J1 League
Season2021
Dates26 February – 4 December
ChampionsKawasaki Frontale (4th title)
RelegatedTokushima Vortis
Oita Trinita
Vegalta Sendai
Yokohama FC
Champions LeagueKawasaki Frontale
Yokohama F. Marinos
Vissel Kobe
Urawa Red Diamonds
Matches played380
Goals scored920 (2.42 per match)
Top goalscorerLeandro Damião
Daizen Maeda
(23 goals each)
Biggest home winYokohama F. Marinos 8–0 FC Tokyo
(6 November 2021)
Biggest away winUrawa Red Diamonds 0–5 Kawasaki Frontale
(21 March 2021)
Highest scoringKashima Antlers 5–3 Yokohama F. Marinos
(15 May 2021)
Yokohama FC 5–3 Tokushima Vortis
(16 October 2021)
Yokohama F. Marinos 8–0 FC Tokyo
(6 November 2021)
Longest winning run7 matches
Kawasaki Frontale
Yokohama F. Marinos
Longest unbeaten run25 matches
Kawasaki Frontale
Longest winless run13 matches
Yokohama FC
Longest losing run7 matches
Avispa Fukuoka
Oita Trinita
Highest attendance30,657[1]
Yokohama F. Marinos 1–1 Kawasaki Frontale
(4 December 2021)
Lowest attendance1,899[1]
Yokohama FC 0–3 Sanfrecce Hiroshima
(7 April 2021)
(excluding matches played behind closed doors)
Total attendance2,531,007[1]
Average attendance6,661[1]
(excluding matches played behind closed doors)
2020
2022

The 2021 J1 League, also known as the 2021 Meiji Yasuda J1 League (Japanese: 2021 明治安田生命J1リーグ, Hepburn: 2021 Meiji Yasuda Seimei J1 Rīgu) for sponsorship reasons, was the 29th season of the J1 League, the top Japanese professional league for association football clubs, since its establishment in 1993. The league began on 26 February and ended on 4 December 2021.

Kawasaki Frontale were the reigning champions, having won their third title in 2020 with four rounds to play.[2] They successfully retained the title, again with four rounds to play.[3]

On 20 November 2021, Oita Trinita, Vegalta Sendai, and Yokohama FC were relegated to J2 League with two games to play. On the final matchday Tokushima Vortis was relegated back to J2 League after just one season.

Changes from the previous season

There were no teams relegated last season due to impacts related to the COVID-19 pandemic.[4] Instead, four relegation places were applied for the current season to reduce the total number of teams from 20 back to 18.[5]

Two teams were promoted from the 2020 J2 League: Tokushima Vortis won the title and clinched a second promotion to J1 (the first came in 2013), while Avispa Fukuoka came second, returning to J1 after five seasons.[6]

Clubs

2021 J1 League is located in Kansai region
2021 J1 League teams in Keihanshin


Club Location Stadium Capacity Previous season rank
Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo Hokkaido Sapporo Dome
Sapporo Atsubetsu Stadium
41,484
20,861
J1 (12th)
Vegalta Sendai Miyagi Prefecture Yurtec Stadium Sendai 19,694 J1 (17th)
Kashima Antlers Ibaraki Prefecture Kashima Soccer Stadium 40,728 J1 (5th)
Urawa Red Diamonds Saitama Prefecture Saitama Stadium 2002 63,700 J1 (10th)
Kashiwa Reysol Chiba Prefecture Hitachi Kashiwa Stadium 15,900 J1 (7th)
FC Tokyo Tokyo Ajinomoto Stadium 49,970 J1 (6th)
Yokohama FC Kanagawa Prefecture Mitsuzawa Stadium 15,046 J1 (15th)
Yokohama F. Marinos Nissan Stadium 72,327 J1 (9th)
Kawasaki Frontale Todoroki Stadium 26,232 J1 (1st)
Shonan Bellmare Lemon Gas Stadium Hiratsuka 18,500 J1 (18th)
Shimizu S-Pulse Shizuoka Prefecture IAI Stadium 20,339 J1 (16th)
Nagoya Grampus Aichi Prefecture Toyota Stadium 45,000 J1 (3rd)
Gamba Osaka Osaka Prefecture Panasonic Stadium Suita 39,694 J1 (2nd)
Cerezo Osaka Yanmar Stadium 47,853 J1 (4th)
Vissel Kobe Hyōgo Prefecture Noevir Stadium 30,132 J1 (14th)
Sanfrecce Hiroshima Hiroshima Prefecture Edion Stadium 36,894 J1 (8th)
Tokushima Vortis Tokushima Prefecture Pocarisweat Stadium 20,441
Arrowupgreen.png
J2 (1st)
Avispa Fukuoka Fukuoka Prefecture Best Denki Stadium 21,562
Arrowupgreen.png
J2 (2nd)
Sagan Tosu Saga Prefecture Ekimae Stadium 24,130 J1 (13th)
Oita Trinita Ōita Prefecture Showa Denko Dome Oita 40,000 J1 (11th)

Personnel and kits

Club Manager Captain Kit manufacturer
Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo Serbia Mihailo Petrović Japan Hiroki Miyazawa Japan Mizuno
Vegalta Sendai Japan Makoto Teguramori Mozambique Simão Mate Germany Adidas
Kashima Antlers Japan Naoki Soma Japan Kento Misao United States Nike
Urawa Red Diamonds Spain Ricardo Rodriguez Japan Shusaku Nishikawa United States Nike
Kashiwa Reysol Brazil Nelsinho Baptista Japan Hidekazu Otani Japan Yonex
FC Tokyo Japan Shinichi Morishita (interim) Japan Keigo Higashi United States New Balance
Yokohama FC Japan Tomonobu Hayakawa Japan Yuta Minami Japan Soccer Junky
Yokohama F. Marinos Australia Kevin Muscat Japan Takuya Kida Germany Adidas
Kawasaki Frontale Japan Toru Oniki Japan Shogo Taniguchi Germany Puma
Shonan Bellmare Japan Satoshi Yamaguchi Japan Takuya Okamoto Brazil Penalty
Shimizu S-Pulse Japan Hiroaki Hiraoka Japan Ryo Takeuchi Germany Puma
Nagoya Grampus Italy Massimo Ficcadenti Japan Yuichi Maruyama Japan Mizuno
Gamba Osaka Japan Masanobu Matsunami (interim) Japan Genta Miura England Umbro
Cerezo Osaka Japan Akio Kogiku Japan Hiroshi Kiyotake Germany Puma
Vissel Kobe Japan Atsuhiro Miura Spain Andrés Iniesta Japan Asics
Sanfrecce Hiroshima Japan Kentaro Sawada (interim) Japan Sho Sasaki United States Nike
Tokushima Vortis Spain Dani Poyatos Japan Ken Iwao Japan Mizuno
Avispa Fukuoka Japan Shigetoshi Hasebe Japan Hiroyuki Mae Japan Yonex
Sagan Tosu South Korea Kim Myung-hwi Brazil Eduardo United States New Balance
Oita Trinita Japan Tomohiro Katanosaka Japan Shun Takagi Germany Puma

Managerial changes

Team Outgoing manager Manner of departure Date of vacancy Incoming manager Date of
appointment
Yokohama FC Japan Takahiro Shimotaira[7] Sacked 7 April 2021 Japan Tomonobu Hayakawa[8] 8 April 2021
Kashima Antlers Brazil Antônio Carlos Zago[9] 14 April 2021 Japan Naoki Soma[10] 14 April 2021
Gamba Osaka Japan Tsuneyasu Miyamoto[11] 13 May 2021 Japan Masanobu Matsunami (interim)[11][a] 14 May 2021
Yokohama F. Marinos Australia Ange Postecoglou[13] Signed by Celtic 10 June 2021 Japan Hideki Matsunaga (caretaker)[14] 10 June 2021
Yokohama F. Marinos Japan Hideki Matsunaga[15] End of caretaker spell 18 July 2021 Australia Kevin Muscat[15] 18 July 2021
Cerezo Osaka Brazil Levir Culpi[16] Sacked 26 August 2021 Japan Akio Kogiku[17] 26 August 2021
Shonan Bellmare Japan Bin Ukishima[18] Resigned 31 August 2021 Japan Satoshi Yamaguchi[19] 1 September 2021
Sanfrecce Hiroshima Japan Hiroshi Jofuku[20] Resigned 26 October 2021 Japan Kentaro Sawada (interim)[20] 26 October 2021
Shimizu S-Pulse Spain Miguel Ángel Lotina[21] Sacked 4 November 2021 Japan Hiroaki Hiraoka[22] 4 November 2021
FC Tokyo Japan Kenta Hasegawa[23] Resigned 7 November 2021 Japan Shinichi Morishita (interim)[24] 10 November 2021
  1. ^ Matsunami was initially appointed as caretaker manager, but he was made interim manager on 1 June 2021.[12]

Foreign players

As of 2021 season, there were no more restrictions on a number of signed foreign players, but clubs could only register up to five foreign players for a single match-day squad.[25] Players from J.League partner nations (Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, Malaysia, Cambodia, Singapore, Indonesia and Qatar) were exempted from these restrictions.

Club Player 1 Player 2 Player 3 Player 4 Player 5 Player 6 Player 7 Player 8 Former players
Consadole Sapporo Brazil Douglas Oliveira Brazil Lucas Fernandes England Jay Bothroyd Slovenia Milan Tučić Thailand Chanathip Songkrasin Brazil Anderson Lopes
South Korea Kim Min-tae
Nigeria Gabriel Okechukwu
Vegalta Sendai Brazil Felippe Cardoso Brazil Foguinho Poland Jakub Słowik Serbia Nedeljko Stojisic Ghana Emmanuel Oti Essigba Curaçao Quenten Martinus
Spain Isaac Cuenca
Mozambique Simão Mate Junior
Kashima Antlers Brazil Arthur Caíke Brazil Bueno Brazil Diego Pituca Brazil Everaldo Brazil Juan Alano Brazil Léo Silva South Korea Kwoun Sun-tae
Urawa Red Diamonds Denmark Alexander Scholz Denmark Kasper Junker Australia Thomas Deng
Kashiwa Reysol Brazil Cristiano Brazil Dodi Brazil Émerson Santos Brazil Matheus Sávio Brazil Richardson Brazil Rodrigo Angelotti South Korea Kim Seung-gyu Russia Ippei Shinozuka Brazil Pedro Raúl
FC Tokyo Brazil Adaílton Brazil Bruno Uvini Brazil Diego Oliveira Brazil Leandro Lebanon Joan Oumari
Kawasaki Frontale Brazil Jesiel Brazil João Schmidt Brazil Leandro Damião Brazil Marcinho South Korea Jung Sung-ryong South Korea Lee Kyung-tae
Yokohama F. Marinos Brazil Marcos Júnior Brazil Thiago Martins Brazil Élber Brazil Léo Ceará Thailand Theerathon Bunmathan
Yokohama FC Brazil Arthur Silva Brazil Gabriel Brazil Felipe Vizeu Brazil Kléber Brazil Maguinho Brazil Saulo Mineiro Germany Svend Brodersen South Korea Han Ho-gang Netherlands Calvin Jong-a-Pin
Shonan Bellmare Brazil Riuler Brazil Wellington Brazil Welinton Júnior Norway Tarik Elyounoussi
Shimizu S-Pulse Brazil Carlinhos Júnior Brazil Elsinho Brazil Thiago Santana Brazil Renato Augusto Brazil Ronaldo Brazil Valdo Kosovo Benjamin Kololli Peru Erick Noriega Brazil William Matheus
Nagoya Grampus Brazil Gabriel Xavier Brazil Mateus Poland Jakub Świerczok Australia Mitchell Langerak South Korea Kim Min-tae
Gamba Osaka Brazil Leandro Pereira Brazil Patric Brazil Tiago Alves Brazil Wellington Silva South Korea Ju Se-jong South Korea Kim Young-gwon South Korea Shin Won-ho
Cerezo Osaka Brazil Tiago Pagnussat Australia Adam Taggart South Korea Kim Jin-hyeon Vietnam Đặng Văn Lâm Brazil Dankler
Vissel Kobe Brazil Douglas Brazil Lincoln Belgium Thomas Vermaelen Spain Andrés Iniesta Spain Bojan Krkić Spain Sergi Samper Kenya Ayub Masika
Sanfrecce Hiroshima Brazil Douglas Vieira Brazil Ezequiel Brazil Júnior Santos Brazil Rhayner
Sagan Tosu Brazil Eduardo Kenya Ismael Dunga Nigeria Chikeluba Ofoedu North Korea Ryang Yong-gi South Korea Hwang Seok-ho South Korea Park Il-gyu South Korea Ueom Ye-hoon
Avispa Fukuoka Brazil Bruno Mendes Brazil Cauê Brazil Douglas Grolli Belgium Jordy Croux Spain Carlos Gutiérrez Spain Juanma Sweden Emil Salomonsson Cameroon John Mary
Tokushima Vortis Brazil Cacá Brazil Diego Serbia Dušan Cvetinović Norway Mushaga Bakenga Italy Cristian Battocchio
Oita Trinita Brazil Henrique Trevisan Brazil Matheus

League table

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification or relegation
1 Kawasaki Frontale (C) 38 28 8 2 81 28 +53 92 Qualification for the AFC Champions League group stage
2 Yokohama F. Marinos 38 24 7 7 82 35 +47 79
3 Vissel Kobe 38 21 10 7 62 36 +26 73 Qualification for the AFC Champions League play-off round
4 Kashima Antlers 38 21 6 11 62 36 +26 69
5 Nagoya Grampus 38 19 9 10 44 30 +14 66
6 Urawa Red Diamonds 38 18 9 11 45 38 +7 63[a] Qualification for the AFC Champions League group stage[b]
7 Sagan Tosu 38 16 11 11 43 35 +8 59
8 Avispa Fukuoka 38 14 12 12 42 37 +5 54
9 FC Tokyo 38 15 8 15 49 53 −4 53
10 Consadole Sapporo 38 14 9 15 48 50 −2 51
11 Sanfrecce Hiroshima 38 12 13 13 44 42 +2 49
12 Cerezo Osaka 38 13 9 16 47 51 −4 48
13 Gamba Osaka 38 12 8 18 33 49 −16 44
14 Shimizu S-Pulse 38 10 12 16 37 54 −17 42
15 Kashiwa Reysol 38 12 5 21 37 56 −19 41
16 Shonan Bellmare 38 7 16 15 36 41 −5 37[a]
17 Tokushima Vortis 38 10 6 22 34 55 −21 36 Relegation to the J2 League
18 Oita Trinita 38 9 8 21 31 55 −24 35
19 Vegalta Sendai 38 5 13 20 31 62 −31 28
20 Yokohama FC 38 6 9 23 32 77 −45 27
Source: Meiji Yasuda J1 League, J.League Data Site
Rules for classification: 1) Points; 2) Goal difference; 3) Goals scored; 4) Head-to-head points; 5) Head-to-head goal difference; 6) Head-to-head goal scored; 7) Fair-play points.
(C) Champion
Notes:
  1. ^ a b The JPFL awarded a 3–0 win to Shonan Bellmare after Urawa Red Diamonds fielded Zion Suzuki who was an ineligible player. The original score was 3–2 for Shonan Bellmare.[27][28]
  2. ^ Qualified as winners of the 2021 Emperor's Cup.

Results table

Home \ Away ANT AVI BEL CER CON FMA FRO GAM GRA REY RED SAG SFR SSP TOK TRI VEG VIS VOR YFC
Kashima Antlers 0–3 3–1 1–0 4–0 5–3 1–2 3–1 0–1 2–1 1–0 1–0 1–1 1–3 3–0 0–0 1–1 1–1 3–0 1–2
Avispa Fukuoka 1–0 2–1 2–1 1–2 1–3 1–0 0–1 1–2 1–0 2–0 3–0 1–1 1–2 1–0 1–0 2–2 1–2 3–0 1–1
Shonan Bellmare 1–2 1–1 0–0 0–0 0–1 1–1 0–0 0–0 2–4 0–0 0–1 0–0 1–1 0–1 2–0 3–1 0–0 0–1 2–1
Cerezo Osaka 1–2 2–2 1–5 0–2 2–1 1–4 1–1 2–1 2–0 1–0 1–0 1–2 2–1 3–3 1–0 0–0 1–1 1–2 2–1
Consadole Sapporo 2–2 0–0 1–1 0–3 1–3 0–2 0–2 0–2 3–1 2–1 0–0 0–2 2–0 3–2 2–0 2–1 3–4 1–0 5–1
Yokohama F. Marinos 0–2 2–0 1–1 1–0 2–1 1–1 0–1 2–0 1–1 3–0 2–0 3–3 2–1 8–0 5–1 5–0 2–0 1–0 5–0
Kawasaki Frontale 2–1 3–1 2–1 3–2 2–0 2–0 4–1 3–2 1–0 1–1 1–0 1–1 1–0 1–0 2–0 2–2 3–1 2–0 3–1
Gamba Osaka 0–1 0–0 0–0 0–1 1–5 2–3 0–2 1–3 2–1 0–3 1–0 1–2 0–0 0–0 2–1 2–3 1–2 2–1 2–0
Nagoya Grampus 0–2 1–0 1–0 1–0 1–0 2–1 0–4 2–0 2–0 0–0 1–2 1–0 1–1 0–0 1–0 0–1 2–2 3–0 3–0
Kashiwa Reysol 2–1 0–0 2–1 1–0 1–2 1–2 0–0 1–0 0–1 0–2 1–3 0–3 1–2 0–4 2–3 1–1 1–2 5–1 2–1
Urawa Red Diamonds 2–1 2–0 0–3[a] 2–0 0–0 2–1 0–5 1–1 0–0 5–1 2–1 1–0 0–1 1–1 3–2 2–0 2–0 1–0 2–0
Sagan Tosu 2–1 0–0 1–1 3–3 1–0 0–4 3–1 0–1 3–1 2–0 2–0 0–0 2–1 1–0 0–0 5–0 0–2 2–0 3–0
Sanfrecce Hiroshima 1–4 1–2 0–1 0–1 2–1 1–3 1–1 0–0 1–0 1–0 2–2 1–1 1–0 1–2 4–1 1–1 1–1 0–1 0–1
Shimizu S-Pulse 0–4 2–2 1–1 2–1 2–2 2–2 0–2 0–1 0–3 0–1 0–2 0–0 1–0 3–0 1–0 2–1 0–2 0–3 1–1
FC Tokyo 1–2 0–0 3–2 3–2 2–1 0–3 2–4 1–0 1–1 0–1 1–2 1–2 0–0 4–0 3–0 2–1 2–3 0–2 4–0
Oita Trinita 0–0 2–1 2–0 1–0 1–1 0–1 0–2 2–3 0–3 0–1 1–0 1–1 1–3 1–0 1–1 2–0 1–3 1–1 2–0
Vegalta Sendai 0–1 0–1 0–2 1–1 1–1 0–0 1–5 0–1 1–1 1–0 0–0 0–1 2–0 2–3 1–2 2–1 0–2 0–1 0–0
Vissel Kobe 1–0 1–0 3–1 1–1 1–0 0–2 1–1 1–0 0–1 1–2 5–1 1–1 3–0 1–1 0–1 1–0 4–2 1–0 5–0
Tokushima Vortis 0–1 1–2 1–1 0–1 1–2 0–1 1–3 2–1 0–0 0–1 1–2 3–0 2–4 2–2 0–1 1–1 1–0 1–1 2–1
Yokohama FC 0–3 1–1 2–0 1–4 0–1 2–2 0–2 3–1 2–0 1–1 0–2 0–0 0–3 1–1 0–1 1–2 2–2 0–2 5–3
Source: Meiji Yasuda J1 League
Legend: Blue = home team win; Yellow = draw; Red = away team win.
  1. ^ The JPFL awarded 3–0 win to Shonan Bellmare after Urawa Red Diamonds fielded Zion Suzuki which was an ineligible player. The original score was 3–2 for Shonan Bellmare.[29][30]

Season statistics

Scoring

Top scorers

Rank Player Club Goals[31]
1 Brazil Leandro Damião Kawasaki Frontale 23
Japan Daizen Maeda Yokohama F. Marinos
3 Japan Kyogo Furuhashi Vissel Kobe 15
4 Japan Ayase Ueda Kashima Antlers 14
5 Brazil Diego Oliveira FC Tokyo 13
Brazil Patric Gamba Osaka
Brazil Thiago Santana Shimizu S-Pulse
8 Brazil Anderson Lopes Consadole Sapporo 12
Japan Ado Onaiwu Yokohama F. Marinos
10 Japan Ryotaro Araki Kashima Antlers 10
Brazil Léo Ceará Yokohama F. Marinos
Japan Yu Kobayashi Kawasaki Frontale

Hat-tricks

Player For Against Result Date
Brazil Anderson Lopes Consadole Sapporo Vissel Kobe 3–4 (H)[32][33] 20 March 2021
Japan Ado Onaiwu Yokohama F. Marinos FC Tokyo 3–0 (A)[34] 1 May 2021
Japan Shoma Doi Kashima Antlers Yokohama F. Marinos 5–3 (H)[35] 15 May 2021
Japan Kyogo Furuhashi Vissel Kobe Yokohama FC 5–0 (H)[36] 23 June 2021
Japan Daizen Maeda Yokohama F. Marinos Oita Trinita 5–1 (H)[37] 15 August 2021
Brazil Léo Ceará Yokohama F. Marinos Vegalta Sendai 5–0 (H)[38] 21 August 2021
Brazil Douglas Vieira Sanfrecce Hiroshima Kashiwa Reysol 3–0 (A)[39] 18 September 2021
Japan Daizen Maeda Yokohama F. Marinos FC Tokyo 8–0 (H)[40] 6 November 2021
Brazil Patric Gamba Osaka Oita Trinita 3–2 (A)[41] 7 November 2021

Top assists

Rank Player Club Assists[42]
1 Japan Miki Yamane Kawasaki Frontale 12
2 Japan Kota Mizunuma Yokohama F. Marinos 9
3 Brazil Leandro Damião Kawasaki Frontale 8
Japan Yuki Soma Nagoya Grampus
5 Japan Ryotaro Araki Kashima Antlers 7
Japan Yoshinori Muto Vissel Kobe
Japan Tatsuki Seko Yokohama FC
8 Brazil Élber Yokohama F. Marinos 6
Japan Ryo Hatsuse Vissel Kobe
Japan Yuta Higuchi Sagan Tosu
Japan Yusuke Maruhashi Cerezo Osaka
Japan Teruhito Nakagawa Yokohama F. Marinos
Sweden Emil Salomonsson Avispa Fukuoka
Japan Hokuto Shimoda Yokohama F. Marinos
Thailand Chanathip Songkrasin Consadole Sapporo

Discipline

Player

Club

See also

References

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  4. ^ Orlowitz, Dan (19 March 2020). "J. League to skip relegation as schedule threatened by coronavirus". The Japan Times.
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  13. ^ "Celtic: Ange Postecoglou confirmed as new manager of Scottish Premiership club". BBC Sport. 10 June 2021. Retrieved 10 June 2021.
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  23. ^ "長谷川健太監督 辞任のお知らせ" (in Japanese). FC Tokyo. 7 November 2021. Retrieved 2 December 2021.
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