Trying to pinpoint the exact origins of eSports isn’t the most straightforward task. While most consider the “Intergalactic Spacewar Olympics” from Stanford in 1972 as the first-ever eSport event, many others disagree. However, no matter where this exciting phenomenon started, nobody can dispute that South Korea (and Asia overall) took it to a whole different level. It’s the Asian countries that transformed regular “LAN parties” into official events with hundreds of thousands in attendance. Japan is one of the most technologically-advanced nations in Asia, they couldn’t stand back and not join the movement. In this article, we’re checking out the Japanese eSports teams, the games they focus on, and other exciting facts.
Top-Rated Japanese Esports Teams
We’ll start our analysis of the Japanese eSports landscape by checking out the teams that managed to make a name for themselves at international events.
One of the first eSports teams in the country, DetonatioN FocusMe, was formed in 2013 with a focus on League of Legends. Their first appearance was at the 2013 IEM Singapore Amateur Tournament. The team was quickly eliminated. However, they quickly regrouped and won the 2014 LJL Summer Split.
2015 saw an expansion of the League of Legend eSports circuit. Japan was included in the International Wildcard Tournament, and it was perfect timing for DetonatioN FocusMe. They had the opportunity to test their strength against top-tier teams and continued to improve. They won the 2016 Spring Split undefeated with a sensational record of 13-0 and continued to dominate the region.
Earlier in 2021, the DetonatioN FocusMe became the first team from Japan to represent the country at the World Championship. Unfortunately, they lost all their games in the group stage, but we’ll certainly hear from them at future international tournaments.
Apparently, eSports in Japan have a lot to do with detonations and explosions altogether. It’s not surprising when considering Overwatch is the most played game in Japan by pros. DeToNator is one of the most successful teams to play Overwatch. They were founded in 2009 with a mix of Japanese and Philippines players.
They made a name for themselves in Alliance of Valiant Arms and progressed towards Overwatch, PUBG, League of Legends, and Dota 2. After appearances in a series of international events, with mixed results, the team was disbanded in 2019. However, its former members are still active in the eSports environment, with imoNari commentating on the 14.11 PUBG Mobile Rivals Cup game between Japan and South Korea.
Formerly known as Jupiter, Zeta Division is one of the most promising Japanese eSports teams. Their first appearance after the rebranding was at the Valorant Master in Berlin. They drew an audience of over 200,000 in Japan for that tournament. Even though they didn’t make it to the knockout rounds, the years of careful development got them wins in the Japanese Ignition Series and First Strike Japan.
The energy surrounding the team and the plans for the future will surely bring them to eSports fans attention in the future. It goes without saying, they will continue to play in upcoming League of Legends and Valorant competitions. According to Casinonavi.com, a local online portal specialized in Japanese eSports, Zeta Division is one of the teams to watch in the upcoming tournaments.
Esports for Everyone in Japan
eSports seems like an activity for the young. At first glance of the listed teams, it is hard to argue the point. However, that is not the case. There are a few teams that have unique rosters and manage to get a lot of attention.
The Matagi Snipers took the world by storm as the first senior professional eSports team. With ages ranging from 66 to 73, the team based in Akita plays Counter-Strike and takes things very seriously. They even have a sponsor and everything needed to compete at international events. It goes without saying that their chances of winning competitions are slim. However, it’s a nice way to make a statement that eSports is a discipline without an age limit. Furthermore, the Matagi Snipers promote eSports as a form of cognitive impairment prevention, among other health benefits.
What Does the Future Hold?
No matter if we’re talking about the promising DetonatioN FocusMe or Zeta Division teams that lead the Japanese eSports movement or the unique Matagi Snipers, it’s clear that this discipline has much more to offer.
Things would have been a lot better if not for the restrictive laws surrounding professional gaming in Japan. Finally, after years of linking gaming with alcohol abuse and even gambling, it looks like the country is finally ready to take serious steps towards proper regulation. The Japanese eSports Union, together with Japan eSports Federation, is hard at work to ensure a bright future for professional gamers in the country.