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World Lacrosse Championships Coming to Japan in 2026 and 2027

The sport's global governing body awarded hosting rights to Japan for the 2026 women's lacrosse tourney and the men's extravaganza a year later.

World Lacrosse, the sport's global governing body, announced on Wednesday, January 24 the host countries for a trio of world championships from 2025 to 2027 ― South Korea and Japan.

South Korea has been awarded the hosting rights for the 2025 Men's U20 Championship, and the tournament will be held in July.

Japan will host the 2026 World Lacrosse Women's Championship, followed by the 2027 World Lacrosse Men's Championship. Dates and venues for both events will be announced at a later date, though July is expected to be selected for the two tourneys.

What's more, Asia will be in the spotlight as Hong Kong hosts the 2024 Women's U20 Championship from August 15-24.

Japan hosted the 1996 Men's U19 World Championship in Tokyo. The event has morphed into the U20 World Championship.

Japan also staged the 1997 World Lacrosse Women's Championship, previously known as the Women's Lacrosse World Cup, in Tokyo.

The opening ceremony of the World Lacrosse Men’s U19 Championship on August 4, 1996, in Tokyo's Edogawa Ward.

The Growth of Lacrosse in Asia

Though only seven nations took part in the Women's Lacrosse Championship in 1997, today about 30 nations compete after the qualification. 

Lacrosse needs almost the same size field as soccer, and Japan couldn't afford to prepare enough facilities. That is why Japan could not host the world championship for a long time.

In past decades, the United States, Canada, Australia or Great Britain have been hosts.

Japan joined World Lacrosse as a member in 1990. Decades later, it finally stood as a candidate to host the sport's global showcase events in 2026 and 2027.

Japan's Junichi Suzuki in action against Denmark in a 2023 World Lacrosse Men's Championship match on June 25 in San Diego. (Hidemitsu Kaito)

Lacrosse Leaders Share Viewpoints on Sport's Growth in Japan and Asia

"We will have four championships in four years in Asia, which reflects how lacrosse has grown at a breathtaking speed," World Lacrosse CEO Jim Scherr said. "I am excited for our global community to experience firsthand why the region is a new epicenter of lacrosse."  

World Lacrosse's news release announcing the hosting rights for 2025-27 also highlighted key factors that make Japan an appealing place to host back-to-back world championships.

"Japan has hosted many major international sports events, including recent editions of the Olympic Games and Rugby World Cup in recent years," the news release stated. "The country boasts the world's largest city and exceptional public infrastructure, including transportation, accommodations and a variety of sports facilities, as well as world-famous sightseeing destinations."

Yusuke Sasaki, president and chair of the board of directors of the Japan Lacrosse Association (JLA), also commented on World Lacrosse's decision to award Japan hosting rights for 2026 and 2027.

"Since two [World] Lacrosse Championships will be held in Japan at the timing around the 40th year anniversary for JLA, upcoming world championships will be wonderful opportunities to look back at the footprints and compile all the efforts that have been made in the past 40 years, and show the opening of a new era [for lacrosse] in Japan," Sasaki said.

"The JLA aims to make these events enjoyable for the 110,000  members of the Japanese lacrosse community and for the future players of lacrosse."

The Japan women’s team attends the opening ceremony of the 2022 World Lacrosse Women's Championship in Towson, Maryland, on June 29, 2022.

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Author: Hidemitsu Kaito

Hidemitsu Kaito is a staff writer at JAPAN Forward. In addition to his other duties, he has been covering the sport of lacrosse internationally and in Japan since 1989.

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