L. League
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L. League
Nadeshiko League
Nadeshiko League.png
Founded1989; 31 years ago (1989)
ConfederationAsian Football Confederation
Divisions1:Nadeshiko League Div.1
2:Nadeshiko League Div.2
3:Challenge League
Number of teams32
Level on pyramid1-3
Relegation toJapanese Regional Leagues
Domestic cup(s)Empress's Cup
League Cup
International cup(s)AFC Women's Club Championship
Current championsDiv.1:NTV Beleza
Div.2:Ehime FC Ladies
Div.3:FC Jumonji Ventus
Most championshipsNTV Beleza (14 titles)
TV partnersFox Sports and Entertainment
2019 Nadeshiko League

The Nadeshiko League (Japanese: ?, Nadeshiko R?gu), officially Japan Women's Football League (Japanese: , Nihon Joshi Sakk? R?gu) is the top flight of women's association football in Japan. The league's former English name was L.League (Ladies' League). The league consists of three divisions: Divisions 1 and 2 are named Nadeshiko League (?, Nadeshiko R?gu) and Division 3 the Challenge League (, Charenji R?gu). Since 2008 it has been sponsored by Plenus (), a fast food company based in Fukuoka, and are thus billed as Plenus Nadeshiko League and Plenus Challenge League.[1]


Japan Women's Football League began in 1989. From 1993 to 1999 it adopted an Apertura and Clausura system, similar to the J. League system of that era. From 2000 to 2003 the clubs were divided into East and West groups and then the top clubs of each would go into a championship group, with the bottom clubs in a relegation group. In 2004 the single-table format was brought back.

Players from the 8 Japan Women's Football League teams would host an annual training camp to build skills and relationships between the L. League and women's international football clubs, including U.S.- and Australia-based teams.

In 2004 the L.League was renamed to Nadeshiko League, with the nickname "Nadeshiko Japan". Nadeshiko is the name of the dianthus flower and was chosen from suggestions by fans, signifying an ideal of a dutiful Japanese woman.[2][3]

Starting in the 2004 season, the L. League had 2 divisions - Division 1, with 8 clubs, and Division 2, with 8 clubs in the 2006 season. Until 2009 the league operated in the same way as the old Japan Soccer League for men, the bottom club in the second division playing off against a regional league playoff winner.

Starting with the 2010 season, the second division is divided into an east and west group of six teams each. The winners of each group are promoted. In 2015 this became Division 3, with the Nadeshiko League becoming two divisions of 10 teams each.

After Japan's World Cup win in 2011 the L. League saw an upsurge in popularity.[4]

League structure

Since 2015, the Japan Women's Football League system consists of three levels.

Level League(s) / Division(s)
1 Nadeshiko League Division 1

(Plenus Nadeshiko League Division 1)
10 clubs

? 1 relegation spot + 1 promotion/relegation series spot

2 Nadeshiko League Division 2

(Plenus Nadeshiko League Division 2)
10 clubs

? 1 promotion spot + 1 promotion/relegation series spot

? 1 relegation spot + 1 promotion/relegation series spot

3 Challenge League

(Plenus Challenge League)
12 (EAST 6 / WEST 6) clubs

? 1 promotion spot + 1 promotion/relegation series spot

? 2 promotion/relegation series spots


First Level Champions

Bold indicate doubles with the Empress's Cup.[5]

Total titles won by club
Club Champions Year
Nippon TV Beleza
1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
Nikko Securities Dream Ladies
1996, 1997, 1998
INAC Kobe Leonessa
2011, 2012, 2013
Urawa Reds Ladies
2004, 2009, 2014
Iga FC Kunoichi
1995, 1999
Shimizu FC Ladies
Matsushita Electric LSC Bambina
Tasaki Perule FC
  • Yomiuri Beleza was renamed to Nippon TV Beleza in 1999 and to Tokyo Verdy Beleza in 2011, when the Yomiuri Group sold its stake.
  • Saitama Reinas were absorbed by Urawa Red Diamonds in 2005.
  • Matsushita LSC Bambina was renamed to Speranza FC Takatsuki in 2000. Then, renamed to Speranza FC Osaka-Takatsuki in 2012.
  • Prima Ham FC Kunoichi was renamed to Iga FC Kunoichi in 2000.
  • Nikko Securities Dream Ladies and Tasaki Perule no longer exist.
Total titles won by region

Second Level Champions

Third Level Champions

Japan Women's Football League Clubs (2019)

The League consists of 3 levels. Divisions 1 and 2 are both considered the Nadeshiko League, and each are made up of 10 teams. Division 3 is known as the Challenge League and is divided into EAST and WEST groups of 6 teams each.

Nadeshiko League Div.1 (Division 1)

Club Hometown(s) First Season in
Top Flight
Current Spell in
Top Flight
NTV Beleza Inagi, Tokyo 1989 1989-
INAC Kobe Leonessa Kobe, Hyogo 2005 2005-
Nagano Parceiro Nagano, Nagano 2015 2015-
Mynavi Vegalta Sendai Sendai, Miyagi 2013 2013-
Albirex Niigata Niigata Prefecture 2007 2007-
Nippon Sport Science Univ Yokohama 2018 2018-
JEF United Chiba Chiba, Chiba 2000 2009-
Urawa Red Diamonds Saitama, Saitama 1999 1999-
Nojima Stella Sagamihara, Kanagawa 2017 2017-
Iga Kunoichi Iga, Mie 1989 2019-

Nadeshiko League Div.2 (Division 2)

Challenge League (Division 3)

Previous clubs

Relegated to regional leagues



See also


  1. ^ "Plenus Co. Ltd. Supports Nadeshiko League". Plenus Co. Ltd. Retrieved .
  2. ^ Alisa Freedman, Laura Miller, Christine R. Yano. Modern Girls on the Go: Gender, Mobility, and Labor in Japan at Google Books. Stanford University Press, 2013.
  3. ^ Gregory G. Reck, Bruce Allen Dick. American Soccer: History, Culture, Class at Google Books McFarland, 2015.
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Japan - List of Women Champions". RSSSF. Retrieved 2011.
  6. ^ "Goals galore on three continents". FIFA. 22 November 2011. Archived from the original on 4 March 2012. Retrieved 2011.
  7. ^ Due to the 2011 T?hoku earthquake and tsunami, the team has relocated from Naraha, Fukushima to sport facilities in Shizuoka Prefecture. http://www.jfa.jp/youth_development/jfa_academy/fukushima/operation.html

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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