New Articles! Japan guides, videos and other information on Japan!
|Baseball in Japan|
|Written by Jonathon Hardcastle|
|Sunday, 03 February 2008 06:08|
In recent years, the arrival in the United States of players like Ichiro Suzuki and Hideki Matsui has enlightened Americans about the popularity of the sport in Japan. But most Americans don't know that Japan has almost as long a baseball history as the United States.
Past Baseball in Japan
In the 1930s, a team of famous American baseball players including Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig toured Japan and played games against Japanese college players. Even though the Americans won every game they played, the series helped build interest in baseball throughout Japan. The first Japanese professional team was formed in 1934.
During the years of World War II, as more men joined the military, baseball fell into disfavor and many baseball fields were turned into ammunition dumps or used to grow food crops. However, after Japan was defeated, Allied commanders assisting in the rebuilding of Japan turned to baseball to boost morale and build stronger ties with the west.
Modern Baseball in Japan
In 1950, the Japanese league took on the form it still holds today; two leagues of six teams each. The introduction of television in 1955 brought baseball to a wider audience in Japan as it did in the United States.
Stylistically, Japanese coaches focus more on the fundamentals of bunting, base running and fielding whereas American baseball has come to rely heavily on pitching talent and long ball hitting. Because of these differences, Japanese baseball games typically have closer and lower final scores than American baseball games.
by Jonathon Hardcastle Web Site