Sometime between 1867 and 1873, an American professor, Horace Williams, in what is now the University of Tokyo, is credited with introducing baseball to the country of Japan. Williams came to Japan to teach English and American History, but his sports interest is what has affected most of Japan. American colleague Albert Bates, Kaitaku education at the University, organized the first baseball game in Japan.
The first Japanese baseball club, the Shinbashi Athletic Club Athletics, was organized in 1878 by former U.S. student was a fan of the Boston Red Sox. In 1896, the ability of even amateur players showed during the first baseball game between the team from Tokyo Ichiko First Higher School of America and organized a team at the Yokohama Country and Athletic Club. The Japanese had challenged the Americans to play and were not taken seriously. American spectators jeered and booed the Japanese thought that the Americans can overcome their “national pastime.” The Japanese team defeated the Americans.
During the years between 1903 and 1934, amateur baseball in Japan was very popular. University teams will compete against each other in the Sokeisen between Waseda University and Keio University, and in summer school or Koshien Baseball and the National Championship. The National School Baseball Invitational Tournament or Koshien began in spring 1924. Many secondary schools in Japan to participate in the National School of Baseball and the Championship or the National High School Baseball Invitational Tournament. The tournament is named after Koshien Stadium was built in 1922 and is the oldest stadium in Japan. The stadium seats 55,000 people and still have grass, unlike most other stadiums in the country that have astro-turf.
Professional baseball in Japan dates back to 1920, although the first professional league is not organized until 1936, consisting of six teams. The first professional team was created by Shouriki Matsutarou and is now known as the Yomiuri Giants. The current competition is the largest professional Japanese Nippon Professional Baseball, founded in 1949 consists of four leagues. The year 2005 marked the founding of the Shikoku Island League. Japan sent a franchise known as the Tokyo dragons as part of the now defunct World League in 1969. An effective minor league in Japan is made up of companies sponsoring teams of employees who play in local leagues and a national championship.
There was a professional women’s league as well as baseball. Since 1952, the women’s teams participated in semi leagues until the early 1970s. Japan Women’s National Team took the silver medal in the Women in Baseball World Cup appearances.
Japanese youth in the Little League World Series have won five championships in second place three times. Since 2007, the Japanese team championship is not necessary to win a regional competition in Asia, but will proceed directly to the Little League World Series.
Big Six University League was the organization of baseball in Japan since the 1900s through the 1930s. Now, at the university level, the All Japan University Championship is an annual competition for teams of school.
In search of greater competition, a Japanese team of Waseda University visited the U.S. in 1905. Three years later, the baseball team at the University of Washington returned the visit and played in several games that became the pattern of international interest in the sport of baseball. 21 teams from the University of America made the trip to Japan and several Japanese teams travel back to the United States. Professional players from the United States, including Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb, and she also toured the exhibition games in Japan.
In 1934, during the visit of Ruth, 75,000 spectators jammed at Koshien Stadium to see the MLB stars. Internationally, the Japanese national team has won three Olympic medals, two Intercontinental Cups, and captured six medals at the World Baseball Cup. The outstanding quality of the star of Japanese baseball players have recently made many Americans aware of the history of Japanese involvement in the national pastime of America. In particular, the activities of Ichiro Suzuki, Hideki Matsui, Japan and other players who have been playing in the major leagues have increased interest in the history of sport in Japan.
Intense nationalism in Japan in the years preceding World War II there were some major changes in baseball in Japan, but after the war, interest in playing baseball and has resumed an integral part of Japanese life since then.
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