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Three sumo wrestlers standing in the ring, with formal aprons.
Sports Year
  1. Two National Soccer Tournaments
  2. Ekiden Road Race
  3. Rugby Football Games in Winter
  4. Skiing and Skating
  5. Sumo
  6. Midwinter Training and Traditional Martial Arts
  7. J League Soccer
  8. Mountain-opening and Beach-opening
  9. Fishing
  10. Motor Sports
  11. High School Baseball
  12. National Sports Festival
  13. Japan Baseball Series
  14. Viewing Autumn Leaves and Hiking
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Thousands of people in a large stadium, watching a soccer game
J League soccer stadiums can be quite large.
Photo from Jubi-Jubi.
J League Soccer
In March, Japan’s professional soccer league, J-League, starts its regular season. Soccer was introduced to Japan for the first time in 1876 (the 6th year of Meiji). It is said that a British Navy soccer team taught the Japanese how to play. Even though the history of soccer in Japan is more than 100 years old, Japan’s first professional soccer league, J-League, was not established until 1993. J-League actually consists of two different leagues; both are for professional male players. In 2004, sixteen teams belong to its top league, J1, while twelve teams belong to its second league, J2. Each league has more than 200 regular season matches. Just after the regular season, two or three J2 league teams will join J1, and one J1 league team may have to transfer to J2. This team exchange between J1 and J2 is based on the result of the regular season matches and play-off games for the exchange. Unlike the professional baseball teams, most of which are franchised in the Tokyo and Osaka metropolitan areas, most J- League teams or clubs are located in cities outside Tokyo and Osaka, and those J-League clubs are expected to help revitalize local economies.
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