Tears and team spirit: High-school baseball grips Japan

By Katie Forster and Richard A. Brooks

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The Koshien tournament gets around 18 million viewers on average which is absolutely insane for a high school tournament. For comparison the MLB World Series averages around 25-30 million, so a 1 game knockout tournament featuring HIGH SCHOOL players gets almost as many views as a 7 game series featuring the best baseball players on earth. Seriously impressive.

Today's Sendai Ikuei's game highest peak viewing rate was 43.2%.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Love how even down by a large margin, the team didn't give up till the end. Can really learn a lot from these young men who fought hard to make it to the finals. Would love to be able to go watch one of these in person someday.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Be nice for once to have writers stay on topic and stay away from the over aggrandizement of the accomplishments of MLB players!

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Ah, Koshien ka))) I remember the days of me being crazy over stories like Ookiku and Diamond no Ace))) especially the first one. the boys look like mature men not high schoolers. Senda is a powerful team.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

They should let girls play too

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Marvellous and unique tournament. These boys would literally die out there for their high schools and team mates. Koshien gives a window into Japanese culture - where we can see how Japanese are not afraid to show emotion, compared to Westerners -wearing their hearts on their sleeves. There are always tears - win, lose or draw!

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@Yubaru I totally agree with your post. The topic should have stayed with high school baseball and let those kids have their moment in the spot light instead of going off topic talking about past players who already have or had the spot light. Don't steal the kids moment.

Be nice for once to have writers stay on topic and stay away from the over aggrandizement of the accomplishments of MLB players!

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I say this every time, but most of the schools who win through to Koshien are private schools who recruit from outside their prefectures and house the kids in dorms. They are not local kids who live at home with their families and cycle to school. In some cases, the mother may move with the child to near the school solely for baseball, and the father will be left behind to keep earning money. I know a few families who've done this for other sports. Part of the logic is that being good at sports can get a less academically gifted student into a famous university.

The public system schools with the most appearances, such as Takamatsu Sho who reached the last 8, will also have very big baseball programs and potentially many kids in dorms from other parts of the prefecture. As public schools though, they cannot recruit from outside that prefecture. Any public system school who gets through for the first time or the first time in twenty years or so will be mostly local kids, and therefore a massive underdog worthy of support from the entire country.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I don't think I've ever seen people cry more in sports than in this country. Still, I much prefer Koshien to professional baseball, and the kids seem to play with a lot of heart and are quite pure in spirit. My only problems with Koshien are how they abuse the kids -- making some pitchers go up to ten extra innings because they don't want to switch the pitchers out, and the fans. My friend's son works are Koshien and he said there is never a worse time to work there; fights amongst drunken fans, vomit EVERYWHERE from drunks, people groping the "beer girls", etc.

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It was a great game. Love baseball.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

That was a fairly close game until Ikuei broke it open. They've been a pretty good team for a while now. Congrats go out to Sendai, Miyagi and Tohoku in general. After all those losses in the final, it's their time to celebrate. I really love this tournament and it's one of the highlights of my summer every summer. These kids are playing for the love of the game. Nothing better.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Watched the game "LIVE" here in New Zealand.

WOW !!! What a game !!!

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where we can see how Japanese are not afraid to show emotion, compared to Westerners

This is a paradox. Most Japanese ARE afraid to show emotion and express their feelings, but on the baseball diamond, they have almost normalized crying following a tough loss, especially at Koshien. In the West, crying in baseball is not part of the game. I never cried after losing. I did cry when I was 12 after getting yelled at by the coach, something Japanese boys are not expected to do. Only after losing is crying acceptable.

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