Far Eastern Games

Football tournament before World War II between China, Japan and the Philippines, part of a multi-sports event under supervision of the I.O.C. In 1934, the Dutch East Indies (corresponding to current Indonesia although the relevant organisation, F.I.F.A. members N.I.V.B., was restricted to Java) and Annam (corresponding in a similar fashion to current Vietnam; presumably most athletes were to come from Saigon; however, Annam withdrew just before the start of the tournament) were also invited (according to newspaper reports in March 1934, also the British Indies, who had entered as guests in 1930 though not in the football tournament, were to have entered but did not do so eventually).

Already at the 1934 edition, Japan wanted to integrate its puppet state Manchukuo (annexed from China in 1931) as participants of the Games but this request was denied in spite of a Japanese threat to boycott the Games (China had threatened its withdrawal in the opposite case). At the meeting of the F.E.A.A. (Far Eastern Athletics Association) on 19 and 20 May, at the end of the 1934 edition, Japan demanded a revision of the statutes (in order to have Manchukuo enter future editions); the Chinese federation then withdrew, refusing to continue the discussions, upon which Japan and the Philippines decided to dissolve the F.E.A.A. and found a new organisation, the A.A.A.O. (Amateur Athletic Association of the Orient), which proceeded to invite Manchukuo (as well as the British Indies and Indo-China) to enter the 1938 edition in Japan (which was to be followed by another one in 1943 in the Philippines). This 11th edition was to be held in Osaka but cancelled following Japan's brutal invasion of China 1937.

Instead, the Japanese organised a tournament in 1940 on the occasion of the 2600th Anniversary of the Japanese Empire, which was also denoted as "East Asian Games" and involved (apart from the organisers) the Philippines as well as Manchukuo and "China", by then both controlled by the Japanese (the Philippines were next to be invaded, one year after the 1940 tournament). The second edition of that event, in 1942, involved Inner Mongolia (then also occupied by Japan) instead of the Philippines.

Note that in the first few editions, China were represented (in the football tournament) by club team South China A.A. from Hongkong; in 1913 the Philippines were represented by domestic champions Bohemian Club (Manila), a multi-national side, and in 1917 Japan were represented by a team from the Tokyo Higher Normal School.

The post-war Asian Games, first held in 1951 in India, are seen as a continuation of the Far Eastern Games.


year winner          runners-up         third (if any)
1913 Philippines [1] China
1915 China           Philippines
1917 China           Philippines [2]    Japan          
1919 China           Philippines     
1921 China           Philippines        Japan          
1923 China           Philippines        Japan          
1925 China           Philippines        Japan          
1927 China           Japan              Philippines [3]    
1930 China, Japan [4]                   Philippines 
1934 China           Dutch East Indies  Japan 

[1] The Philippines contravened the regulations of the tournament by playing
    with Britons, Spanish and Americans, but were nevertheless awarded the
    gold medals; aptly the relevant match was played at the Carnival Grounds.
[2] As the Philippines withdrew after causing the abandonment of their match
    against China when losing 0-4, it is debatable whether they should be
    ranked second or indeed at all.
[3] As the Philippines forfeited their match against China at half-time, it
    is debatable whether they should be ranked at all.
[4] Japan refused to play extra time after the 3-3 draw against China, upon
    which first place was apparently shared (according to some reports, the
    gold medals were awarded to China).

Number of Titles

 8.5 China             (10 participations)

 1   Philippines       (10 participations)

 0.5 Japan             ( 7 participations)

 -   Dutch East Indies ( 1 participation)

About this document

Sources: [Kni 91], [Oli 92], newspaper Het nieuws van den dag voor Nederlandsch-Indië

Prepared and maintained by Karel Stokkermans for the Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation

Author: Karel Stokkermans (karel.rsssf@gmail.com)
Last updated: 12 Jul 2017

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