American Football In Japan!?!

June 24th, 2009By Category: Culture

american-footballAfter moving here to Japan from Chicago about 5 years ago, I thought I said goodbye to my football career. Then I met a guy who knew a guy that gave me a full scholarship to play football at Teikyo University, and the rest is history. I still can’t believe that story to this day. I played my 4 years, I work with the Japan American Football Association and now I’m an event organizer for the Notre Dame Japan Bowl that is taking place on July 25th (Sat.). There have been a few American Football events throughout Japan’s 75 year history of football, including the “Samurai Bowl”(Ivy league Alumns participating in a spring All-star game) and even a couple NFL pre-season games.

Believe it or not, there is an American Football World Cup every 2 years. Japan has won it all TWICE! Of course, America hadn’t participated until last year. And even then, they didn’t exactly bring over the freaks of nature that litter our athlete filled great nation. But they did bring over a team with a bunch of Division 1 AA guys and a few D1 guys. I personally thought it would be a massacre. I figured a mediocre group of guys(from an American stand-point) would destroy an even overachieving Japanese squad… Boy was I wrong, the Japanese played a gritty game in the rain and took it to overtime, with in my eyes, all the momentum they needed to take down goliath.

But it wasn’t meant to be and the U.S.A team kicked a field goal in dramatic fashion to end the game. Win or lose, anybody who witnessed that game came away with a feeling that “wow…those Japanese guys can play.” Most people I speak to don’t even know they played Football over here, and most shrug and think, “well…if I played in Japan I would dominate.” I made the all-star team as a Senior, but it wasn’t a cakewalk. I’ll be the first to tell you that Japan does not get enough credit, and I think they like it that way. Japan LOVES drama. Comeback stories, David vs. Goliath, Us against the world, you name it, they love the story. And the Notre Dame Japan Bowl will be Japan’s next chance to write another tear-jerker. Notre Dame is bringing over a group full of ex-All-Americans/NFL players.

It seems like every time Japan shows the world that they can compete, America is ready to send over a tougher team, which is a sign of respect. Even Joe Montana has decided to witness this Football phenomenon with his own eyes. He will be acting as an ambassador and will be making his rounds in Japan before the game. And no he will not play…although I would be willing to bet he wants to be out there. Other notables include Tim Brown (Recievers Coach), Chris Zorich(D-line coach) and Mike Golic. Also, and here’s a big also, Lou Holtz is coming out of retirement to coach the team. It’s not hard to see that Notre Dame isn’t pulling any punches. This might be the game that makes the rest of America start acknowledging a country other than themselves, as a potential talent pool. We all know what happened when the Major Leagues started dipping in to the Japanese baseball market… you just never know right?

If you’re interested, check out these websites. If you need more reasons to be interested, I’ll be posting more articles!

Ticket Purchasing Website

Official Notre Dame Japan Bowl Website

Author of this article

Related articles that may interest you


  • Blake Barker says:

    I played American football at Harvard University and am very interested in getting involved with the sport in Japan. Please send me information. Email:

  • Nathan Miles says:

    I’m interested in coaching american football in Japan. How can I get in touch with any of the teams in Japan

  • Bobby 道勢 says:

    This is an old thread but just found it, LOL. I played for an amateur team, the Tokyo Blitzz (sic) which was a member of the Kanto American Football Conference (KAFC) for two seasons back in 1988~1990. It was a lot of fun.

    A Japanese friend of mine, whom I befriended at a sports club in Tokyo founded the team and we were able to get a lot of foreigners in the beginning including a guy who played at Yale, a Canadian that played at University of British Columbia, a military guy who was a decent running back and a couple of other guys, but they all petered out except me and military guy, most of them because their wives were afraid they’d get hurt. And a Jpnse guy, who was our QB, until work commitments made him miss a lot of games, who went to high school in the U.S. and played one season of juco ball in California. Good athlete who later played for Sanwa Bank when they had a team in the Japan industrial league (2nd tier of what is considered pro football).

    The Japanese do love the game but many are not exposed to it at an early enough age to learn the various nuances to get really good except the élite guys who play what we would consider semipro (they work at the companies for about half a day then go to practice). And of course size prohibits most of them from going to the US or Canada and playing college ball or even making it to the pro level but hopefully one day we’ll see a made-in-Japan Haruki Nakamura (of course he has is half Jpnse) type make it in the NFL.

    They are good in those World Cups and it was sad to see a U.S. team, I think we should’ve stayed out and let the Jpnse continue to dominate! ; ) There are some good athletes but the issue is mostly size, hard to find a big TE and LB type of guy, and skill of the QBs.

  • Carlos says:

    hi there i was very interested in playing football for a japanese team can u give me the info on how to do it my e-mail is thank you for putting this on here.

  • Miss Ari24 says:

    AWESOME!!!! i would love to watch one of those games!! i hope to see more asian football players and other races of people play in the NFL! this is a great start 🙂

  • AYang says:

    so im a high school student in Ohio and was wondering what it takes to play there… i was searching and tried to find the size of the players but could not find any so if u could help it would be great thanks

  • eu player says:

    i would love to play football in japan. so, how do i get in? i’m from europe and i’m majoring in japanese language/culture/literature. i’ve been playing football (american not european) for about 5 years and i would love to know how to apply for colleges and teams in japan. please email me at

  • Mono_locco says:

    but aren't American football players like that anyways lol….so what's your problem…. you should be used to that ^^

  • Bjbacklinks says:

    want to know American football? Take a view on this sites on how to be part of the team

  • Jj says:

    look on the internet for a league called the x-league. it's a league of semi pro teams in japan. I practiced with a team a few times, they advertised on the metropolis. while, some are certainly athletic, blue chip players were few and far between. what i get annoyed with is, the guys can be super standoffish and bit arrogant at first go… i remember the strength and conditioning coach, this skinny twat, smirking and looking at everyone in a snide way… arrogant pricks some of them were.

    anyway detailing the specifics of practice, I tried to make an impression with hard tackles and special teams hits… the WRs didn't like that one bit. they had a big fullback kind of guy, real arrogant looking dude, i wish i laid him out like antoine winfield or bob sanders.

    they truly were weekend warriors but practice was just so far away, wasn't worth it to continue. but good way to keep the football dream alive.

  • concerned citizen says:

    not to be mean or anything but unless japan is hiding 22 yao mings and i think he is not even japanese a game with nfl player vrs. japanese pros will and i will be like a high school team playing kindegardeners. i have played football in high school for 4 years varsity i am a two time 1st team all conference and am currently playing for morhead st. if the japanese want to keep their pride and i know they love that stuff stay away from nfl far away i mean albert hainsworth against some cho-smo people might get hurt bad and not just physically. monsters are breed in america they teach us if you cant hit hard enough hit the gym if youre afraid play a different sport. no man should be 6foot 6 weigh 300 pounds hit like a truck and run a 4-5 40 yard dash its cool letting them play d1aa players like me but if you put them on the field with ray lewis you better hope the rumors about japan having top notch doctors is true

  • Shaonb says:

    Hello and good afternoon,

    My name is Shaon Berry and I am the founder of, a football event company that facilitates american football combines/camps that are can uniquely instruct and evaluate talent for athletes between 11 & 16 years of age.

    Youth Football Combine Videos –

    As seen in the attached video, my organization currently travels the United States identifying, evaluating, instructing and recognizing the top young talent in this country. I am aware that your country is begininning to embrace the sport of American Football, and I would be very interested in supporting any youth and junior American Football
    initiatives you may have.

    JuniorRank is able to teach skills and evaluate talent, with our
    unique staff of former NFL & College coaches, players and scouts anywhere in the world and if your interested I would like to speak with you about our one of a kind organization.

    Thank you for your time and consideration.

  • Ayrius says:

    Hi my name is Ayrius Justin and I am really interested in playing american football in Japan. If someone can email me back that would be great.

    I have highlights via the web you can watch.
    Please write me and email ASAP. Thank you.

  • ligafantasi says:

    You mean “football” or soccer?
    Anyway, I think USA and Japan will made something good in World Cup 2010, and that's I mean soccer ;o)

  • zameer says:

    hai iam realy want play american football…mail me

  • funaks says:

    hi i have just recently moved to japan and i want to continue playing football over here aswell and i was wondering how i could do that i played 4 years in highschool and played semi pro back in hawaii for 2 years. please give me a call at 09016644653 or email me at thanks!

  • matton88 says:

    im interested in playing football in japan and will be there this march through august. i was wondering if i could pick your brain for info on how to get involved. my email is thanks.

  • matton88 says:

    im interested in playing football in japan and will be there this march through august. i was wondering if i could pick your brain for info on how to get involved. my email is thanks.

  • I played my 4 years, I work with the Japan American Football Association and now I’m an event organizer for the Notre Dame Japan Bowl that is taking place on July 25th (Sat.). There have been a few American Football events throughout Japan’s 75 year history of football