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Japan J1 league

J1 is the top division of the Japan Professional Football League

The J1 League or simply J1 is the top division of the Japan football Professional League and the top professional football J.League in Japan. It is one of the most successful leagues in Asian club football. Currently, the J1 League is the first stage of the Japanese football league system. The second stage is represented by the J2 League. It is currently sponsored by Meiji Yasuda Life and is thus officially known as Meiji Yasuda J1 League. Until the 2014 season, the J.League Division 1 was named.

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Before the J.League was founded, the highest level of club football was the Japan Soccer League (JSL), which consisted of amateur clubs. Although the JSL was well-attended during the boom in the late 1960s and early 1970s (when the Japanese national team won the Olympic bronze medal at the 1968 Mexico Games), in the 1980s it declined in line with the worsening global situation. There were few fans, the terrain was not of the highest quality and the Japanese national team was not equal to the Asian powerhouses. In order to increase the domestic level of play, to win more fans and to strengthen the national team, the Japanese Football Association (JFA) decided to start a professional league.

The professional league football league J.League was founded in 1992 with eight clubs from the JSL First Division, one from the Second Division and the newly formed Shimizu S-Pulse. At the same time, JSL changed its name and became the former Japanese football league, a semi-professional league. Although the J.League was only officially launched in 1993, the 1992 Yamazaki Nabisco Cup competition was held between the ten clubs to prepare for the opening season.

Since the 2005 season, J.League Division 1 has consisted of 18 clubs (out of 16 in 2004) and the season format has become more similar to European club football. The number of relegated also rose from 2 to 2.5, with the penultimate club went into the promotion / relegation playoffs with the third-placed J2 club. Apart from minor adjustments, the top group has remained stable ever since.

Japanese teams did not take the AFC Champions League seriously in their early years, partly because of the distances covered and the teams they played. In the 2008 Champions League, however, three Japanese teams reached the quarter-finals.

In recent years, as the A-League in East Asia football, the introduction to the World Cup and the marketability on the Asian continent have increased, both the league and the clubs have paid more attention to the Asian competition. For example, Kawasaki Frontale has built a remarkable following in Hong Kong, having taken part in the 2007 Asian Champions League. Continuous efforts led to the success of Urawa Red Diamonds in 2007 and Gamba Osaka in 2008. Thanks to its excellent league management and competitiveness in the Asian competition, the AFC J.League has had the highest long-term ligar list and a total of four slot machines since the 2009 season. The league has taken this opportunity to sell television broadcasting rights to foreign countries, especially in Asia.

Also starting in the 2008 season, the Emperor's Cup winner was allowed to participate in the upcoming Uefa Champions league football season instead of waiting for a whole year (ie the 2005 Tokyo Cup winner Tokyo Verdy took part in the 2007 ACL season at the 2006 season)). To remedy this year-long default problem, the upcoming Emperor's Cup winner 2007, Kashima Antlers, was abandoned. Nevertheless, Kashima Antlers won the J.League title in the 2008 season and participated in the 2009 ACL season.

It was abandoned at the end of 2016 in favor of a return to a one-tier system. As of 2017, the team that has earned the most points will be named champion, and at the end of the season no championship will take place. From 2018, the two lowest clubs descend, and the 16th club joins the J2 club in a playoff wins a promotion playoff series. If the J2 playoff winner wins, the club is promoted, the J1 club descends. Otherwise, the J1 club may retain its position in the J1 league if the J2 club is not promoted.

In November 2017, Urawa Red Diamonds played the AFC Champions League final against Al Hilal. After a draw in the first leg Urawa Red Diamonds won the second leg 1-0 and was crowned Asian champion. For the past 10 to 15 years, Japanese clubs have grown not only continental but also international. The clubs Gamba Osaka and Urawa Red Diamonds were Asian champions and took part in the club World Cup, where always at least the semi-finals were in the sights. Kashima Antlers were finalists of the 2016 edition and eventually lost to Real Madrid, Spain football.

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