Japan Soccer League

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Japan Soccer League
Japan Soccer League logo.png
Country  Japan
Confederation AFC
Founded 1965
Folded 1992
Divisions 1 (1965–1971)
2 (1972–1992)
Number of teams 12
Levels on pyramid 1 (1965–1971)
1–2 (1972–1992)
Relegation to Regional Leagues
Domestic cup(s) JSL Cup
Emperor's Cup
International cup(s) Asian Club Championship
Asian Cup Winners' Cup
Last champions Yomiuri S.C.
Most championships Yomiuri S.C. and Mazda S.C.
(5 titles each)

Japan Soccer League (日本サッカーリーグ Nihon Sakkā Rīgu?), or JSL, was the top flight soccer league in Japan between 1965 and 1992, 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.


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 Ichihara 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.

In 1991, club owners met and agreed to disband the league, and reorganize as the professional J. League. 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.


First Division[edit]

See List of Japanese football champions.

Second Division[edit]

See List of winners of J. League Division 2 and predecessors.

League Cup[edit]

See Japan Soccer League Cup.

Konica Cup[edit]

See Konica Cup (football).

All-time JSL member clubs[edit]

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

Original 8 Clubs[edit]

Other First Division Clubs[edit]

In order of their promotion to First Division.

Famous Second Division Clubs[edit]

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

See also[edit]

External links[edit]