American Football was first introduced to Japan in the 1930s, although it was not until after WWII, that it was played competitvely, with the Rice Bowl, Japan’s version of the Super Bowl, being played between the Universities since 1947, and since 1984 between the University Champions and the Social Champions (Business League – currently X-League).
There is also a third League in Japan, which is the Private Club League, opening up American Football to non-students and non-Corporate Workers. The JPFF (Japan Private Football Association) organises the Ocean Bowl between the JPFF East and JPFF West Champions. It is included in Social Championships.
Picture Credit: D. Young / Shutterstock (2010) DUSSELDORF, GERMANY – APRIL 24: The 1st German Japan Bowl. The action that lead to Japans last touch-down gathers momentum. On April 24, 2010 in Dusseldorf, Germany [Accessed 4 May 2021]
Friendship Bowl; Rice Bowl
Japan Rice Bowl (Universities v Social Champions):
Picture Credit: [Japan 2] X-League (2020) X-Logo [Internet] Available from: https://s3-ap-northeast-1.amazonaws.com/xleague/images/xlogo.png [Accessed 7 January 2020]
The Japan X-League is the highest level of American Football in Japan.
From 1984 to 2020 the X-League Champions played for the Rice Bowl with the University Champions. since 2021 the Rice Bowl is in sole ownership of the X-League after 11 X-League victories in a row.
The X-League is divided into X1 Super (Premier League), X1 Area (3 Regional League – Championship) and then below that X2 and X3 Leagues.
The JPFF (Japan Private Football Association) is the National or State Level League, with Leagues run on an East – West basis.
Japan X-League (Social League)
Japan X-League X1 Super (Seasons):
JPFF Japan Private Football Association
Japan Private Football Association (JPFF )
Regional Adult American Football Championships
Hokkaido Adult American Football Association (HAFA)
HAFF North Laundry League (Seasons): 2020
Picture Credit:  Hokkaido American Football Association (2020) potato2018 [Internet] Available from: http://hokkaido-afa.com/potato/potato2018.jpg [Accessed 22 October 2020]
The Universities played for the Rice Bowl from 1947 when the introduction of American Football to Japan took hold to 1979.
From 1980 to 2020 the University Champions contested the Rice Bowl with the Social Champions (now the X-League) and from 2021 onwards the University Champions no longer compete for the Rice Bowl.
The University Championship Game is called the Koshien Bowl, with Regional Bowl Games as a Qualifier.
Japan Universities National Championship
Japan College Football (Seasons): 2019
Japan Universities Regional Championships
Kantoh Collegiate Football Association (KCFA – East Japan)
North Japan Regions
Hokkaido Student American Football Association (HAFA – North Japan)
Hokkaido American Football Association Potato Bowl 2013-2018 (Charity Bowl)
Tohoku Collegiate American Football Association (TCAA – North Japan)
West Japan Regions
Kyushu Collegiate American Football Association (KCAFA – West Japan)
KCAFA (Seasons): 2019
Tokai Collegiate American Football Association (TKCAFA – West Japan)
TKCAFA (Seasons): 2019
Chushikoku Collegiate American Football Association (CSCAA – West Japan)
CSCAA (Seasons): 2019
Hokuriku Collegiate American Football Association (HCAFA – West Japan)
HCAFA (Seasons): 2019