Tokyo: South Korea overpowered fierce rivals Japan 3-1 in a tempestuous game of two red cards on Sunday to leave China as surprise East Asian championship winners.
The Chinese beat Hong Kong 2-0 earlier in the day to leave hosts Japan needing to beat South Korea by three goals to win the title outright.
There was no love lost in a bruising clash between the World Cup-bound Japanese and Koreans, who finished as runners-up while Japan were booed off the pitch.
Yasuhito Endo put Japan ahead from the spot in the 22nd minute before Lee Dong-gook blasted home another penalty to level 11 minutes later and silence the crowd of 43,000.
Strike partner Lee Seung-yeoul gave the Koreans the lead after 39 minutes with a fierce shot from 30 metres and midfielder Kim Jae-sung curled in a superb third in the 70th minute.
Japan defender Tulio was shown red for elbowing Cho Yong-hyung just before haltime while Korea captain Kim Jung-woo walked after a second bookable offence in the 52nd minute.