Home » Recreation and Sports » Baseball

Baseball in Japan

Nov 9, 2007
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.

The exact date that baseball was introduced in Japan is not known, but it is attributed to American professor Horace Wilson sometime between 1867 and 1912. The Japanese people were immediately intrigued by western baseball, seeing psychological similarities between baseball and their native sports of sumo and martial arts.

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.

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.

There are a few differences in the style and rules of play between modern American and Japanese baseball. The ball used in Japanese baseball is smaller and lighter than the ball used in American baseball. Also, unlike American teams, Japanese teams are only allowed four foreign players per team, two position players and two pitchers.

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.

In recent years, Japanese baseball teams have been hit hard by players defecting to American teams. The Japanese league and Major League Baseball have an agreement requiring the payment of fees by American teams wanting to recruit Japanese players, but the rules do not apply to free agents. Japanese people today are far more likely to watch an American team on television than they are a Japanese team. Players like Ichiro Suzuki are wildly popular in Japan and are considered national heroes.
About the Author
Jonathon Hardcastle writes articles on many topics including Baseball, Golf, and Recreation
Rating:
Please Rate:
(Average: Not rated)
Views: 292
Print Email Report Share
Article Categories
    • Artists
    • Gambling
    • Humanities
    • Humor
    • Movies
    • Music
    • Photography
    • Tattoos
    • Television
    • Classic Cars
    • Motorcycles
    • Recreational Vehicles
    • SUVs
    • Trucks
    • Vans
    • Branding
    • Business Opportunities
    • Careers and Jobs
    • Corporate
    • Customer Service
    • Direct Mail
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Ethics
    • Financing
    • Franchising
    • Home-Based Business
    • Human Resources
    • Import and Export
    • Leadership
    • Management
    • Market Research
    • Marketing and Advertising
    • Negotiation
    • Network Marketing
    • Networking
    • Organizational
    • Presentation
    • Project Management
    • Public Relations
    • Small Business
    • Strategic Planning
    • Team Building
    • Telemarketing
    • Training
    • Data Recovery
    • Databases
    • Games
    • Hardware
    • Networks
    • Operating Systems
    • Programming
    • Security
    • Software
    • Spyware and Viruses
    • Ask an Expert
    • College and University
    • Home Schooling
    • K-12
    • Languages
    • Online Education
    • Psychology
    • Accounting
    • Credit
    • Currency Trading
    • Debt Consolidation
    • Insurance
    • Investing
    • Leasing
    • Loans
    • Mortgage
    • Mutual Funds
    • Personal Finance
    • Stock Market
    • Structured Settlements
    • Taxes
    • Wealth Building
    • Coffee
    • Cooking
    • Gourmet
    • Recipes
    • Wine and Spirits
    • Acne
    • Aerobics
    • Alternative Medicine
    • Beauty
    • Cancer
    • Cosmetics
    • Depression
    • Diabetes
    • Diseases and Conditions
    • Fitness Equipment
    • Fitness
    • Hair Loss
    • Heart Disease
    • Medicine
    • Men's Health
    • Muscle Building
    • Nutrition
    • Skin Care
    • Supplements and Vitamins
    • Weight Loss
    • Women's Health
    • Yoga
    • Arts and Crafts
    • Babies
    • Collecting
    • Elderly Care
    • Genealogy
    • Hobbies
    • Parenting
    • Pets
    • Pregnancy
    • Woodworking
    • Feng Shui
    • Gardening
    • Home Appliances
    • Home Security
    • Interior Design
    • Landscaping
    • Affiliate Programs
    • Article Marketing
    • Auctions
    • Audio
    • Banner Advertising
    • Blogging
    • Broadband
    • Domain Names
    • E-Books
    • E-Commerce
    • Email Marketing
    • Ezines and Newsletters
    • Forums
    • Internet Marketing
    • Link Popularity
    • Pay-Per-Click
    • Podcasting
    • RSS
    • Search Engine Marketing
    • Search Engine Optimization
    • Security
    • Social Media
    • Spam
    • Video
    • Viral Marketing
    • Web Design
    • Web Development
    • Web Hosting
    • Copyright
    • Cyber Law
    • Intellectual Property
    • National, State, Local
    • Patents
    • Regulatory Compliance
    • Trademarks
    • Buying
    • Selling
    • Dating
    • Divorce
    • Marriage
    • Weddings
    • Astrology
    • Buddhism
    • Christianity
    • Faith
    • Hinduism
    • Islam
    • Judaism
    • Meditation
    • Metaphysical
    • New Age
    • Cable and Satellite TV
    • Cell Phones
    • Communication
    • Gadgets and Gizmos
    • GPS
    • Satellite Radio
    • Video Conferencing
    • VoIP
    • Addictions
    • Coaching
    • Goal Setting
    • Motivational
    • Stress Management
    • Time Management
    • Clothing
    • Electronics
    • Fashion
    • Gifts
    • Jewelry
    • Causes and Organizations
    • Environment
    • History
    • Holidays
    • Men's Issues
    • Nature
    • Philosophy
    • Politics
    • Women's Issues
    • World Affairs
    • Air Travel
    • Camping
    • Cruises
    • Destinations
    • Outdoors
    • Article Writing
    • Book Reviews
    • Copywriting
    • Fiction
    • Non-Fiction
    • Poetry
    • Quotes
    • Screenplay
    • Tools and Resources