Basketball in Japan

Scores and results for basketball leagues in Japan

All Leagues - Last 10 Days

Top 5 performances from basketball players


Country: Japan
Location: Asia
Demography: 126M (2020)
Spoken language: Japanese
Largest cities: Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, Nagoya, Sapporo

What are the main professional basketball leagues in Japan?

The B.League is the professional men's basketball league in Japan. It was born in 2016 from the merger between two competing leagues that no longer allowed, according to FIBA, the proper development of basketball in the country. On the one hand, the National Basketball League, managed by the FIBA-affiliated Japan Basketball Association, and on the other, the BJ League, managed independently.
The league consists of two main divisions, named B1 and B2. Each of these two divisions is divided into two conferences, East and West, and there is a system of promotion and relegation between the 22 teams in the first division and the 14 teams in the second.

How is basketball developing in Japan?

Japan is struggling to establish itself as a major basketball nation in Asia. Notably because of the power of China, but not only... Japan has taken a long time to professionalize its leagues and establish a simple and unique system to allow an effective development. 
The teams of the various leagues managed by the Japan Basketball Association have long been affiliated with large companies and the players have been employed by their respective owner companies rather than competing as professional basketball players. The structure of the Japan Super League (formerly the National Basketball League) remained amateur for a long time, until it was challenged by the BJ League and its franchise system in 2005. This led to various changes, without ever finding stability.
FIBA was worried about the division and disorganization of basketball in the country. The Japan Basketball Association did not reorganize the national leagues in time, FIBA suspended Japan from international competitions in November 2014. This led to the merger of the two competing leagues in 2015 to lift the international suspension.

What about the Japan national team?

Japan's national basketball team is administered by the Japan Basketball Association (JBA). A founding member of FIBA Asia in 1936, Japan has one of the longest basketball traditions in Asia. Japan has one of the most successful basketball teams in Asia. It has won the FIBA Asia Cup twice and is the second leading nation in qualifying for the event. The team has qualified for the Olympics 7 times and the FIBA World Cup 6 times, but failed to perform.

But since the rise of China, Japan has seen some decline and appearances at world events have become scarce. Even on the Asian stage, the Japanese national team is no longer able to perform. Since a bronze medal in 1995, Japan has never reached the podium of the FIBA Asia Cup.

Who are the most famous Japanese players?

One of the most famous Japanese players is Yuta Tabuse, a point guard born in 1980. Although he played only four games, he is the first Japanese to play in the NBA.

Today, Rui Hachimura is one of the rising stars of Japanese basketball. The power forward has been playing for the Washington Wizards since he was drafted 9th overall in 2019. In December of that year, he and Yuta Watanabe became the first pair of Japanese players to face each other in the NBA.