J. League fans may not be cheering yet — but they are returning, with first-division clubs reporting average crowds of 12,515 at games played through the weekend’s fourth round.

While that number is still well below the 2019 average of 20,751, it is a promising sign that Japanese soccer is at last transitioning to the post-pandemic phase and can, after two years of focusing on disinfection protocols, begin the challenging task of reminding fans what they’ve missed so much about their weekly trips to the stadium.

Unable to view this article?

This could be due to a conflict with your ad-blocking or security software.

Please add japantimes.co.jp and piano.io to your list of allowed sites.

If this does not resolve the issue or you are unable to add the domains to your allowlist, please see out this support page.

We humbly apologize for the inconvenience.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.