The J2 was formed in 1999, after the first phase of J.League expansion reached the point at which it was no longer feasible to add teams to the top-flight division. When the J2 was initially formed, there were just ten teams: Kawasaki Frontale, FC Tokyo, Oita Trinita, Albirex Niigata, Consadole Sapporo, Montedio Yamagata, Sagan Tosu, Vegalta Sendai and Ventforet Kofu. Nine of these had been selected from the JFL, as part of the league's reorganization, and they were joined by Consadole, who lost the promotion/relegation playoff at the end of 1998. One team was added in each of the next two years (Mito Hollyhock at the end of 1999 and the reconstituted Yokohama FC in 2000), at which point one could say that the second phase of J.League expansion was finished. There were twenty-eight teams in total -- 16 in the top division (J1) and 12 in division two (J2)
For the next few years the number of teams remained at 28, as officials took a wait-and-see approach to further expansion. The financial instability encountered in 1998, which led to the collapse and dissolution of Yokohama Flugels, and the reorganization of Bellmare Hiratsuka (now Shonan Bellmare) left League officials uncertain about the potential for further growth. It was not until the end of 2004 that economic conditions had improved, and nationwide support for the J.League had recovered enough to justify further expansion. However, by 2004 there were a number of amateur teams in the JFL that were interested in restructuring, and joining the professional ranks. Therefore, the J.League introduced a new format for expansion, based on a long-term growth strategy that is now referred to as the "Hundred Year Plan." Under the first phase of this plan (the third phase of J.League expansion) the J2 would expand until there were 22 teams.
The J2 reached its capacity in 2012, yet there were still a dozen or more clubs which were organized with the specific aim of joining the professional ranks, and were nearing the point where they could satisfy J2 entry criteria. Therefore, in 2014 the fourth phase of expansion began, with the creation of a third division (the "J3").
The 22 teams shown below are members of the J.League second division (J2) during the 2016 season. If you click on the icon for each team, the link will take you to a page with detailed information on that team, as well as a team schedule, a player roster, and past historical data.
For information on teams in the J.League first division (J1), Click Here.
For information on teams in the J.League third division (J3), Click Here.