Yuki Soma broke the ice early in the second half with a superb goal as Japan beat South Korea 3-0 Wednesday to win their second East Asian Football Federation E-1 Championship and their first in four tournaments.
South Korea entered the game with two wins, and needed only a draw at Toyota Stadium to secure their fourth straight championship, but Japan finished with two wins and a draw.
"The players really did a great job," Samurai Japan manager Hajime Moriyasu said. "Through everyone's resolve, they boosted the reputation of the J-League and of Japanese soccer."
Although the Koreans had the bulk of possession they rarely threatened, and Japan dominated the second half.
Yokohama F Marinos midfielder Joel Chima Fujita delivered a perfect diagonal cross from the right for Nagoya Grampus' Soma to head home in the 49th minute at his home ground.
Sanfrecce Hiroshima defender Sho Sasaki headed in a corner 15 minutes later to make it 2-0. Two minutes later, Shonan Bellmare's Shuto Machino turned it into a rout by finishing a solid buildup.