The Japanese V.League for Men and Women is currently on break until January, but the league break means that the teams travel to Tokyo to play in the Emperor’s (Men) and Empress’s Cup (Women). This tournament is a single elimination tournament that has 24 teams in both the men’s and women’s tournaments. Only the V.League Premier League teams (the ones that volleymob writes about every weekend) have byes into the second round of the tournament. The Premier League are seeded based on their results in the 2016-2017 V.League season. Newly promoted teams are at the bottom of the seeding. On the women’s side NEC Red Rockets are the top seed, while on the men’s side, Toray Arrows are the top seed.
The remaining 16 teams that play in the first round have had to participate in prefecture (Japanese version of states) tournaments first, and then regional tournaments to reach the the first round of the Final Round. On the first weekend of play, the first, second and third round are played on consecutive days, Friday to Sunday (Dec. 15 to 17). The four teams that remain after the third round will play the following Saturday (Dec. 23) in the semifinals and then the finals on Sunday (Dec. 24). The prize money for winning the tournament is 10 million yen (US$88,364). Considering winning the regular season title in the V.League earns a team 3 million yen (US$26,509) and the V.League champion wins 15 million yen ($132,546), teams put out their best rosters to win this tournament.
First is the bracket for the women’s tournament. Team is listed on top and where there are representing is on the bottom.
On the women’s side there are three high school teams, that qualified by winning their prefecture tournaments to advance to the regional tournament and then won those to advance to the Final Round. Seiwa Joshi Gakuin and Kinrankai will also be playing the All Japan High School Championship in January. Former Japanese women’s national team coach Masayoshi Manabe’s team Victorina Himeji will be playing in the first round against Tohoku Fukushi University. A Victorina win will have them play against the Hisamitsu Springs. The Springs have won five-straight tournaments dating back to 2012 and six overall since the tournament started in 2007. In my mind Hisamitsu is the favorite as they are undefeated through the 15 matches in the V.League season.
Over to the men’s tournament and again the team is listed on top and where there are representing is on the bottom.
Only one high school team is playing in the men’s tournament Chinzei High School. Chinzei has also qualified for the All Japan High School Tournament in January. Chuo University was the team that Yuki Ishikawa and Issei Otake played on the last 4 years. In Ishikawa’s case, in between his stints in Italy, and in Otake’s case before he went to Germany. Both players played in the Japanese College Championships last weekend and finished 3rd. However, last weekend was their final match for Chuo University as they have returned to their club teams. Panasonic Panthers in my mind will be favorites to win, but they have a difficult path to the final as they could face their Osaka neighbors Suntory Sunbirds in the 3rd round, and Toray Arrows in the semifinals.
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