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FM24 Clubs to Manage - Japan

The long awaited debut of Japan in the FM series is here! We take a look at 8 clubs to manage in the new available leagues.

By on Oct 17, 2023   11778 views   0 comments
Club Insights - FM24 Clubs to Manage - Japan
The long awaited debut of Japan as a playable league in the Football Manager series has arrived in FM24.

The Samurai Blue have a long footballing history, but they did not develop into one of the Asian powerhouses until the 1990’s. With pop culture and increased globalisation, more eyes make way to the J-League - and that’s where this article steps in here.

With the top 3 tiers (J1, J2 and J3 League) of the Japanese football league system now available in the base game, I take a look at several clubs from all three tiers that you should manage for your FM24 saves. Enjoy!

Tokyo Verdy (J2-League)

Originally founded as Yomuiri F.C. in 1969 - verdy are one of Japan’s most decorated clubs. Majority of their success came in the transition between amateur and professionalism during the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, effectively winning 4 straight titles between the transition period. Fortunes as of late see verdy a stagnant J2 side, consistent mid-table finishes over the past several seasons see them languishing without much hopes of promotion.

Tokyo Verdy are located in Chofu, a city in the western side of the Tokyo Metropolis - a densely populated area surrounded by 16 other professional football clubs. Verdy’s home is at the near 50,000 seater Ajinomoto Stadium, built in 2001 and shared with FC Tokyo.

Jubilo Iwata (J2-League)

Between 1997 and 2003, Jubilo Iwata had a dominant spell of success; three league titles, an Emperor’s Cup and an AFC Champions League trophy - all while having a predominant domestic based squad. Several records from that period were set such as; goals scored, fewest conceded, biggest win, biggest goal difference, first team to win both stages of the then Japanese championship and having the most players selected in the team of the year. Recent years sees Jubilo recently relegated to the J2-League, with off field issues resulting in a transfer ban thanks to a ruling by FIFA and CAS.

JEF United Chiba (J2-League)

Another Japanese club founded as a company team, JEF started out as Furukawa Electric Soccer Club with success domestically and on the continent, becoming the first Japanese club to win Asia’s top honour’s - the Asian Club Championship (the Champions League of it’s time). One of the original ten clubs of the J.League, success was moderate in the professional era before relegation in the 2009 season and Chiba have stayed in the division ever since.

Shimizu S-Pulse (J2-League)

In Japan, the Shizukoa prefecture has historically been a strong footballing area - particularly because of the success at the national level of its high school teams and numerous national team representatives which have emerged from that prefecture over time. There already existed one football club in the prefecture and that was Jubilo Iwata - mentioned earlier in the article - but there was always room for one more, and Shimizu S-Pulse was formed in early 1991 and joined the newly formed J.League. The club was unique from the beginning, originally the club only had players drawn exclusively from the Shizuoka Prefecture and which was a real rarity - the club was formed and owned by local businessmen rather than being founded as a company team. S-Pa have been throughout their history as a consistent performer in cup competitions, even winning the Asian Cup Winners’ Cup - the league title however, has always eluded them.

Nara Club (J3 League)

The promotion/relegation system in Japan has a dashed line between the 3rd and 4th tiers… in order to get promoted you must not only finish in the top 2, but must also meet several requirements, obtain a J.League licence and be approved after a review. Well Nara Club did just that and in 2022 were recently promoted to the J3 League for the first time in their history. Founded only in 1991 as Tonan Club - Nara started out life in the 11th tier of Japanese football and in 2023 are competing in the 3rd tier for the first time ever after an 8 year stint in the JFL (4th tier).

FC Osaka (J3 League)

Fighting it out with Nara Club, FC Osaka have a similar story, getting promoted for the first time to the third tier in their history for the 2023 season. Uniquely, FC Osaka had the opportunity to be promoted in 2018 after finishing 2nd in the JFL, however they did not meet all of the requirements necessary to turn professional - including having a minimum attendance of 2000. The 8 year stint in the 4th tier is over - and now battling it out in the J3-League.

FC Ryukyu (J3 League)

According to my very quick research, FC Ryukyu is the farthest south professional Japanese football club, located in Okinawa City (approximately a 2 hour 20 minute flight to Tokyo). The club was founded in 2003, majority of their players who initially joined were from Okinawa Kariyushi FC (now defunct) and left because of a rift with management. A quick succession of promotions saw the club reach the JFL (at that time the 3rd tier - now 4th tier) by 2006 and reached the 2nd tier in 2019 after a 13 year stint in the 3rd tier. The club was most recently relegated after a very poor showing from what was several respectable seasons in the 2nd tier.

Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo (J1 League)

Established in 1935 by the Toshiba corporation, Consa is based in Sapporo in the north of Japan on the island of Hokkaido. Uniquely they use two stadiums for their home matches as their designated home ground is also used by the baseball team Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters. The professional life of this club has been spent bouncing between the first and 2nd tiers with no major honours to their name.

That’s it from me, if you’re managing in Japan - let me know who you are managing in the comments below! Enjoy your FM24 saves.

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