They're Back in Black, and White!

One of the most popular things about J.League, one of the things that gets most likes on Instagram or Twitter or most hits on YouTube, is the ever-changing array of shirts our teams put out. And by far the most popular ones are the “special” shirts that many teams come up with at some time during the season. From the factory scenes of Chiba (JEF United) or the famous night view of the Koshu valley (Ventforet Kofu), to the “Tanabata” Star Festival efforts from Shonan Bellmare and the EXPO shirts of Gamba Osaka. Other teams have offered kits with wild geometric lines and shapes dreamed up by someone at Adidas or Puma, or at one of the clubs. These shirts create huge interest among fans, and sell out quickly.

Special-edition shirts, and all the standard issues too, of course, have always been featured in JSoccer Magazine in the past, and our individual team page links on this site have many photos of team uniforms dating back to their inception as independent clubs (we are trying to have the "history in shirts" of all J.League clubs - if you see something missing, or in error, please let us know - tweet @jsoccermagazine).

Now it's time for us to add some “spreads” on! Our first shirt of this... probably never-ending series... is Vissel Kobe's 25th Anniversary black and white issue. More experienced (ie. older?!) J.League watchers will know that when Vissel were formed, in 1995, they wore black and white stripes. The colours were only changed after the team was taken over on the brink of bankruptcy. Since there were few other bidders, Rakuten owner Hiroshi Mikitani rescued the club, in part as a gesture to his home town.

Rakuten re-branded Vissel Kobe as (the official "business" name) "Crimson Football Club", adopting the colour Crimson as part of the team's new branding (it is also the colour used by a Rakuten-owned baseball team). The Crimson, as American football fans will know, is an iconic color for a famous university. No ... not Alabama, but Harvard - Mr. Mikitani's alma mater.

So, to celebrate the club's 25th anniversary (and to attempt to placate people like me, who loudly complained about the colour change and have been asking for a black and white striped away shirt ever since!), Vissel released the shirt that you can see in our pictures.They wore this shirt for three games in September and our pictures are exclusive to JSoccer Magazine and

There will be more to come, too, as our pictures for the Vissel v Cerezo game come in and, as a special treat, we scour our library for some vintage pictures of the team in their original black and white shirts. Stand by for more!

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