gamba Osaka Tokyo National Stadium 4,927[9]
2013 Yokohama F. Marinos 2–0 Sanfrecce Hiroshima Tokyo National Stadium (unknown)
2014 Gamba Osaka 3–1 Montedio Yamagata International Stadium Yokohama (unknown)
2015 Gamba Osaka 2–1 Urawa Red Diamonds Ajinomoto Stadium (unknown)
2016 Kashima Antlers 2–1 (a.e.t.) Kawasaki Frontale Suita City Football Stadium (unknown)
2017 Cerezo Osaka 2–1 (a.e.t.) Yokohama F. Marinos Saitama Stadium 2002 (unknown)
2018 Urawa Red Diamonds 1–0 Vegalta Sendai Saitama Stadium 2002 (unknown)
2019 Vissel Kobe 2–0 Kashima Antlers Japan National Stadium (unknown)
2020 Kawasaki Frontale 1–0 Gamba Osaka Japan National Stadium (unknown)


Club Winners Runners-up
Keio University 9 4
Urawa Red Diamonds 7 4
Yokohama F. Marinos 7 2
Kwansei Gakuin University 7 1
Gamba Osaka 5 3
Kashima Antlers 5 3
Tokyo Verdy 5 3
Cerezo Osaka 4 8
JEF United Chiba 4 2
Waseda University 4 2
Sanfrecce Hiroshima 3 11
Shonan Bellmare 3 4
Kashiwa Reysol 3 3
University of Tokyo 3 1
Chuo University 2 3
Júbilo Iwata 2 2
Nagoya Grampus 2 1
Yokohama Flügels 2 1
Rijo Shukyu Football Club 2 1
Shimizu S-Pulse 1 4
Yawata Steel 1 3
Kawasaki Frontale 1 1
Kyoto Sanga FC 1 1
NKK SC 1 1
Nagoya Shukyu-dan 1 1
Vissel Kobe 1 0
FC Tokyo 1 0
Astra Club (Tokyo) 1 0
Kobe-Ichi Junior High School Club 1 0
Kyungsung FC 1 0
Tokyo Shukyu-dan 1 0
Tokyo Old Boys Club 1 0
Osaka Club 0 3
Kobe University 0 2
Eidai Industries 0 1
Hiroshima University 0 1
Hosei University 0 1
Kansai University 0 1
Kobun Junior High School 0 1
Korea University 0 1
Kyoto University 0 1
All Mikage Shihan Club 0 1
Mikage Shukudan 0 1
Rikkyo University 0 1
Sendai Soccer Club 0 1
Tanabe Pharmaceuticals 0 1
Tokyo Bunri University 0 1
Tsukuba University 0 1
Yoshino Club 0 1
Montedio Yamagata 0 1
Vegalta Sendai 0 1

Other Emperor's CupsEdit

Sumo Emperor's Cup

The Emperor's Cup term is used for many national championships in other sports, including judo (the All-Japan Judo Championships) and volleyball (Emperor's Cup and Empress's Cup All Japan Volleyball Championship). The 30-kg Emperor's Cup (天皇賜杯, Tennō shihai) is awarded to the top division yūshō winner of a sumo tournament.[10]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ The logo used in Japan is labeled 「天皇杯 JFA CHAMPIONSHIP」or「天皇杯」.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 26 October 2005. Retrieved 21 May 2006.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "AFCチャンピオンズリーグ2020 ヴィッセル神戸が本大会の出場権を獲得" (in Japanese). Japan Football Association. 1 January 2020. Retrieved 1 January 2020.
  4. ^ "第99回天皇杯 決勝でビデオアシスタントレフェリー(VAR)を導入" (in Japanese). Japan Football Association. 14 November 2019. Retrieved 1 January 2020.
  5. ^ "第97回天皇杯全日本サッカー選手権大会". JFA.jp. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  6. ^ a b "England replaces football trophy Japan melted down during Second World War". The Telegraph. 7 September 2011.
  7. ^ "FA Gives Japan New Cup". Acumen. British Chamber of Commerce in Japan. October 2011.
  8. ^ "F.A. Silver Cup to be presented to Emperor's Cup winners". Japan Football Association. 29 August 2011.
  9. ^ "サッカー日本一を決める最大のトーナメント 第92回天皇杯全日本サッカー選手権大会、9月1日(土)いよいよ開幕!" [The largest tournament in Japan for the championship – The 92nd Emperor's Cup All-Japan Soccer Championship begins on September 1!]. Japan Football Association. 31 August 2012. Retrieved 31 August 2012.
  10. ^ "Sumo Emperor Cup". Japan Times. 12 September 2018. Archived from the original on 24 September 2020.

External linksEdit