Former players and staff of the Japan Soccer League, the predecessor to the J.League, gathered in downtown Tokyo on Tuesday to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the league’s founding.
700 former players and staff were in attendance including Kunishige Kamamoto, who played a leading role in Japan’s bronze medal finish at the Mexico 1968 Olympics
Yasuhiko Okudera, Japan’s first professional footballer to play in Europe and the current president of Yokohama FC, was also a distinguished guest.
“I want to give my thanks to all of you here who helped build the foundation of Japanese football,” Japan Football Association president Kuniya Daini told the audience.
Many J.League clubs can trace their origins to the JSL, which comprised a total of 27 seasons.
Yokohama F. Marinos was founded then as Nissan Motors, Sanfrecce Hiroshima were known as Mazda SC, Urawa Reds had been Mitsubishi Motors, while Kashiwa Reysol played as Hitachi SC.