Shonan Bellmare

Shonan Bellmare (湘南ベルマーレ, Shōnan Berumāre) is a Japanese professional football club based in Hiratsuka, in the west of Kanagawa Prefecture, part of the Greater Tokyo Area. The club plays in the J1 League, which is the top tier of football in the country. Their home stadium is Hiratsuka Athletics Stadium. Shonan refers to a coastal area along Sagami Bay that includes Hiratsuka. Bellmare is a portmanteau of the Italian words bello and mare, meaning "beautiful sea".

Shonan Bellmare
Full nameShonan Bellmare
Founded1968; 52 years ago (1968)
GroundShonan BMW Stadium Hiratsuka
Hiratsuka, Kanagawa
ChairmanKiyoshi Makabe
ManagerBin Ukishima
LeagueJ1 League
2019J1 League, 16th of 18
WebsiteClub website
Current season


Early years as corporate teamEdit

The club was founded in 1968 as Towa Real Estate SC in Nasu, Tochigi.[1] They were promoted to the Japan Soccer League (JSL) Division 1 in 1972. They changed their name to Fujita Kogyo S.C. when Towa Estate Development gave up the ownership to their parent company Fujita Kogyo, which moved the club to Hiratsuka.

They won the JSL three times (including two doubles with the Emperor's Cup) between 1977 and 1981. They were nevertheless relegated to the JSL's Division 2 in 1990. Although they won the last JSL Division 2 season in 1991–92, the professionalization and formation of the J.League meant they did not meet the new top flight league's criteria and the runners-up, Kashima Antlers (formerly Sumitomo), were promoted instead.

1993 (JFL)Edit

In 1993, they adopted new name Shonan Bellmare. Their application to the J.League Associate membership was accepted. They played in the former Japan Football League Division 1 and won the league championship. After Hiratsuka City Council committed to finance the refurbishment of the Hiratsuka Stadium to meet the J.League requirements, J.League accepted the club.

1994–1997 (Golden era)Edit

Hidetoshi Nakata with the Asian Cup Winners' Cup trophy in 1996
Bellmare Hiratsuka 1994–1999 crest

The club was forced to change their name to Bellmare Hiratsuka because J.League required the participants to designate only one city or town as their hometown and include its name in the club names at that time. The club initially struggled to cope with the J.League opponents and finished 11th out of 12 in the first stage of the 1994 season. However, they came back in the second stage and finished 2nd. With this momentum, the club won the 1994–1995 Emperor's Cup. This title qualified Bellmare for the 1996 Asian Cup Winners' Cup, which they won by beating Iraq's Al Talaba in the final. Hidetoshi Nakata joined the team in 1995 and they also successfully recruited Brazilian-born Wagner Lopes and influential Korean international Hong Myung-bo. This is arguably the most successful period of the club.[2]

1998–1999 (Difficult period)Edit

Four Bellmare players were selected for the 1998 FIFA World Cup. They were Nakata, Lopes, Hong and a goalkeeper Nobuyuki Kojima. However, as Nakata left for Italian club Perugia just after the World Cup, the club's fortune started to decline. The main sponsor Fujita decided to discontinue the financial support in 1999 due to their own financial difficulties.[3] It forced the club to release some highly paid players including Lopes, Hong and Kojima. They finished bottom of J1 in 1999 and were relegated to J2.

2000–2009 (J2)Edit

The club made a new start. The ownership was transferred to a community-owned organisation. They also changed their name to Shonan Bellmare as J.League allowed them to enlarge their designated hometowns to include several cities and towns surrounding Hiratsuka.[3] The club's performance on the pitch has not been strong and they have not been serious contenders for the promotion to J1 so far.

A J1 comeback in 2010, if they are able to achieve promotion, will be the first without Fujita as their sponsor. Although for a time they refused to consider their history as the championship-winning Fujita corporate team in their current history, this year they celebrated the club's 40-year anniversary in 2009 as deduced from the badge in their Web site.

On 5 December 2009, Shonan returned to J1 as third-place finishers in 2009 seasons.

2010–current (Return to J1)Edit

The club returned to the J1 in 2010, but injured one after another and J2 was relegated after leaving four games. In the end, he won 21 consecutive league games. It was the worst record of J1 at that time. After that, the team will be repeatedly demoted to J2 and promoted to J1.

In recent years, the team has been steadily emphasizing. In 2014, the team made good progress in the J2, winning 14 consecutive games from the opening. The team was defeated by Ehime FC in the 15th round, but after that they lost 21 battles. J1 automatic promotion is confirmed. As a result, he won the J2 with 31 wins, 8 draws, 3 losses and 101 points in the 2014 season. In 2016, in the J1, Shonan Bellmare was the final result in 8th place, and it was the first time for J1 to remain in history. In addition, at the EAFF E-1 Football Championship 2015 held in August, Wataru Endo, who was on the team at the time, participated as a representative of Japan. In 2018, won the J.League Cup. [4]It was the first time for Shonan Bellmare to win three major titles since winning the 74th Emperor's Cup in the Bellmare Hiratsuka.

On the operational side, there was some report that the club fell into excess debt of more than 100 million yen in February 2012, and in the worst case the club itself could be dissolved (the actual amount of excess debt was 82.68 million yen). However, the debt insolvency was resolved by two capital increases.[5] In April 2018, SANEI ARCHITECTURE PLANNING, which was the largest shareholder of Shonan Bellmare, established "Merudia RIZAP Shonan Sports Partners" in collaboration with RIZAP GROUP. The new company acquired a 50% stake in Shonan Bellmare. [6]RIZAP GROUP intends to invest 1 billion yen in Bellmare over the next three years.[7]


Historically the Shonan area was part of a pre-modern province, Sagami Province, whereas Yokohama and Kawasaki were part of Musashi Province, hence Bellmare's intraprefectural rivalries with Yokohama F. Marinos, Yokohama FC and Kawasaki Frontale are based on the hard-working port cities of South Musashi as opposed to the more laid-back attitude of Sagami.

Record as J.League memberEdit

Season Div. Tms. Pos. Attendance/G J.League Cup Emperor's Cup Asia
1994 J1 12 5 17,836 1st round Winner
1995 J1 14 11 16,111 2nd round
1996 J1 16 11 10,483 Semi-final Quarter-final CWC Winner
1997 J1 17 8 7,841 Group Stage Quarter-final
1998 J1 18 11 10,158 Group Stage 4th round
1999 J1 16 16 7,388 1st round 3rd round
2000 J2 11 8 4,968 1st round 3rd round
2001 J2 12 8 4,112 1st round 2nd round
2002 J2 12 5 4,551 4th round
2003 J2 12 10 4,731 4th round
2004 J2 12 10 4,691 5th round
2005 J2 12 7 5,746 3rd round
2006 J2 13 11 5,365 4th round
2007 J2 13 6 4,677 4th round
2008 J2 15 5 5,994 3rd round
2009 J2 18 3 7,273 2nd round
2010 J1 18 18 11,095 Group Stage 3rd round
2011 J2 20 14 6,943 Quarter-final
2012 J2 22 2 6,852 3rd round
2013 J1 18 16 9,911 Group Stage 3rd round
2014 J2 22 1 8,478 3rd round
2015 J1 18 8 12,208 Group Stage 3rd round
2016 J1 18 17 11,530 Group Stage Quarter-finals
2017 J2 22 1 8,454 3rd round
2018 J1 18 13 12,120 Winner 4th round -
2019 J1 18 16 12,848 Group Stage 2nd round - -
  • Tms. = Number of teams
  • Pos. = Position in league
  • Attendance/G = Average league attendance
  • Source: J. League Data Site


As Towa / Fujita
As Bellmare Hiratsuka / Shonan Bellmare

League historyEdit

  • Kanto Football League: 1970–71
  • Division 1 (Japan Soccer League Div. 1): 1972–89 (1972–74 as Towa Real Estate Development; 1975–89 as Fujita Industries)
  • Division 2 (Japan Soccer League Div. 2): 1990–91 (as Fujita Industries)
  • Division 2 (Japan Football League (former) Div. 1): 1992–93 (as Fujita Industries)
  • Division 1 (J.League Div. 1): 1994–99 (as Bellmare Hiratsuka)
  • Division 2 (J.League Div. 2): 2000–09 (as Shonan Bellmare)
  • Division 1 (J.League Div. 1): 2010
  • Division 2 (J.League Div. 2): 2011–12
  • Division 1 (J.League Div. 1): 2013
  • Division 2 (J.League Div. 2): 2014
  • Division 1 (J1 League): 2015–16
  • Division 2 (J2 League): 2017
  • Division 1 (J1 League): 2018–

Total (as of 2017): 28 seasons in the top tier, 18 seasons in the second tier and 2 seasons in the Regional Leagues.


Current squadEdit

As of 10 January 2020.[8]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1   GK Daiki Tomii
2   MF Daiki Kaneko
3   DF Kazuaki Mawatari (on loan from Kawasaki Frontale)
4   DF Keisuke Saka
5   MF Shota Kobayashi
6   DF Takuya Okamoto
7   MF Tsukasa Umesaki
8   DF Kazunari Ono
9   FW Hiroshi Ibusuki
10   MF Naoki Yamada
11   FW Tarik Elyounoussi
13   FW Naoki Ishihara
14   MF Hiroto Nakagawa
15   MF Akito Fukuta
16   MF Mitsuki Saito
17   FW Yuki Ohashi
No. Position Player
18   MF Temma Matsuda
19   DF Koki Tachi
20   FW Yuto Iwasaki (on loan from Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo)
21   GK Masaaki Goto
22   DF Kazuki Oiwa
23   MF Akimi Barada
24   MF Ko Sawada
25   GK Kosei Tani (on loan from Gamba Osaka)
26   DF Taiga Hata
27   FW Yamato Wakatsuki
28   MF Toichi Suzuki
29   MF Hidetoshi Miyuki
30   MF Sosuke Shibata
31   GK Daiki Hotta
38   DF Hirokazu Ishihara
44   DF Shunya Mori

Out on loanEdit

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
  GK Yota Akimoto (to FC Machida Zelvia)
  GK Kota Sanada (to Nara Club)
  DF Hayato Fukushima (to Fukushima United FC)
  MF Riuler de oliveira Faustino (to FC Osaka)
No. Position Player
  MF Hikaru Arai (to Gainare Tottori)
  FW Ömer Tokaç (to Fukushima United FC)
  FW Kunitomo Suzuki (to Giravanz Kitakyushu)
  FW Yamato Wakatsuki (to FC Sion)


In popular cultureEdit

In the Captain Tsubasa manga series, one character was player of Shonan Bellmare. The midfielder Jun Misugi, which also was player of FC Tokyo.


  1. ^ Osumi, Yoshiyuki (1995). Yume no ishizue. Astro publishing. ISBN 4755508576.
  2. ^ "11年ぶりのJ1昇格を果たした湘南ベルマーレ 前例のない道を切り開く地域密着の挑戦に迫る" (in Japanese). Shonan Keizai Shimbun. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Bellmare boss' passion giving back to community". Asahi Shimbun. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  4. ^ "トーナメント表:2018JリーグYBCルヴァンカップ:Jリーグ.jp". Jリーグ.jp (in Japanese). Retrieved 10 May 2020.
  5. ^ "【御礼】湘南ベルマーレ持株会へご参加いただいた皆様へ « 湘南ベルマーレ公式サイト". Retrieved 10 May 2020.
  6. ^ "株式会社湘南ベルマーレ 募集株式発行及び株式会社メルディアRIZAP湘南スポーツパートナーズへの割当決定のお知らせ « 湘南ベルマーレ公式サイト". Retrieved 10 May 2020.
  7. ^ "RIZAPは湘南ベルマーレの「優勝」にコミットできるのか". ITmedia ビジネスオンライン (in Japanese). Retrieved 10 May 2020.
  8. ^ "2020シーズン チーム新体制及び選手背番号決定のお知らせ «  湘南ベルマーレ公式サイト".

External linksEdit