After the Quake


Formed in 2012, one year after a devastating earthquake rocked Japan’s Fukushima Prefecture, Iwaki FC debuted in the Japanese Professional Football League’s seventh division. Now in its seventh full season, the team — which has been promoted three times — is getting ready to step on the world stage. Next month, Iwaki FC will play in the Pacific Rim Cup, a professional tournament in Hawaii featuring teams from both the J League and MLS. The Players’ Tribune went behind the scenes with Iwaki for several days this season to get a peek at a team on the rise, and also to ask players about their thoughts on appearing in the Pacific Rim Cup. Says forward Tomoki Yoshida, “[This] will be a great opportunity to show the world that we, as a Japanese team, can compete on an international stage.”

Photographs by Kohjiro Kinno/The Players’ Tribune

“There were many people who experienced many losses and were affected. I hope that the fans can come and feel better watching us play and somehow take away a sense of courage, and feed off our energy.”

Tsubasa Hisanaga

“I believe we, Iwaki FC, should be a center of hope for the people as they watch us play.”

Shunsuke Hirasawa

Win or lose, I think the Pacific Rim Cup is a good opportunity to show the Iwaki FC style.

Shunsuke Hirasawa