Flyhalf Hayden Parker was faultless off the tee as the Sunwolves capitalised on their scoring opportunities to upset the Chiefs 30-15 in Hamilton on Saturday and record their first win away from home.
Openside flanker Shuhei Matsuhashi, lock Uwe Helu and winger Gerhard van den Heever all crossed for the Tokyo-based side, who had won just six games in their three previous seasons of Super Rugby.
All those wins had come at designated 'home' matches with four in Tokyo while the remaining two coming against the Stormers and Bulls last year in Hong Kong and Singapore.
Former Cheifs flyhalf Parker slotted five from five with the boot as the Sunwolves dominated possession and territory in the first half and ensured they capitalised on Chiefs' errors and turnovers.
Centre Alex Nankivell and winger Etene Nanai-Seturo both scored tries for the two-time champion Chiefs, who have now lost all three of their games this season and face an uphill battle to get into playoff contention.
The Sunwolves, who almost upset the New South Wales Waratahs last week before losing 31-30, have shown signs of improvemen tunder coach Tony Brown with the side's future in the competition reportedly under scrutiny from governing body SANZAAR.
Matsuhashi scored a well-worked try in the second minute when the visitors created indecision in the Chiefs' defence and then an overlap gave the flanker room to bash through Damian McKenzie's tackle.
Parker slotted two penalties, either side of McKenzie's opening penalty, before Helu smashed through three tacklers and was awarded the try by referee Federico Anselmi even though television footage was unclear if he had grounded the ball.
Parker converted the try and added his third penalty to give the visitors a 23-3 lead at halftime.
While the Chiefs managed to fight back in the second half with Mckenzie's clever chip kick setting up Nankivell's try in the 46th minute, they continued to make errors that released the pressure.
Van den Heever, who had blown a certain try earlier when he knocked the ball on, managed to grab his side's third try when number eight Rahboni Warren-Vosayaco tiptoed down the line and managed to free up the winger to give them a 30-10 lead heading into the final quarter.
Nanai-Seturo managed to reduce the deficit with about 16minutes remaining but it was not enough for the Chiefs.