In its chosen hashtag for the season (#2020の主役は誰だ), the J. League literally asks "who will play the lead role in 2020?"

That's never exactly been an easy question to ask, but it's become especially difficult in recent years. The league's supply of reliable stars has steadily decreased as more Japanese players — well over 50 at this point — make their way to Europe at increasingly younger ages.

As a result, it's unlikely that any of the league's Best Young Player recipients will ever go on to win Most Valuable Player: In the last decade, only 2019 recipient Ao Tanaka has yet to make the leap overseas (though it's surely coming, perhaps as early as this summer), and six of the remaining eight Japanese recipients are still in Europe.