Eligibility to participate in the Emperor’s Cup All-Japan Soccer Championship and how to watch it

J League

Although the Emperor’s Cup is a cup competition, it is a very prestigious tournament in the Japanese soccer world. The Emperor’s Cup has a much longer history than the J.League, and because amateur clubs can participate and it is a one-shot match, it is a thrilling and very entertaining tournament where upsets are very likely to occur.


What is the Emperor’s Cup?

The Emperor’s Cup is a soccer tournament founded in 1921, making it a traditional event with a long history. Until 2013, the rule was that the final was always held at the National Stadium, but due to renovations to the stadium, the timing and venue were changed for a while. However, from 2019, it will be held again at the National Stadium. The winning team will qualify for the AFC Champions League, so this competition is a great motivation for J.League clubs.

Participation qualifications and tournament format

Teams that are registered in Type 1 with the Japan Football Association are eligible to participate in the Emperor’s Cup. Type 1 registration refers to teams made up of players without age restrictions, and does not refer to professional teams. In other words, amateur clubs have the advantage of being able to participate, but they must win the local tournament.

88 teams will be in the final round

It is not possible for all teams to suddenly participate in the tournament. Teams registered in Type 1 with JFA actually have several matches, so it would be very confusing if all teams were to participate in the main tournament. Therefore, we have prepared a qualifying tournament. That is the local tournament of each prefecture. The 47 teams that won the regional tournament, 20 J1 club teams, 22 J2 club teams, and 1 amateur seeded team will be able to participate in this tournament. By the way, J3 teams are not seeded for the Emperor’s Cup, so they must win through the prefectural qualifying rounds.

Held on weekdays until the quarterfinals

Games up to the quarterfinals will be held on weekdays. This is because the J League, a professional soccer league, is organized mainly on Saturdays and Sundays. However, the semi-finals held in late December and the finals held on New Year’s Day will be held on weekends or holidays. In addition, the format of the tournament is a one-shot tournament, and it is necessary to win seven rounds from the first round to the final.

J1 and J2 teams will participate from the second round

J1 and J2 teams will appear from the second round onwards. The first round is basically played by amateur teams and J3 teams. From the third round onwards, it will be a regular tournament where the winning teams will compete against each other, making it a one-shot battle.

Is it possible for high school students to participate?

Can high school teams participate in the Emperor’s Cup? Speaking of which, you can’t. Under the current tournament format, high school teams are no longer allowed to participate. This is because the tournament format has changed since 2014. Until then, there were many games in which high school teams and other teams gave J. League clubs a hard time. High school teams often beat adult teams.

History of the Emperor’s Cup

The history of the Emperor’s Cup is very long, even longer than the J.League.


The Emperor’s Cup was created in 1921. However, at that time, Japan’s soccer culture had not taken root and professional soccer did not exist. Partly because of this background, many of the teams competing for supremacy at the All-Japan Championship at the time were university teams. At that time, university leagues were very popular in Japan, and university league matches were attracting a lot of attention. However, from 1926, students were not allowed to participate due to the government’s intention to not allow them to participate, but they were allowed again the following year. By the way, the tournament could not be held from 1941 to 1945 due to World War II.


After Japan lost the war in 1945, a tournament was held in 1946 under the name of the 1st Reconstruction All-Japan Championship. The tournament format at the time was that the two teams that won the Kanto and Kansai preliminaries would compete in the final tournament on May 5th. In 1960, a corporate team won the championship for the first time. The winner was Furukawa Electric. After Waseda University won the championship in 1966, the university team declined, and from then on, the era of corporate teams entered. The corporate team, the predecessor of today’s J Club, was at its peak.


In 1993, Japan’s professional league, the J.League, was finally born. From this point forward, the championship will be competed between professional teams and amateur teams. However, the difference in ability between the professional and amateur teams is clear, and the professional team will continue to win from then on. Of course, only J1 clubs have won, but J2 clubs have won in 2011 and 2022, and it can be said that the tournament attracts spectators with its thrilling one-shot matches.


The Emperor’s Cup also includes awards.

winning team

The team that wins the Emperor’s Cup will be given the Emperor’s Cup Winning Team Mark, which will be placed on their uniforms for the following season. The winning team will be awarded a certificate, training fee, winner’s medal, FA Silver Cup, and JFA Cup after the match.

right to participate

The team that wins the Emperor’s Cup will qualify for the ACL. If the winning team also wins the J1 League in the same season, the 2nd place team in the J1 League in the same season will advance to the Super Cup and be given the right to participate. By the way, even if you win the Levain Cup, which is the J League Cup, you cannot qualify for the ACL, so it can be said that the Emperor’s Cup is ranked higher.

Why was the Emperor’s Cup final schedule changed from New Year’s Day?

The Japanese Emperor’s Cup soccer tournament is held on January 1st, which is New Year’s Day, and has become a culturally established event in Japan. It became common for ordinary people to watch the Emperor’s Cup in their tea room as a New Year’s event. However, in recent years, the date of this final has been changed.

Players have a shorter offseason

The Emperor’s Cup final was always set for January 1st, and the schedule was set accordingly. The J.League ends in late November, but the cup games continue from then on, causing the problem of players not getting enough rest. In response to this situation, the J.League and the players’ association took the lead in moving the Emperor’s Cup schedule forward.

The environment surrounding the soccer world is changing

First of all, the environment surrounding the soccer world has changed since the 2020s. The Qatar World Cup 2022 was held in the winter, and the ACL Champions League has also been moved to an autumn/spring format. As a result, the Japanese soccer world is also required to adapt to changes.

How to watch the Emperor’s Cup

The Emperor’s Cup is sometimes broadcast on terrestrial television, but SKY PerfecTV is broadcasting it live. For more information, please refer to the article below.

ChannelPlanSoccer ContentsURL
DAZN3750national team
major europe leagues
J league
Hulu¥1026french league
dutch league
WOWOW2530UEFA Champions League
UEFA Europa League
ABEMA TV¥960national team
World Cup
Premier League
scottish league
スカパー¥429 + ¥2480national team
emperor’s cup soccer
J SPORTS1100fifa world youthJ SPORTS