Interview: Japan’s Chairwoman of the New Pro Women’s Soccer League charts a course for success
3 May 2021
Kikuko Okajima, Chairwoman of the WE League, wants to capture a whole new type of fans. Through soccer schools for kids she wants families to attend the matches.
We League hopes to capture the followers of their uniform sponsor, mainly teens to people in their early 20s, “to use their platforms/networks, like Instagram, to showcase our athletes and bring in a new group of fans”
The WE League should also be front-runners in the diversity discussions in Japan. The country landed at number 120 out of 156 countries in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index for 2020.
Women must comprise 50 percent of each club’s personnel in the WE Leaue. This will include decision-makers and coaching staff.
On a November day in 2018 a jovial, teeming crowd gathered in downtown Tokyo to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Japan Soccer League—predecessor to the J.League. During the festivities, hands shook, business cards were exchanged—and the origins to the women’s professional league —the Women’s Empowerment League (WE League)—began.
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