Japan American Football

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.

1st German-Japan Bowl 2010

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]

X-League Logo

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.

Social Championships

X-League

Japan X-League

Japan X-League (Social League)

Japan American Football Association | X-League 2017-2019

Japan X-League X1 Super (Seasons):

2020

JPFF Japan Private Football Association

Japan Private Football Association (JPFF )

Japan Private Football Association JPFF All Japan Championship Ocean Bowl 2011-Present

Regional Adult American Football Championships

Kizuna Bowl (North Japan – Hokkaido v Tohoku) American Football Championship 2011-Present

Hokkaido Adult American Football Association (HAFA)

Hokkaido Adult American Football Association All-Star Lilac Bowl 2013-2018

HAFF North Laundry League (Seasons): 2020

Hokkaido American Football Association Potato Bowl 2018 Poster
Hokkaido American Football Association Potato Bowl 2018 Poster

Picture Credit: [8] 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.

University Championships

Koshien Bowl

Bowl Games

Japan Universities National Championship

Japan Collegiate American Football Koshien Bowl (East v West) 2016-Present

Japan College Football (Seasons): 2019

JCAFA Koshien Bowl Division Standings & Playoffs (Seasons): 2020 2019

Japan Universities Regional Championships

East Japan Collegiate Football Deciding Match (Kantoh v North Japan) 2016-Present

North Japan University Football Pine Bowl (Tohoku v Hokkaido) 2012-Present

Japan Collegiate American Football Association Heiwadai Bowl (Chushikoku v Kyushu) 1983-2015

Japan Collegiate American Football Tokyo Bowl (Kantoh v Kansai) 2016-Present

Tokyo-Osaka Regions

Kansai Football

Kansai Football (Seasons): 2020 2019

Kantoh Collegiate Football Association (KCFA – East Japan)

KCFA (Seasons): 2020 2019

North Japan Regions

Hokkaido Student American Football Association (HAFA – North Japan)

Hokkaido American Football Association Potato Bowl 2013-2018 (Charity Bowl)

Seasons: 2019

Tohoku Collegiate American Football Association (TCAA – North Japan)

Tohoku Collegiate American Football Association TCAA (Japan) Champions 1976-Present

Seasons: 2019 2018

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