J-league is the name of Japanese
. Established in 1992, it has played a pivotal role in enhancing the quality
of Japanese soccer
. The first season started in May of 1993, when such international stars as Zico and Kazu gained a lot of attention. The league
has evolved since its inauguration, with 10 teams in its initial year to 16 teams in 1999.
The league is divided into two divisions: the "J1" and "J2". There is also a semi-official third division league called the JFL. There is a promotion-relegation system between the J1 and J2, but not between the J2 and JFL.
In addition to league play, there are two Cup championships such as Yamazaki-Nabisco Cup and Tenno Hai (Emperor's Cup), which correspond to Worthington Cup and FA Cup in English Premier League respectively.
Here are the 16 J1 teams as of the season 2003-2004.
URAWA RED DIAMONDS
JEF UNITED ICHIHARA
Tokyo VERDY 1969
NAGOYA GRAMPUS EIGHT
KYOTO PURPLE SANGA
Japan Football Association http://www.jfa.or.jp/
Asia Football Confederation http://www.asian-football.com/