In 1991, the owners of the semi-professional Japan Soccer League agreed to disband the league and re-form as the professional J. League, partly to raise the sport's profile and to strengthen the national team program.
Japan is now one of the most successful teams in Asia having qualified for the last four consecutive World Cup finals with second round advancements in 2002 & 2010 and having won the AFC Asian Cup a record four times.
The Japanese team is commonly known by the fans and media as Soccer Nippon Daihyō.
Although the team does not have an official nickname as such, it is often known by the name of the manager. For example, under Takeshi Okada, the team was known as Okada Japan.
The three-legged crow, Yatagarasu, is a creature found in various mythologies and arts of Asia. It is believed to represent the sun and is the messenger of the gods.