Australian football was first introduced to Japan in 1910, by Mr A W McLean from Melbourne, but for the next 75 years the further development of the game seems to be unknown.

In 1986, Australian Football was re-introduced to Japan when Hawthorn and Carlton played at Yokohama Stadium in front of 25,000 people. The first match in Japan was named "Aussie Bowl '86" and was broadcast to Australia.

This led to the first Japanese club being formed in 1987 at Keio University. Aussie Bowl '87 pitted Hawthorn against Essendon and featured the first match between Japanese teams as the curtain raiser. 

The Keio Hawks defeated the Waseda Bombers and this was the start of Australian football competition in Japan.

Current Japan AFL Top League Teams

  • Tokyo Goannas
  • Eastern Hawks
  • Senshu Power
  • Komazawa Magpies
  • Tokyo Leopards
  • Osaka Dingoes
  • Nagoya Redbacks

JAFL website

Japan Samurais at IC11

Placing: 12Japan Samurais IC11 guernsey

The Samurais finished eighth in 2008 and were showing signs of steady improvement going into IC11.

However, a mix of stiff competition and poor form saw them fall from the rankings.

Despite a gallant effort against Sweden in their final match, where the Samurais lost by four points in a thrilling last quarter, the Samurais were winless during the main part of the tournament and finished last in the division 1 rankings.

Japan in action at IC11Match Reports

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