When people think about where baseball is extremely popular, their first thought is America. However, it is not the only Area that has love and passion for baseball because Japan loves it! Not only do the Japanese love to play baseball but they also have a huge support system behind them too.
This guide includes information surrounding why the Japanese love baseball and when it became so popular.
Why Do The Japanese Love Baseball?
When baseball was first introduced into Japan it was not the most popular sport because it was considered like all of the other field playing sports. It would be compared to the more traditional sports in Japan like sumo wrestling and therefore would be considered less appealing.
It started to become more popular after the war due to the American soldiers expressing their passion for the game and explaining the real values for playing. This was highlighting having high skills of teamwork and discipline (see also, ‘What is Ninjutsu?‘).
Japan respected sports that needed hard work and discipline because you then had a reason to play it. It links to the ethos that Japan has and values and was there introduced more into schools to help the children learn the skill of teamwork more intensely.
This also developed many traditional rivalries over time between teams across Japan which are still going strong to this day.
Baseball is now huge in Japan and there are major events across the year in support of the sport which is attended by thousands. If you look up at the crowds that attend these major events in Japan, they are all dressed in their team’s colors!
They always make the atmosphere next level at the major events by having bands perform, loud crowds increasing the excitement for it all.
All Levels Of Games Are Important
The most interesting part of baseball in Japan is how well it is promoted at every experience level. No matter if you are in college or high school games, they are still treated as significant and given national coverage on TV.
It is very different in the US because the less experienced levels are not seen as important in comparison to the professional levels which are given all of the limelight.
The Ideal Game
In Japan baseball is viewed as the perfect game because it can be for everyone. It is pretty easy to pick up because there are less amounts of rules and it does not require a huge amount of running.
For the Japanese, it is all about teamwork skills and learning new physical skills too. It is also preferred because it is a less physical sport in comparison to others where less people get injured and can be enjoyed fully on just the skill.
The Japanese are the type of people who are all in when it comes to most things in life and they do not do half an effort. This is why their passion for baseball is huge and they put all of their love and effort into it!
The Japanese also focus quite heavily on the players’ mindsets too. They believe that in this type of sport (see also, ‘What is the National Sport of Japan?‘) it is all about practicing physically and mentally to beat the opponent and it gets very competitive.
When Did It Become Popular?
It first started to become something in the 1800s when people were actually bringing the game of baseball over to Japan for people to enjoy. As the game did not originate from Japan, it has not been overly popular there for a long time like football across Europe.
It took until the 1900s for baseball to actually become popular as it had to build momentum overtime and gain more support from the public.
It wasn’t able to become more popular before that time because the first baseball team in Japan was formed until the late 1800s in 1878.
One of the reasons it became popular was because it brought people closer in the country and from other countries who would visit for these games. It was all about the modernization of Japan through sports and welcoming new cultures into their country.
Is It Any Different To American Baseball?
The only real difference that Japan has in comparison to America is that they focus on different ideas of what’s important. For example, the Amercians think that the speed and power of the hits and throws is more important than the technique itself.
Whereas the Japanese prefer to focus fully on the technique and skill that is required to be brilliant at the game.
The final thought for this piece refers to fully answering the question of why baseball became so popular in Japan and the main reason is due to modernization. They saw baseball as an opportunity to modernize with other cultures like America.
The second main reason is what it brings for the people who play and support which is bringing everybody together as a whole and teaching discipline and skill. It is similar to sports such as Taekwondo where the goal is not to fight but to learn discipline and defend.
Hopefully this guide has given a good insight all about the popularity of baseball in Japan, why it is so popular and when it became popular. This is a very important part of Japans culture now and they take the sport very seriously across all levels of experience.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Baseball The Most Popular Sport In Japan?
Baseball has been a very popular sport in Japan for years because it has a long history of having a professional league in Japan. High school baseball is quite serious too, with the National High School Baseball Championships (or Koshien) very popular every summer.
Is Baseball Losing Popularity In Japan?
Baseball remains the most popular team sport in Japan, with high school, university, and professional games attracting the public and dominating the media during the spring and summer months.