Monday, 21 August 2017

Tokushima Vortis

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Tokushima Vortis has an interesting history which illustrates the surprisingly powerful influence of fan clubs on football in Japan. Originally founded as the company team of Otsuka Pharmaceutical, in 1994 the team responded to the JFA's request to try to give teams a "local character" rather than one linked to a corporation, by changing its name to Vortis Tokushima. The word "Vortis" was a reference to the famous tidal whirlpools ("vortex") that form in the shallow waters of the Inland Sea, not far from the team's home stadium, at every change of the tide.

But in 1999, when the JFL was reorganised, team officials inexplicably changed the name back to "Otsuka Pharmaceutical FC". Apparently, the company and team alike had decided not to continue pursuing a professional existence after all. But while Otsuka Pharmaceutical had the "power" to force through such a change, it soon discovered that its power was only nominal.  Otsuka was wholly unprepared to address the campaign of "nonviolent resistance" which the team's fans implemented.

Though they never voiced anger or controversy, fans continued to show up at the stadium each week with huge banners of support for "Vortis Tokushima". An internet search for "Vortis Tokushima" would turn up dozens of web sites whereas "Otsuka Pharmaceutical FC" provided practically none. The company soon realised that regardless of what THEY wanted to call the team, the fans had taken matters into their own hands. Giving way to public pressure, Otsuka granted the team its independence, and gave it back its name -- though reversing the two words. Tokushima Vortis earned a spot in the J2 just one year later -- in 2005 -- and even made the climb into J1 for a single season, in 2015. In late 2014, when J1 promotion seemed in reach, Vortis adopted two mascots -- tanuki (raccoon dogs) named "Vorta" and "Tiis".

Team Name:

Emblem

Mascot

Team Flag:

Home Uniform -- Away Uniform

Management Corporation: Tokushima Vortis Inc.
Established: 7 September 2004
President: Koji Takamoto
Investors: Funded by local government and local companies including Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.
Address: 2-22 Hisagodani, Aza-Inabushi, Itano-cho, Itano-gun, Tokushima 779-0108

Hometown Area: Tokushima Prefecture
Home Stadium: Naruto (Pocari Sweat) Stadium (capacity: 20,441)
Joined J. League: 2005