Saturday, 03 June 2023



Iwaki FC has a very interesting, albeit somewhat tragic history. The club was created in 2012, in the Fukushima Prefecture town of Iwaki, as part of an effort to revive a region that had just been devastated by the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake. Its "home town" area includes the entire eastern coast of Fukushima Prefecture - an area best known as the home of several large nuclear plants.  In 2011 disaster struck the region, with thousands killed in the earthquake and tsunami, and perhaps a million displaced by the combined efffects of the quake itself and the nuclear meltdowns that took place in the town of Minami-Soma, just 25km or so from Iwaki City.

As the region attempted to rebuild, many people craved the chance to do something that would offer a bit of "normalcy" to young people growing up amidst the devastation. "Iwaki Sports Club" at first simply offered young people in Iwaki a place to congregate and play sports, as they tried to return to normal lives. But in late 2015 it received a big boost when the sportswear company DOME (Japan's exclusive UnderArmor distributor) heard about the club's efforts - in both sports and community service - and threw their resources behind an effort to develop "sports business" in the area.

Fukushima prefecture has long been home to Japan's National Team Training Center, as well as the base for women's and youth teams to train (the men have facilities in both Kanto and Kansai). Following the Tohoku tsunami, the Fukushima Training Session was repaired and extended, ahd the apparel brand saw potential to get involved with this activity, and turn it into a more wide-ranging project to help revive a battered region ... and boost their brand name at the same time.

In quick succession, Beam and other corporate sponsors helped construct a top-quality traiining pitch, clubhouse and stadium to serve as the base for the newly reminted Iwaki FC. The rise was rapid, with Iwaki running through the Fukushima Prefectural League's three divisions in three years, and won every match they played for four years straight. The gap in quality between the newly minted club and existing teams in the area is perhaps best reflected in the incredible goal differences the club recorded. In 2017, it defeated opponents by an AVERAGE of seven goals per game. Iwaki FC reached the Tohoku Regional League in 2018 and the JFL in 2020. The 2021 season brought a JFL title and promotion to the J3. Never before has a club rocketed to respectability and nationwide relevance like Iwaki FC.

But the fairy tale did not end there. Itochu Corporation came in as a partial owner in 2022, and the investment the team was able to make in personnel brought a J3 title as well. In 2023, Iwaki FC joins the J2 for the first time. Who can say whether the team can rise even further? Whatever the case, Fukushima Prefecture now has not one, but TWO J.League clubs - a reason for the entire prefecture to feel proud.


Team Results for 2015-2022

Year League Rank Pts W D L GF GA G.Dif
2015 Fukushima Div. 3 1 30 10 0 0 41 9 +32
2016 Fukushima Div. 2 1 30 10 0 0 93 1 +92
2017 Fukushima Div. 1 1 30 10 0 0 93 0 +93
2018 Tohoku Div. 2  1 54 18 0 0 139 12 +127
2019 Tohoku Div. 1  1 48 15 3 0 82 14 +68
2020 JFL 7 21 6 3 6 24 24 0
2021 JFL 1 71 21 8 3 65 28 +37

Team Results for 2022-Present

Year League Rank Pts W D L GF GA G.Dif
2022 J3 1 76 23 7 4 72 23 +49