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For other uses, see Xleague (disambiguation).
X League.png
Sport American football
Founded 1971
No. of teams 60
Country Japan
Most recent champion(s) Obic Seagulls
Official website Official website

The X League is the top-level American football league in Japan. It was founded in 1971 as the Japan American Football League, and changed its name to the X League in 1997. There are four divisions (X1, X2, X3, and X4) among which there is promotion and relegation. Teams in the four-tier league are split into East, West, and Central divisions. There are two types of teams, one being a company team in which only employees of that particular sponsoring company may participate as a player, and the other classified as a club team for which anyone can try out.

Game rules are based on those of the NCAA college division in America, with the exception of the length of quarters, which are 12 minutes (the same as high school football and the NBA) instead of 15. The regular season consists of the First Stage, Second Stage and Final Stage. Teams play five matches in the First Stage, after which the top and bottom three teams are separated into two groups; in the Second Stage there is round robin play within each group of three teams. The winners of the Second Stage advance to the Final Stage to determine the teams for the Japan X Bowl. There is a spring tournament as well called the Pearl Bowl which is used by teams to ready themselves and evaluate new players before the fall season.

The Japanese national team, which has won the first and second editions of the American Football World Cup and was runner-up, finishing second to the American team, in the 2007 installment of the tournament, was made up almost entirely of players from this league.

Americans are often recruited to play for X League teams, with a strict rule of four per team. No more than two foreign players per team are allowed on the field of play at a time.

2010 X League X1 Teams[edit]

Division Team
East Asahi Beer Silver Star
Kajima Deers
IBM Big Blue
All Mitsubishi Lions
Fuji Xerox Minerva American Football Club
Bullseyes Tokyo
Central Fujitsu Frontiers
Obic Seagulls
Nihon Unisys Bulls
Meiji Yasuda Pirates
All Tokyo Gas Creators
West Panasonic Electric Works Impulse
renamed from "Matsushita Electric Works Impulse" on October 1, 2008
Asahi Soft Drinks Challengers
Suita Marvies
Elecom Kobe Finies
AS One BlackEagles
Nagoya Cyclones

Japan X Bowl[edit]

Since 1987, Japan X Bowl has decided the X League championship. Until 2002, it was known as the Tokyo Super Bowl. The winner of this game goes on to the Rice Bowl to face the winner of the Koshien Bowl, the national college championship game.


Year Bowl Stadium Winner Score Runner-up
1987 Tokyo Super Bowl I Yokohama Stadium Renoun Rovers 31-28 Silver Star
1988 Tokyo Super Bowl II Tokyo Dome Renoun Rovers 28-20 Matsushita Electric Works Impulse
1989 Tokyo Super Bowl III Tokyo Dome Asahi Beer Silver Star 14-9 NEC Falcons
1990 Tokyo Super Bowl IV Tokyo Dome Matsushita Electric Works Impulse 14-6 Onward Oaks
1991 Tokyo Super Bowl V Tokyo Dome Onward Oaks 49-10 Sunstar Finies
1992 Tokyo Super Bowl VI Tokyo Dome Asahi Beer Silver Star 21-7 Matsushita Electric Works Impulse
1993 Tokyo Super Bowl VII Tokyo Dome Asahi Beer Silver Star 13-0 Sunstar Finies
1994 Tokyo Super Bowl VIII Tokyo Dome Matsushita Electric Works Impulse 48-28 Onward Oaks
1995 Tokyo Super Bowl IX Tokyo Dome Matsushita Electric Works Impulse 54-20 Recruit Seagulls
1996 Tokyo Super Bowl X Tokyo Dome Recruit Seagulls 30-10 Onward Oaks
1997 Tokyo Super Bowl XI Tokyo Dome Kajima Deers 48-12 Matsushita Electric Works Impulse
1998 Tokyo Super Bowl XII Tokyo Dome Recruit Seagulls 45-24 Asahi Beer Silver Star
1999 Tokyo Super Bowl XIII Tokyo Dome Asahi Beer Silver Star 18-16 Kajima Deers
2000 Tokyo Super Bowl XIV Tokyo Dome Asahi Soft Drinks Challengers 20-18 Matsushita Electric Works Impulse
2001 Tokyo Super Bowl XV Tokyo Dome Asahi Soft Drinks Challengers 14-7 Matsushita Electric Works Impulse
2002 Tokyo Super Bowl XVI Tokyo Dome Seagulls 14-7 Fujitsu Frontiers
2003 Japan X Bowl XVII Tokyo Dome Onward Skylarks 13-10 Asahi Beer Silver Star
2004 Japan X Bowl XVIII Kobe Wing Stadium Matsushita Electric Works Impulse 15-6 Asahi Beer Silver Star
2005 Japan X Bowl XIX Tokyo Dome Obic Seagulls 25-16 Matsushita Electric Works Impulse
2006 Japan X Bowl XX Kyocera Dome Osaka Onward Skylarks 24-21 Kajima Deers
2007 Japan X Bowl XXI Tokyo Dome Matsushita Electric Works Impulse 33-13 Fujitsu Frontiers
2008 Japan X Bowl XXII Kyocera Dome Osaka Panasonic Electric Works Impulse 28-14 Kajima Deers
2009 Japan X Bowl XXIII Tokyo Dome Kajima Deers 21-14 Fujitsu Frontiers
2010 Japan X Bowl XXIV Tokyo Dome Obic Seagull 20-16 Panasonic Electric Works Impulse
2011 Japan X Bowl XXV Tokyo Dome Obic Seagull 24-17 Fujitsu Frontiers
2012 Japan X Bowl XXVI Tokyo Dome Obic Seagull 27-24 Kajima Deers
2013 Japan X Bowl XXVII Tokyo Dome Obic Seagull 24-16 Fujitsu Frontiers
2014 Japan X Bowl XXVIII Tokyo Dome Fujitsu Frontiers 44-10 IBM Big Blue
Team names
  • Silver Star → Asahi Beer Silver Star
  • Matsushita Electric Works Impulse → Panasonic Electric Works Impulse
  • Kohoku Finies → Sunstar Finies → Kohoku Finies → Finies Football Club → Kobe Finies → SRC Kobe Finies → Elecom Kobe Finies
  • Recruit Seagulls → Seagulls → Obic Seagulls
  • NEC Falcons (dissolved in 1997)
  • Renoun Rovers (dissolved in 2003)
  • Onward Oaks → Onward Skylarks(Combined with Skylark Skylarks in 2001) → Onward Oaks (dissolved in 2009)→ Sagamihara Rise (Remnants of the Onward Oaks formed a new team called the Sagamihara Rise (same uniforms and colors, although different logo) and played one level down in the X2 league through the 2010 season. They subsequently won the challenge game against the Renesas Hurricanes to move back up to X1 in December 2010, and will play again in the X1 Central Division for the 2011 season, with the Hurricanes moving down to X2)