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This page is a quick snapshot of the status of Australian Football in Japan. For further information, browse our news items or use the search facility. If you wish to contact football officials from the country, please search our site for links to their leagues or clubs, including in our Atlas. If unsuccessful, we can normally assist with putting people in touch.
Approx population (2009): 127 million
National side: The Samurai
Governing body: AFL Japan
Primary contact / link: Japan AFL
WFN Census (2004): 12 teams, 305 seniors, 15 juniors
WFN World Ranking (2008): Equal 9th
History: The recent history of the sport in Japan appears to begin with Hawthorn and Carlton playing an exhibition match in Tokyo in 1986, followed by Hawthorn vs Esssendon in 1987 including a curtain raiser featuring players drawn from rival Universities, Keio and Waseda. Thus the Japanese Australian Football Association (JAFA) was born, later becoming the Japan AFL then AFL Japan. Other notable early contributors include Senshu University and the mostly expat-Aussie Tokyo Goannas. For a while there was a potentially rival competition, the Nippon AFL, but it appears to have gone into recess around 2008.
The national side, the Samurais, have been one of the most prolific travellers of international football, regularly sending teams overseas such as to the Arafura Games (Darwin, Australia) and the International Cups.
Outlook (2010): The core of AFL Japan has been very steady over 20 years, with slow growth, however there has yet to be a dramatic jump forth in numbers. The game is restricted by the common occurrence that players take up the game already as young adults at University and then leave it once finishing their studies.
Other points of interest: AFL Japan have had an ongoing scholarship sending players to Box Hill in Victoria.
Last Updated: Sunday, October 31 2010 @ 08:42 PM ACDT|Hits: 1,841