The Kanto Cricket League (KCL) was the first formal cricket league in Japan, starting in the late ’80s involving teams in the Kanto area of the country (stretching several hundred kilometers north and south of Tokyo). In these early years almost all the players, with several notable exceptions, were non-Japanese, mainly from India, Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand and the UK (with one token Frenchman!).
Originally comprising only a handful of teams, the KCL gradually expanded over the years, and in 2002, agreed to became an official competition under the auspices of the Japan Cricket Association (JCA). The JCA needed an official competition in order to qualify for Associate status of the International Cricket Council. As a result, several Japanese teams joined the KCL competition. Eventually, however, differences arose between the directions the JCA and the original KCL teams wanted to take, and these reached a head at an EGM called in June 2006. At that meeting, the original KCL was disbanded, and a ‘new’ KCL, was immediately formed to take its place, and that competition is now going on with teams competing in two groups. There is an elected Committee of 7, who run the League and adjudicate on any questions arising during the season.
Starting with only 9 teams in 2006, the new KCL has now grown to 12 teams (with more teams on the ‘waiting list’) and is easily the strongest of the cricket competitions in Japan, dare we say North East Asia. Games are played on 4 or 5 grounds in the Kanto area (locating suitable grounds is still one of the main problems in playing cricket in Japan), during a season that runs from April to November. Teams from the KCL competition also regularly compete in overseas 6-a-side tournaments and also engage in foreign tours to such venues as Hong Kong, The Philippines and Thailand. Individual members of the KCL are also involved in projects coaching Japanese schoolchildren.
The KCL currently has players from Pakistan, India, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, South Africa and Zimbabwe (and still one token Frenchman!). We look forward to having players of more nationalities (for some reason there seem to be few, if any, West Indian cricketers in Japan). We will be very happy to introduce any potential player to teams he could join.
Looking forward, the KCL is determined to remain the foremost cricketing competition in Japan, with an increasing number of teams and competitions.
KCL Match Rules (as of 2016)
The mission statement adopted in 2009:
“The Kanto Cricket League (KCL), now in its 15th year and 3rd year in its present format, exists to provide the opportunity for all cricketers in the Kanto and neighbouring areas, regardless of their age, ability or nationality to play competitive cricket. The KCL places great importance on the playing of cricket in the proper spirit and in a friendly manner and with strict adherence to the laws of cricket.
The KCL is also committed to the expansion of cricket in Japan, both in the foreign and local communities, and the sourcing of new cricket grounds and training facilities. The KCL wishes to maintain and improve its relationships with other cricketing organisations inside and outside Japan, and to expand its activities accordingly”.