Kashima Antlers (鹿島アントラーズ Kashima Antorāzu) are a Japanese professional association football club playing in the J1 League with financial backing from the Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal.
Antlers is derived from the city name, Kashima, which literally means “deer island”.
Since the J. League’s creation and introduction of professional Japanese football in 1993, Kashima have proved by far Japan’s most successful club team, having won the J. League title a record eight times, the J. League Cup a record six times and the Emperor’s Cup five times for an unprecedented total of nineteen major domestic titles. Kashima have finished in the top five of the league for over seventy percent of all seasons played to date, recorded an average end of season league placing of third and captured a major domestic title in over sixty percent of all seasons played to date.
Kashima are the current J. League Champions, and are also one of only two teams to have competed in Japan’s top flight of professional football every year since its inception (the other being Yokohama F. Marinos).