Japan Women’s
Football League

Nadeshiko League

Visiting Nadeshiko League towns throughout Japan Sfida Setagaya FC

If you walk south from Soshigaya-Okura Station on the Odakyu Line, you will come to “Soshigaya Minami Shopping Street”, which is one of the “Ultraman Shopping Districts”. Proceeding straight along this road a little further will bring you to the offices of Sfida Setagaya FC, and if you go further, you will come to the former site of Tsuburaya Productions close to the current Summit Seijo Store. In this installment, we visit Setagaya City, Tokyo – the hometown of Sfida Setagaya FC.

Statue of Kanegon in the “Ultraman Shopping District”

Shops in the shopping district also want to become strong together with the team.
Takashi Kojima, President, Soshigaya Minami Shopping Street

“Ultraman Shopping District” is the collective name for the Soshigaya South Shopping Street Promotion Association, Soshigaya Shopping Street Promotion Association, and Soshigaya Shoshinkai Shopping Street Promotion Association. Sfida Setagaya FC has developed together with these three shopping street promotion associations and the people of Setagaya City.

Takashi Kojima, President, Soshigaya Minami Shopping Street

“Sfida Setagaya FC is like a group of community friends. All of the players are unpretentious and for the most part friendly.”
The shopping district is a gathering of numerous business types. It is a place where connections between people are cherished.
“Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Sfida players would visit the shopping district in their kits and had a good time with everyone. If we have the opportunity, I hope that such activities can be resumed. When we were promoted to Division 1, we immediately finished second, so next time we must aim to become champions. Shops in the shopping district also want to become strong together with the team. Also, we want to produce a member of Nadeshiko Japan (the Japan women’s national team).
Thanks to the team’s success in Nadeshiko League Division 1, expectations are growing among people in “Ultraman Shopping District”.

Banner in Soshigaya Minami Shopping Street celebrating the team’s second-place finish in the 2021 Plenus Nadeshiko League Division 1

– I cheer the team on as a single supporter
Tetsuya Hattori, President & CEO, Summit, Inc.

According to Sfida Setagaya FC player Mitsuki Horie, who works at the Summit Seijo Store (grocery), “The president is a kind and interesting man. He performed in a short comic sketch at the party to celebrate our becoming champions in the 2020 Plenus Nadeshiko League Division 2. There is love for Sfida in the president’s office.”

Summit Seijo Store Sfida Setagaya FC player Mizuki Horie

According to Sfida Setagaya FC player Satsuki Nakayama, who works at the Summit Kinuta Store (bakery), “Thanks to the support of the company president and store manager, it feels like the entire store is behind the team. Since he comes to our games and offers passionate support, he is not only the company president, but also our powerful supporter.”
According to Sfida Setagaya FC player Mao Murakami (grocery), “The president is a big football fan. His office is decorated with the shirts of past players, flags and other goods, and his love for Sfida comes across strongly.”

Summit Kinuta Store Mao Murakami (left), Satsuki Nakayama (right)

“It’s better if we take photographs in my office.”
With a big smile, Mr. Hattori said this to us at the beginning of the interview. Tetsuya Hattori, President & CEO of Summit, Inc., is a passionate person, who is better described as a “fanatical supporter” rather than the president of a sponsor company.

Tetsuya Hattori, President & CEO, Summit, Inc. (in his office)

Summit opened its first food supermarket in Nozawa, Setagaya City, Tokyo in October 1963. Thus Setagaya City, Tokyo, which is the hometown of Sfida Setagaya FC, may be called the birthplace of the company. It currently has 17 stores in Setagaya City.
Mr. Hattori says that “the spirit of incorporating new things while cherishing the old” describes his image of Setagaya City. Situated a moderate distance from the center of Tokyo, this is an area that is easy to live in. Long-term residents and young people who have newly arrived integrate to create a unique culture.

Why did Summit start supporting Sfida Setagaya FC?
“We deal with our customers facing across the cash register, and we deal with our business partners facing across the negotiating counter. Therefore, I thought it would be great if we could all get enthusiastic about something while facing in the same direction. That idea led to our support for Sfida Setagaya FC.

Lots of players work for Summit. According to Mr. Hattori, such employed players exert a positive influence that exceeds their playing ability.
“Everyone who works at Summit has individuality. Rather than burying such individuality, we want to leverage it as much as possible so that we can become an even better store. All of the players who work in our stores have become familiar faces who the local citizens want to support. Moreover, I think they display their individuality in the stores. When colleagues in the same workplace see them, they also feel inspired to display their own individuality in improving the stores. If each member can work with a sense of enjoyment just a little bit more, the impression that customers have of a store will be different.”
Incidentally, as you may have gathered from the walls and table in the earlier photograph of Mr. Hattori’s office, he supports Sfida Setagaya FC with an extraordinary passion. What is his ideal for the stadium?
“Whether the team wins or loses, on Sfida Setagaya FC match days, I hope that the people of Setagaya City make it a custom of visiting the stadium. I hope that such days can regularly become enjoyable occasions, both inside and outside of the stadium.”
I feel like I have witnessed such scenes at a football stadium. Yes, that is Todoriki Athletics Stadium, which is the home of Kawasaki Frontale.
“Actually, I was brought up around Frontale. Since I always used to watch J. League matches in Zone G of Todoriki Athletics Stadium, where the hardcore supporters of Kawasaki Frontale would congregate, I’m the type who can’t watch a football match sitting down (laugh). I watch Sfida Setagaya FC’s games together with the other hardcore supporters. I also help out with clearing up the banners. When I first went to support the team, I introduced myself by saying, “Forget I’m a sponsor. I’m just here to join you as a fellow supporter.”
That statement helped me to make sense out of all previous words, the mountain of goods and the walls in the president’s office.
“I hope the team comes to be loved even more by the people of Setagaya. Our company is committed to cooperating toward this end. I hope that we enhance the level of excitement while also talking with the other sponsor companies and shopping streets. I hope that the citizens of Setagaya City become such enthusiastic Sfida Setagaya FC supporters that it becomes difficult to get tickets for games.”
Maybe, just maybe, at the next match, you might find Mr. Hattori sitting next to you as he avidly cheers the team on.

Women’s matches are fantastic too!
Atsushi Ishibashi, Manager, Administration Department, Top Business Printing Co., Ltd.

Atsushi Ishibashi was born in Kitami, not far from Soshigaya-Okura. His relationship with Sfida Setagaya FC started when his company received an order for printing work around the time the club’s emblem was changed (2018). After that, the company soon found itself manufacturing goods for sale and also helping out at events.
“There is no profit in making goods. However, the community grows larger.”
Mr. Ishibashi started to speak with a smile. Conventionally, his work finishes upon delivering printed goods, however, he goes to matches. With a staff pass hanging around his neck, he sets up a goods stall and attends to it personally.

Atsushi Ishibashi, Manager, Administration Department, Top Business Printing Co., Ltd.

“We want to make goods that reflect the voices of customers. When I go to the stadium, fans let me know what they want. I want to turn those requests into tangible things. I want to turn the goods stall into a festival of fun.”
According to Mr. Ishibashi, “I am most inspired by the appearance of players running as hard as they can. Women’s matches are fantastic too!” He says that he wants children to see such raw power. While staffing the goods stall, Mr. Ishibashi also supports the stall volunteers. Where does he find the energy that allows him to run at top speed like this?
“The organizing staff including the volunteers are a team. We want to operate a setup that makes customers feel comfortable in the stadium. Since I’m involved with printing work, I enjoy making things. In the final analysis, the ability to enjoy what I’m doing is the secret to being able to continue for so long.”
Tsuburaya Productions, which has been responsible for numerous glorious achievements in Japan’s film history, relocated from Setagaya City to Shibuya City in 2011. However, even though it has moved from Setagaya City, it has left numerous monuments in the shopping streets. When Sfida Setagaya FC achieves glory in the future, I hope that they will be remembered in this district as “Setagaya’s passionate football team”.
In this edition, we visited the people of Setagaya City, Tokyo, the hometown of Sfida Setagaya FC.
Text by Kazuhiro Ishii

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