thumbnail Hello,

The Kansai upstarts have yet to win any silverware, but have demonstrated their tenacity through over a decade of competing in J1

The team originally known as Kawasaki Steel Soccer Club was born in Okayama Prefecture, moving to Kobe in 1994 as part of Kawasaki Steel’s efforts to have the club compete in the J-League. With a name inspired by the words ‘victory’ and ‘vessel’ (a reference to Kobe’s status as a port city), Vissel Kobe joined the Japan Fooball League in 1995 and earned promotion after two seasons.

Despite reaching the Emperor’s Cup semi-final in 2000 and the quarter-final in 2003, Vissel have struggled to succeed in the J-League, finishing just once in the top half of the table. Yet the club’s two relegations were swiftly followed by promotions, and they have become an inseparable part of the J1.

Top Players
Danish legend Michael Laudrup joined Vissel in 1996, helping to earn promotion to the J-League in their 1997 season.

Between 2007 and 2012, current Kawasaki Frontale star Yoshito Okubo played at Vissel save for a brief stint in the Bundesliga with Wolfsburg.

Japan’s Kazuyoshi Miura spent several years in Kobe before his eventual transfer to current club Yokohama FC. His fellow Samurai Blue star Tsuneyasu Miyamoto retired as a Vissel player in 2011 after three seasons.

Vissel was also the final stop for former Cameroon star Patrick M’Boma, who retired in 2005.

Turkey international Ilhan Mansiz joined Vissel after his incredible performance at the 2002 World Cup, but he made just three J-League appearances before he was forced to leave the club due to a lingering knee injury.


Kobe Wing Stadium, also known as Noevir Stadium, first opened in 1970 in the city’s Misaki Park. With a capacity of just over 30,000, it was renovated to feature a retractable roof in time for the 2002 FIFA World Cup.

When required by attendance needs, the club also use Kobe Universiade Memorial Stadium, a multi-purpose venue that holds 45,000.

Colors and Uniform

For several years, Kobe wore black and white uniforms similar to those of Italian giants Juventus. However, after the team was purchased by Rakuten, the team’s color was changed to maroon in honor of owner Hiroshi Mikitani’s Harvard University education.


In a city known for the famous cattle that bear its name, it’s no surprise that Vissel Kobe’s mascot is a cow named Movi. With a nautical-themed hat to reference Kobe’s image as a port city, Movi is never without a Vissel flag or scarf.