Japan Soccer League

Japan Soccer League (日本サッカーリーグ, Nihon Sakkā Rīgu), or JSL, was the top flight football league in Japan between 1965 and 1991/92, and was the precursor to the current professional league, the J. League. JSL was the second national league of a team sport in Japan after the professional Japanese Baseball League that was founded in 1936. JSL was the first-ever national league of an amateur team sport in Japan.

Japan Soccer League (JSL)
Japan Soccer League logo.png
Founded1965
Folded1992
Country Japan
ConfederationAFC
Divisions1 (1965–1971)
2 (1972–1991/92)
Number of teams12
Level on pyramid1 (1965–1971)
1–2 (1972–1991/92)
Relegation toRegional Leagues
Domestic cup(s)Emperor's Cup
JSL Cup
International cup(s)Asian Club Championship
Asian Cup Winners' Cup
Last championsYomiuri
(1991/92)
Most championshipsMazda, Yomiuri (5 titles)

HistoryEdit

Each JSL team represented a corporation, and like Japanese baseball teams, went by the name of the company that owned the team. Unlike in baseball, however, promotion and relegation was followed, as J. League follows today. The players were officially amateur and were employees of the parent corporations, but especially in later years, top players were generally paid strictly to play soccer.

Originally the JSL consisted of a single division only, but in 1972 a Second Division was added. Clubs could join in by winning the All Japan Senior Football Championship cup competition and then winning a promotion/relegation series against the bottom teams in the JSL. From 1973 to 1980, both the champions and runners-up of the Second Division had to play the promotion/relegation series against the First Division's bottom clubs; afterwards and until 1984, only the runners-up had to play the series.

Top JSL teams included Hitachi Ltd., Furukawa Electric, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Nissan Motors, Toyo Industries (Mazda) and Yomiuri Shimbun, which are now, respectively, Kashiwa Reysol, JEF United Chiba, Urawa Red Diamonds, Yokohama F. Marinos, Sanfrecce Hiroshima and Tokyo Verdy. Furukawa/JEF United was the only one never to be relegated to the Second Division and kept this distinction until 2009.

JSL played its final season in 1991/92 and the J. League began play in 1993. Top nine JSL clubs, (along with the independent Shimizu S-Pulse) became the original J. League members. The others except Yomiuri Junior who merged with their parent club Yomiuri Club joined the newly formed Japan Football League.

ChampionsEdit

First DivisionEdit

All clubs are listed under the names they were using in 1991/92, when the league ceased to exist. Clubs in italic no longer exist.

Club Winners Runners-up Winning Seasons Runners-up Seasons
Yomiuri SC 5 3 1983, 1984, 1986/87, 1990/91, 1991/92 1979, 1981, 1989/90
Mazda SC 5 1 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1970 1969
Mitsubishi Motors 4 6 1969, 1973, 1978, 1982 1970, 1971, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977
Yanmar Diesel 4 4 1971, 1974, 1975, 1980 1968, 1972, 1978, 1982
Fujita SC 3 1 1977, 1979, 1981 1980
Nissan Motors 2 4 1988/89, 1989/90 1983, 1984, 1990/91, 1991/92
JR East Furukawa 2 1 1976, 1985 1967
Hitachi SC 1 1 1972 1973
Yamaha Motors 1 0 1987/88
NKK SC 0 3 1985, 1986/87, 1987/88
Nippon Steel Yawata 0 2 1965, 1966
ANA SC 0 1 1988/89

Second DivisionEdit

All clubs are listed under the names they were using in 1991/92, when the league ceased to exist. Clubs in italic no longer exist.

Club Winners Runners-up Winning seasons Runners-up seasons
Yomiuri SC
2
2
1974, 1977 1975, 1976
Sumitomo Metal Industries
2
2
1984, 1986 1983, 1991/92
Toshiba SC
2
1
1979, 1988/89 1982
Honda Motors
2
0
1978, 1980
NKK SC
2
0
1981, 1983
Toyota Motors
1
2
1972 1986, 1989/90
Fujitsu SC
1
2
1976 1974, 1980
Tanabe Pharmaceuticals
1
1
1975 1972
Yamaha Motors
1
1
1982 1979
Matsushita Electric
1
1
1985 1987
ANA SC
1
1
1987 1984
Hitachi SC
1
1
1990/91 1988/89
Eidai Industries
1
0
1973
Mitsubishi Motors
1
0
1989/90
Fujita SC
1
0
1991/92
Nissan Motors 0 3 1977, 1978, 1981
Mazda SC
0
2
1985, 1990/91
Kofu SC
0
1
1973

League CupEdit

See Japan Soccer League Cup.

Konica CupEdit

See Konica Cup (football).

All-time JSL member clubsEdit

Current J. League identity and/or standing in the Japanese football league system follows each name.

Original 8 ClubsEdit

Other First Division ClubsEdit

In order of their promotion to First Division.

Famous Second Division ClubsEdit

Many of these clubs would only be promoted to the top flight after the J. League was created.

All-time JSL First Division tableEdit

A total of 22 teams played in the JSL First Division between 1965 and 1991/92. 15 of these became professional J. League clubs; the rest were relegated to the regional leagues and/or folded.

Despite Mazda and Yomiuri's record 5 titles, Mitsubishi holds the record on points. Furukawa Electric holds the record for most seasons, all 27 the JSL played, having never been relegated.

Name changes made outside First Division play and following the advent of the J. League system are not mentioned; see individual club pages for more information. "Current division" means standing in the Japanese league system as of 2020 season.

Pos. Club Seasons Pts GP W D L GF GA GD Titles Current division
1 Mitsubishi 26 750 460 211 117 132 682 507 175 4 J1 League
2 Furukawa 27 731 482 203 122 157 705 596 109 2 J2 League
3 Yanmar 26 703 460 195 118 147 679 570 109 4 J1 League
4 Hitachi 24 543 416 151 90 175 581 608 -27 1 J1 League
4 Mazda 22 543 376 149 96 131 526 424 102 5 J1 League
6 Fujita 18 520 340 144 88 108 495 372 123 3 J1 League
7 Yomiuri 14 503 280 144 71 65 481 286 195 5 J2 League
8 NKK 21 396 378 98 102 178 404 601 -197 - defunct
9 Nippon Steel 17 385 274 110 55 109 433 406 27 - defunct
10 Nissan 12 384 244 109 57 78 315 284 31 2 J1 League
11 Yamaha 11 322 226 86 64 76 255 249 6 1 J2 League
12 Honda 11 289 226 72 73 81 251 267 -16 - JFL
13 ANA 5 139 110 38 25 47 131 145 -14 - defunct
14 Panasonic 5 128 110 31 35 44 122 152 -30 - J1 League
15 Toyota 8 105 156 24 33 99 128 363 -235 - J1 League
16 Toshiba 3 82 66 19 25 22 72 76 -4 - J1 League
17 Eidai 3 69 54 19 12 23 67 83 -16 - defunct
18 Sumitomo 3 60 66 15 15 36 50 101 -51 - J1 League
19 Nagoya Bank 6 38 84 9 11 64 76 210 -134 - Prefectural D3
20 Fujitsu 2 28 36 6 10 20 32 67 -35 - J1 League
21 Toyota ALW 3 20 42 4 8 30 38 112 -74 - Tokai League D2
22 Tanabe 1 4 18 1 1 16 7 51 -44 - defunct

Points system:

In this ranking, 3 points are awarded for a win, 1 for a draw, and 0 for a loss, regardless of the transition of regulation through the time as below.

  • 1965–1976, 1980–1987/88: 2 points for a win, 1 per draw, 0 per loss
  • 1977–1979: 4 points for a regular time, 2 for winning penalty shootout after a draw, 1 for a penalty shootout loss, 0 for a regular time loss
  • 1988/89–1991/92: 3 points for a win, 1 per draw, 0 per loss

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit