Nadeshiko League

  (Redirected from L. League)

The Nadeshiko League (Japanese: なでしこリーグ, officially 日本女子サッカーリーグ, Nihon Joshi Sakkā Rīgu) is the top flight of women's association football in Japan. The official name in English is Japan Women's Football League, and the league's former English name was L.League. The league consists of three divisions: Divisions 1 and 2 are named Nadeshiko League (なでしこリーグ, Nadeshiko Rīgu) and Division 3 the Challenge League (チャレンジリーグ, Charenji Rīgu). Since 2008 it has been sponsored by Plenus (株式会社プレナス), a fast food company based in Fukuoka, and are thus billed as Plenus Nadeshiko League and Plenus Challenge League.[1]

Nadeshiko League
Nadeshiko League.png
Founded1989; 31 years ago (1989)
ConfederationAsian Football Confederation
Divisions1:Nadeshiko League Div.1
2:Nadeshiko League Div.2
3:Challenge League
Number of teams32
Level on pyramid1-3
Relegation toJapanese Regional Leagues
Domestic cup(s)Empress's Cup
League Cup
International cup(s)AFC Women's Club Championship
Current championsDiv.1:NTV Beleza
Div.2:Ehime FC Ladies
Div.3:FC Jumonji Ventus
Most championshipsNTV Beleza (14 titles)
TV partnersFox Sports and Entertainment
2019 Nadeshiko League


Japan Women's Football League began in 1989. From 1993 to 1999 it adopted an Apertura and Clausura system, similar to the J. League system of that era. From 2000 to 2003 the clubs were divided into East and West groups and then the top clubs of each would go into a championship group, with the bottom clubs in a relegation group. In 2004 the single-table format was brought back.

Players from the 8 Japan Women's Football League teams would host an annual training camp to build skills and relationships between the L. League and women's international football clubs, including U.S.- and Australia-based teams.

In 2004 the L.League was renamed to Nadeshiko League, with the nickname "Nadeshiko Japan". Nadeshiko is the name of the dianthus flower and was chosen from suggestions by fans, signifying an ideal of a dutiful Japanese woman.[2][3]

Starting in the 2004 season, the L. League had 2 divisions – Division 1, with 8 clubs, and Division 2, with 8 clubs in the 2006 season. Until 2009 the league operated in the same way as the old Japan Soccer League for men, the bottom club in the second division playing off against a regional league playoff winner.

Starting with the 2010 season, the second division is divided into an east and west group of six teams each. The winners of each group are promoted. In 2015 this became Division 3, with the Nadeshiko League becoming two divisions of 10 teams each.

After Japan's World Cup win in 2011 the L. League saw an upsurge in popularity.[4]

League structureEdit

Since 2015, the Japan Women's Football League system consists of three levels.

Level League(s) / Division(s)
1  Nadeshiko League Division 1

(Plenus Nadeshiko League Division 1)
10 clubs

↓ 1 relegation spot + 1 promotion/relegation series spot

2 Nadeshiko League Division 2

(Plenus Nadeshiko League Division 2)
10 clubs

↑ 1 promotion spot + 1 promotion/relegation series spot

↓ 1 relegation spot + 1 promotion/relegation series spot

3 Challenge League

(Plenus Challenge League)
12 (EAST 6 / WEST 6) clubs

↑ 1 promotion spot + 1 promotion/relegation series spot

↓ 2 promotion/relegation series spots


First Level ChampionsEdit

Bold indicate doubles with the Empress's Cup.[5]

Total titles won by club
Club Champions Year
Nippon TV Beleza
1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
Nikko Securities Dream Ladies
1996, 1997, 1998
INAC Kobe Leonessa
2011, 2012, 2013
Urawa Reds Ladies
2004, 2009, 2014
Iga FC Kunoichi
1995, 1999
Shimizu FC Ladies
Matsushita Electric LSC Bambina
Tasaki Perule FC
  • Yomiuri Beleza was renamed to Nippon TV Beleza in 1999 and to Tokyo Verdy Beleza in 2011, when the Yomiuri Group sold its stake.
  • Saitama Reinas were absorbed by Urawa Red Diamonds in 2005.
  • Matsushita LSC Bambina was renamed to Speranza FC Takatsuki in 2000. Then, renamed to Speranza FC Osaka-Takatsuki in 2012.
  • Prima Ham FC Kunoichi was renamed to Iga FC Kunoichi in 2000.
  • Nikko Securities Dream Ladies and Tasaki Perule no longer exist.
Total titles won by region
Region Total Clubs
Kantō 21 Nippon TV Beleza (15), Nikko Securities Dream Ladies (3), Urawa Reds Ladies (3)
Kansai 5 INAC Kobe Leonessa (3), Matsushita Electric LSC Bambina (1), Tasaki Perule FC (1)
Tōkai 3 Iga FC Kunoichi (2), Shimizu FC Ladies (1)

Second Level ChampionsEdit

Year Club
2004 Okayama Yunogo Belle
2005 INAC Kobe Leonessa
2006 Albirex Niigata Ladies
2007 TEPCO Mareeze
2008 JEF United Chiba Ladies
2009 AS Elfen Sayama FC
Year East West
2010 Tokiwagi Gakuen HS Speranza FC Takatsuki
2011 Tokiwagi Gakuen HS FC Kibi International University Charme|Kibi International University
Year Club
2012 Vegalta Sendai Ladies
2013 Tokiwagi Gakuen HS
2014 Speranza FC Osaka-Takatsuki
2015 AC Nagano Parceiro Ladies
2016 Nojima Stella Kanagawa Sagamihara
2017 Nippon Sport Science University Fields Yokohama

Third Level ChampionsEdit

Year Club
2015 Tokiwagi Gakuen HS
2016 Orca Kamogawa FC
2017 Shizuoka Sangyo University Iwata Bonita

Japan Women's Football League Clubs (2019)Edit

The League consists of 3 levels. Divisions 1 and 2 are both considered the Nadeshiko League, and each are made up of 10 teams. Division 3 is known as the Challenge League and is divided into EAST and WEST groups of 6 teams each.

Nadeshiko League Div.1 (Division 1)Edit

Locations of 2019 L.League Division 1 Teams
Club Hometown(s) First Season in
Top Flight
Current Spell in
Top Flight
NTV Beleza Inagi, Tokyo 1989 1989-
INAC Kobe Leonessa Kobe, Hyogo 2005 2005-
Nagano Parceiro Nagano, Nagano 2015 2015-
Mynavi Vegalta Sendai Sendai, Miyagi 2013 2013-
Albirex Niigata Niigata Prefecture 2007 2007-
Nippon Sport Science Univ Yokohama 2018 2018-
JEF United Chiba Chiba, Chiba 2000 2009-
Urawa Red Diamonds Saitama, Saitama 1999 1999-
Nojima Stella Sagamihara, Kanagawa 2017 2017-
Iga Kunoichi Iga, Mie 1989 2019-

Nadeshiko League Div.2 (Division 2)Edit

Clubs Hometown(s)
Cerezo Osaka Osaka, Osaka
Yamato Sylphid Yamato, Kanagawa
Elfen Saitama kawagoe, Saitama
Ehime Matsuyama, Ehime
Sfida Setagaya Setagaya, Tokyo
Nippatsu Yokohama FC Seagulls Yokohama
Harima Himeji, Hyogo
Shizuoka Sagyo Univ. Iwata, Shizuoka
Bunnys Kyoto Kyoto, (Kyoto)
Orca Kamogawa F.C. Kamogawa, Chiba

Challenge League (Division 3)Edit

Clubs (East) Hometown(s)
FC Jumonji Ventus Tokyo
Tokiwagi Gakuen High School LSC Sendai, Miyagi
Norddea Hokkaido Sapporo, Hokkaido
Tsukuba FC Ladies Tsukuba, Ibaraki
Niigata University of Health and Welfare LSC Niigata, Niigata
JFA Academy Fukushima LSC Susono, Shizuoka[7]
Clubs (West) Hometown(s)
Speranza Osaka Takatsuki Takatsuki, Osaka
Cerezo Osaka Sakai Ladies Osaka
KIU Charme Takahashi, Okayama
Yunogo Belle Mimasaka, Okayama
Angeviolet Hiroshima Hiroshima
NGU Nagoya F.C. Ladies Nagoya, Aichi

Previous clubsEdit

Relegated to regional leaguesEdit



See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Plenus Co. Ltd. Supports Nadeshiko League". Plenus Co. Ltd. Retrieved 2013-11-17.
  2. ^ Alisa Freedman, Laura Miller, Christine R. Yano. Modern Girls on the Go: Gender, Mobility, and Labor in Japan at Google Books. Stanford University Press, 2013.
  3. ^ Gregory G. Reck, Bruce Allen Dick. American Soccer: History, Culture, Class at Google Books McFarland, 2015.
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Japan - List of Women Champions". RSSSF. Retrieved 22 November 2011.
  6. ^ "Goals galore on three continents". FIFA. 22 November 2011. Archived from the original on 4 March 2012. Retrieved 22 November 2011.
  7. ^ Due to the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, the team has relocated from Naraha, Fukushima to sport facilities in Shizuoka Prefecture.

External linksEdit