Sunday, 12 July 2020

Vanraure Hachinohe

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Vanraure Hachinohe is a relatively new club, which was not even a part of the amateur football landscape prior to 2000. The northern half of Tohoku is more sparsely populated than, and much further behind the south in developing competitive football clubs. While Miyagi and Yamagata Prefectures both had representatives in the J.League by the turn of the century, it has only been in the past decade that clubs like Blaublitz Akita, Fukushima United and Grulla Morioka made their way into the top levels of the amateur game, and it was only the launch of J3 which brought these prefectures into the pro ranks. Aomori prefecture - at the far northern tip of Honshu was still the odd-man out until 2019.

Perhaps the best part of Vanraure's story is the way that it co-opted local culture and traditions. Hachinohe and its neighboring towns along the "Sanriku" coast are major fishing ports, which have a reputation for top-quality seafood that goes back some 1500 years. Drawing upon that connection, Vanraure adopted a logo that includes branched seaweed amidst a blue-and-green field, along with the orange silhouette of a squid.  While that may restrict the possibilities for a "cute and cuddly" sort of mascot. like you find throughout most of the J.League, in a rough, historic fishing town like Hachinohe, a squid seems to be the most appropriate mascot you could imagine. Sure enough, to mark its advance into the JFL, Vanraure unveiled a mascot character named "Vanta", whose head is shaped like a giant squid.

Despite a lot of local interest, Hachinohe faced an uphill battle as they tried to fight their way into J3. The town is smaller than any other J.League hometown except Kofu, and in Ventforet's case the population of Kofu City is augmented by some fairly large nearby towns. Hachinohe is in a very rural pocket of rugged coastline, and it took a great deal of support from the locals to give Vanraure the support base needed to climb into the professional ranks.

Nevertheless, anyone who has even the slightest bit of romantic sensibility will surely be rooting for The Fighting Squid now that they have made it into J3. The J.League can only be richer for the small-town character that teams like Vanraure bring.

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Address: 4

Hometown Area: Hachinohe, Aomori Prefecture

Home Stadium: Stadium (capacity: )

Joined J.League: 2018