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Monday, June 29, 2020

Inside Koshien, Japan’s Country-Defining High-School Baseball Tournament

The National High School Baseball Tournament, more commonly referred to as Koshien or Summer Koshien, is a single-elimination competition featuring 49 teams that have already had to survive a regional qualification process. Taking place over two weeks, the entirety of Koshien is broadcast live across the country to an audience of millions, and more than 50,000 fans per day typically attend games in person.

Ema Ryan Yamazaki, the director of a new documentary about the tournament that debuts on ESPN tonight at 7 p.m., likens Koshien to March Madness being combined with the Super Bowl when describing how much attention the annual competition receives in Japan.

“There’s really nothing else like it here so I always use those two examples,” Yamazaki tells InsideHook. “It’s almost unavoidable because every game is aired nationally. From 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. they have four games a day, and it’s just on. Millions of people are watching it — it’s on screens everywhere, in restaurants, business buildings. It’s just part of life for those two weeks in August, even for people who are not sports fans.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 29, 2020 at 04:24 PM | 7 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: japanese baseball

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   1. Rally Posted: June 29, 2020 at 04:37 PM (#5960236)
9 inning games? MLB couldn't fit more than 2 games in that time span.
   2. Greg K Posted: June 29, 2020 at 07:41 PM (#5960279)
I knew a guy who had played on a pretty good high school team in Japan. He said it was pretty much taken for granted by everyone that what they were doing was the most important thing they would ever do in their lives.
   3. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: June 29, 2020 at 09:39 PM (#5960293)
I saw a pro game at Koshien last summer, my first. It was predictibly better than the games I had seen at the domes in Tokyo or Osaka, although all were great experiences.

I have family in Japan and was visiting in the summer of 94 when our strike happened. But especially once koshien started, it was easy to forget about MLB for a while.
   4. vortex of dissipation Posted: June 29, 2020 at 11:53 PM (#5960316)
Daisuke Matsuzaka won two World Baseball Classic MVP Awards, and a Sawamura Award, and played on two WBC Champions, two Japan Series Champions, and a World Series Champion. I can guarantee that when he passes away, the first paragraph of his obituary in Japan will not focus on any of those things, but on his performance in the 1998 Summer Koshien.
   5. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 30, 2020 at 12:19 AM (#5960321)
Japan stands as a testament to the greatness a society can attain when people don’t give a #### about football.
   6. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 30, 2020 at 08:54 AM (#5960334)
He said it was pretty much taken for granted by everyone that what they were doing was the most important thing they would ever do in their lives.

I know people shame them for their pitch counts - and some are quite ridiculous, but I imagine for 90% of them, this will be the peak of their athletic achievements. I've always been a bit leery with extreme pitch counts at amateur levels, knowing how unlikely it is for most kids to advance beyond that.
   7. PreservedFish Posted: June 30, 2020 at 09:47 AM (#5960341)
Definitely a bucket list event.

I remember reading about this first in You Gotta Have Wa. Whiting makes a big deal about how the players all subsume their egos into the team spirit - they all cut their hair into identical buzzcuts, there are like a billion sacrifice bunts. I wonder if it's changed at all since he wrote that.

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