Shonan Bellmare

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Shonan Bellmare
Full name Shonan Bellmare
Founded 1968; 47 years ago (1968)
Ground Shonan BMW Stadium Hiratsuka
Hiratsuka, Kanagawa
Ground Capacity 18,500
Chairman Kiyoshi Makabe
Manager Cho Kwi-Jea
League J. League Division 1
2014 Division 2, 1st (promoted)
Website Club home page

Shonan Bellmare (湘南ベルマーレ Shōnan Berumāre?) are a Japanese professional football (soccer) club, currently playing in the J. League Division 1. The team is located in Hiratsuka, in the west of Kanagawa Prefecture; their home stadium is Hiratsuka Athletics Stadium in Hiratsuka. The name Bellmare is derived from the Latin "bellus" for "beautiful" and "mare" for "sea". Shonan refers to a coastal area that includes Hiratsuka.


Early years as corporate team[edit]

The club was founded in 1968 as Towa Estate Development S.C. in Tochigi city. 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 runner-ups, 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]

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.

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


Shonan's return to J1 was a brief one as they struggled at the bottom of the table all season long. Their relegation back to J2 was confirmed with four games to go.


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.

Other historical rivals have been Cerezo Osaka, Urawa Red Diamonds and Júbilo Iwata.

Record as J. League member[edit]

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 - -
  • Tms. = Number of teams
  • Pos. = Position in league
  • Attendance/G = Average league attendance


Towa / Fujita[edit]

  • All Japan Vase: (1) 1971
  • Japan Soccer League: (3) 1977, 1979, 1981
  • JSL Cup: (1) 1973
  • Emperor's Cup: (2) 1977, 1979

Bellmare Hiratsuka / Shonan Bellmare[edit]

League history[edit]

  • 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–

Total (as of 2013): 26 seasons in the top tier, 16 seasons in the second tier and 2 seasons in the Regional Leagues.


Current squad[edit]

As of January 13, 2015

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

No. Position Player
1 Japan GK Yota Akimoto
2 Japan DF Shunsuke Kikuchi
3 Japan DF Wataru Endo
4 Brazil DF André Bahia
5 Japan MF Shota Kobayashi
6 Japan MF Ryota Nagaki
7 Japan MF Yohei Otake
8 Japan MF Naoki Yamada (on loan from Urawa Reds)
9 Brazil FW Bruno César
10 Japan MF Daisuke Kikuchi
11 Japan FW Yoshihito Fujita
13 Japan DF Kenta Hiroya
14 Japan MF Seiya Fujita
15 South Korea DF Kim Jong-pil
No. Position Player
16 Japan MF Toshiki Ishikawa
17 Japan DF Yuto Misao
18 Brazil FW Alison
19 Japan FW Shuhei Otsuki
20 Japan DF Keisuke Tsuboi
21 Japan GK Yuji Kajikawa
22 Japan FW Shohei Okada (on loan from Sagan Tosu)
23 Japan MF Kaoru Takayama
24 Japan DF Ryohei Okazaki
25 South Korea GK Lee Ho-seung
26 Japan MF Masataka Kani
27 Japan MF Kosuke Shirai
30 Japan DF Tsuyoshi Shimamura
48 Japan MF Eijiro Takeda

Out on loan[edit]

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

No. Position Player
Japan DF Shota Fukuoka (to Fukushima United)
Japan DF Masashi Kamekawa (to Avispa Fukuoka)
Japan MF Akira Ando (to Fukushima United)
Japan MF Ken Iwao (to Mito HollyHock)
No. Position Player
Japan MF Ryota Kajikawa (to V-Varen Nagasaki)
Japan MF Naoki Maeda (to Fukushima United)
Japan FW Tsuyoshi Miyaichi (to Mito HollyHock)
Japan FW Shota Tamura (to Fukushima United)

World Cup footballers[edit]


Manager Nat. Tenure
Hisashi Kato  Japan 2000
Masaaki Kanno  Japan June 5, 2006–Dec 31, 2008
Yasuharu Sorimachi  Japan Jan 1, 2009–Dec 31, 2011
Cho Kwi-jea  South Korea Jan 1, 2012–

External links[edit]