It's Round Four of the 2014 Emperor's Cup, otherwise known as the Round of 16. Of the sixteen clubs in contention, nine are from J1 and seven from J2. We're all about the underdog here at Plenty of Nothing, so let's boldly follow the J2 teams:
Game #73: Sanfrecce Hiroshima [1 - 3] Gamba Osaka
Game #74: FC Tokyo [1 - 2] Shimizu S-Pulse
Game #75: Cerezo Osaka [2 - 0] Júbilo Iwata
Game #76: Montedio Yamagata [1 - 0] Sagan Tosu
Game #77: Giravanz Kitakyushu [1 - 0] Ventforet Kofu
Game #78: V-Varen Nagasaki [1 - 2] JEF United Chiba
Game #79: Ehime FC [1 - 2] Omiya Ardija
Game #80: Thespakusatsu Gunma [0 - 1] Nagoya Grampus
V-Varen Nagasaki's name and blue and orange uniform commemorate the city's ties with the Dutch East Indies Company, and the goose on their emblem recalls Nishiyama Sōin's verse:
150 years ago today the Chōshū Domain took on Britain, France, Holland and the United States in a bid to expel all barbarians from Japan. The Shimonoseki War is not much commemorated in the West, but it was a major event in the development of modern Japan. And though the Chōshū Domain lost this battle, its leaders went on to dominate the governments of the Meiji period.
The painting is Attack on the Japanese Battery at Shimonoseki by a Naval Brigade, September 1864 by Niels Møller Lund. It's held at the National Museum of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth.
A few passengers were standing there talking to the officer who had brought the records. The boat was already off the Sanuki coast. One of the passengers said to the officer, "Purser, which one of those mountains is the one with Kotohira Shrine on it?"
"It's that one there," said the officer, pointing. "It's supposed to resemble an elephant's head. Lord Kotohira on Elephant Head Mountain -- that's how they used to refer to the shrine in the old days, I'm told. You see that black patch on the side of the mountain? It looks pretty small from here, but when you get there you'll find that it's a big forest."
Four or five fishing boats, their sails taut, sped past over the indigo sea. The purser said that they were now about in the middle of the Inland Sea, where the tides from the east and west met as they came in and parted as they went out. "Next month will be even busier," he said, "when Zentsūji Temple has its festival."
Kensaku moved away from the group and went astern. There he sat down on a bench and looked at the line of mountains in the distance. There was a mountain on this side of the one the purser pointed at which seemed to Kensaku to have a much greater resemblance to an elephant's head.
The elephant, which has until now only shown its head, suddenly rises out of the ground. The people are thrown into a panic. Will this monster destroy all mankind, or will they find a way to destroy it? Soldiers, statesmen and scholars from all over the world gather together and rack their brains. Guns and mines won't do, for the elephant's hide is a hundred yards thick, and they would only scratch its surface. Trying to starve it would be useless, for it eats at fifty-year intervals. The more intelligent men say that so long as it is not annoyed it will do no mischief. Certain men of religion in India say that it is a god. But the great majority of men clamor for its immediate destruction, and are full of foolish ideas as to how this might be accomplished. The elephant begins to get angry.
Before he knew it, Kensaku himself had become the elephant, excitedly preparing for his one-man war against the world at large. He is in a city. Each time he stamps a foot, fifty thousand men are crushed to death. Guns, mines, poison gas, airplanes, airships -- all such ingenious devices created by man's intelligence are directed at him. He takes a deep breath, exhales through his long nose, and the airplanes, feebler than mosquitoes, fall to the ground; the airships float away helplessly like balloons. He draws up water into his nose and disgorges it, and there is a flood; he descends into the depths of the ocean and comes up suddenly, causing a tremendous tidal wave ...
"I hope the trip hasn't been too boring for you, sir. That over there is Tadotsu. We'll be arriving in about ten minutes." It was the purser. Little did he know that at that moment Kensaku was far from being bored.
Naoya Shiga, A Dark Night's Passing, pages 132-4. This novel was published in 1937, but most of it was serialized from 1921 to 1923, three decades before the first Godzilla movie; which only goes to show that everything was invented in the Twenties.
It's Round Three of the 94th Emperor's Cup. 32 teams remain, including two amateur sides that have been in it since Round One.
Kwansei Gakuin University of Hyōgo Prefecture have advanced past Tochigi Prefecture champions Tochigi Uva, and then Vissel Kobe of J1, to get to Round Three.
Kwansei Gakuin have a lot of history with this tournament, having won the Cup seven times: as Kwangaku Club in 1929, 1930, 1958 and 1959; and as All Kwangaku in 1950, 1053 and 1955. (Kwangaku is shorthand for Kwansei Gakuin. Kwansei is the 19th-century English spelling of Kansei, archaic but Kwangaku alumni insist on it.)
The other Round One entrant still alive is Nara Club, who beat Fukushima United of J3 and then Vegalta Sendai of J1.
Nara was the capital of Japan from 710 to 784 AD.
Game 57: Sanfrecce Hiroshima versus Mito HollyHock [postponed]
Game 60: Shimizu S-Pulse [2 - 1] Consadole Sapporo
Game 62: Nara Club [0 - 5] Júbilo Iwata
Game 66: Ventforet Kofu [2 - 1] Kwansei Gakuin University
On this date in 1888 Mount Bandai in Fukushima Prefecture erupted, destroying several neighbouring villages and killing about 500 people. This contemporary ukiyoe triptich is by Tankei Inoue. Yasushi Inoue has a short story about it, "Under the Shadow of Mount Bandai", in The Shōwa Anthology.
Naoya Fukumori of Kwansei Gakuin University. Source.
It's the second round of the 94th Emperor's Cup, the round in which the J1 and J2 clubs join in. Six J3 teams are still in it, but not Grulla Morioka. Also still in it are Kwansei Gakuin University, a team we followed for a moment last year. Games of interest are:
Game 26: Mito HollyHock versus Avispa Fukuoka [2 - 0]
Game 27: Gamba Osaka versus Zwiegen Kanazawa [5 - 1]
Game 29: FC Tokyo versus Blaublitz Akita [8 - 0]
Game 44: Vissel Kobe versus Kwansei Gakuin University [1 - 2]
Game 48: JEF United Chiba versus Nagano Parciero [3 - 2]
Game 49: Kawasaki Frontale versus YSCC [2 - 1]
Game 52: Shonan Bellmare versus FC Ryukyu [2 - 1]
Game 56: Kyoto Sanga versus Gainare Tottori [3 - 1]
I'm following Mito for old time's sake; by which I mean, 2012. How are HollyHock doing this year? Mid-table. The Hokkaido Emperor's Cup games are about two weeks behind the others, so I'm ignoring Consadole Sapporo till the third round.
[So, all the J3 teams are out. But Kwansei Gakuin University are still in. The next round is August 20th.]
It's also the final of the World Cup today. This is the third time Germany and Argentina have met in the final, but the first time each side has had the backing of a Pope.
On Thursday Aberdeen beat Daugava Riga 0 - 3 in Latvia. The Dons move on to the second qualifying round of the Europa League where they will meet Groningen.
Yesterday Greenock Morton hosted Rotherham United in a friendly at Cappielow. The Millers, who are newly promoted to the English Championship, visited Greenock about this time last summer too and on that occasion played the Ton to a 0 - 0 draw. Rotherham, South Yorkshire, was on the first stage of the Tour de France this year, somehow. [Greenock Morton nil, Rotherham United one.]
Tomorrow Morton play Viewfield Rovers in the semifinal of the Renfrewshire Cup.