Thursday, 20 June 2024


Blaublitz Akita was only created in 2010, but prior to its birth as an independent entity, it had a fairly long history as the company team of TDK, which was formed in 1965. During the JSL era, it was even a reasonably competitive team, rising as high as the second "nationwide level" in 1985 and 1986. Following the reorganization which accompanied the creation of the J.League, TDK remained a fairly strong regional power, often vying for the title in the Tohoku League. But despite these minor successes, TDK never managed to fight its way through the playoffs to claim a spot in the JFL.

Never, that is, until 2006, when an extraordinary performance in the Nationwide Regional League Championship Tournament surprised everyone -- including TDK themselves. Until that point in time, the team apparently had never even considered a possible future beyond the amateur ranks, and they seemed quite content with their position as a perennial regional league member. But after a perfect season in the Tohoku Regional League, where TDK won 14 straight matches scoring an average of 4 goals per match and conceding 0.5, the players were brimming with confidence and energy. This strong team morale carried over into the playoffs, and despite a much higher level of competition, TDK defeated all comers and claimed a ticket into the JFL.

The surprise advancement stimulated a great deal of thought, and sensing an opportunity to use this backwater football team into a platform for company publicity, the head office of TDK (in Tokyo) began to throw its considerable creative talents behind the team. An image makeover was conducted in early 2007, giving the team a new logo, new uniforms and a new raison d'etre.

At first, TDK kept its longer-term plans under wraps. The company Logo included in the above team crest ensured that it could never be acceptable to the J.League, but a comparison with the symbols used by Blaublitz today makes it clear that this was the first step towards the creation of an independent team. Though TDK managed to attract a few former J.Leaguers to the roster in 2007 and 2008, this failed to boost the team very far up the JFL standings. It was only in 2009 that momentum began to build at the grassroots level. Attendances rose and local fan clubs started to press the company to make its intentions clear. A veteran defender named Hirotoshi Yokoyama, who  had registered almost 200 caps for teams like JEF United, Yokohama FC and Ventforet Kofu, was selected as the player/coach/leader of the pack, and following a tenth-place finish the club was reorganized with the name "Blaublitz Akita".

The name "Blaublitz" was cobbled together in typical J.League fashion, by combining words from a foreign language which seemed appropriate to the local area, or the team itself. TDK has always used a blue logo, and its long history as an amateur club was played in bright blue uniforms, so the German words for "Blue Lightning" were adopted as the new club moniker. The momentum created by this change carried Blaublitz to eight place in 2010 -- its highest finish ever.

Unfortunately, this advance could not be sustained. Despite the continued advertising support of TDK, Blaublitz lacked the finances or local support base to climb very far in the JFL table. It was only in 2013, when the J.League laid out the plans for a new Division 3, that Akita's hopes of bringing professional football to the prefecture finally showed signs of panning out. With strong support from both corporate backers and local politicians, Blaublitz easily ticked all the boxes for organizational strength. Though fan backing and attendance figures were an area of weakness, the prospect of joining the J3 was enough of a boost to carry the team past that hurdle as well, and in 2014 Blaublitz Akita entered the J.League as a founding member of the J3.

Once again, the team's performance on the pitch progressed more rapidly than the front office could handle. After steadily climbing the table for three years, in 2017 Blaublitz WON the J3 title, yet because it still did not have facilities and financial structures that could meet J2 requirements, the Blue Lightning had to remain in J3. While the necessary stadium improvements were finally completed the following year, Blaublitz still seemed a bit "amateurish" in many ways.

In 2020, the addition of some payers with past J1 experience, such as Ken Hisatomi and Kenichi Kaga,  and a new coach in Kewn Yoshida, gave Blaublitz the momentum to secure their second J3 title, and this time they ticked all the boxes to advance to J2. As this performance shows, the Blue Lightning CAN strike with decisiveness, given the opportunity. 

Moving up through the J2 ranks is likely to be a time-consuming task for Blaublitz, as the league enters its second quarter-century. But Akita is one of the larger cities in Tohoku, and its isolation may actually allow the team to build strong local roots. So far, team management has done a good job of achieving steady improvement without overextending team resources. In time, Blaublitz fans could see their dream of J1 football realised at last.

Team Results: 2005-2013

Year Rank Pts GP W D L GF GA G.Dif
2005 (Tohoku Lg.) 1 29 12 9 2 1 36 10 +26
2006 (Tohoku Lg.) 1 42 14 14 0 0 58 7 +51
2007 (JFL) 13 42 34 11 9 14 49 47 2
2008 (JFL) 13 41 34 10 11 13 48 47 +1
2009 (JFL) 10 46 34 14 4 16 39 54 -15
2010 (JFL) 8 51 34 14 9 11 54 41 +13
2011 (JFL) 14 37 33 10 7 16 38 52 -14
2012 (JFL) 13 37 32 9 10 13 33 41 -8
2013 (JFL) 8 50 34 14 8 12 48 45 +3


Team Results: 2014-present

Year Rank Pts W D L GF GA G.Dif
2014 (J3) 8 34 10 4 19 38 57 -19
2015 (J3) 8 45 12 9 15 37 40 -3
2016 (J3) 4 50 14 8 8 37 26 +11
2017 (J3) 1 43 12 7 13 37 35 +2
2018 (J3) 8 43 12 7 13 37 35 +2
2019 (J3) 8 49 13 10 11 45 35 +10
2020 (J3) 1 73 21 10 3 55 18 +37
2021 (J2) 13 47 11 14 17 41 53 -12
2022 (J2) 12 56 15 11 16 39 46 -7