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Sunday, December 13, 2015

Japan high school baseball

While I have been living in Japan, I've been hearing about how big high school baseball is here. Every year there are two tournaments: Spring Kōshien (for the National High School Baseball Invitational Tournament, organized by the Japan High School Baseball Federation and Mainichi Shimbun), and Summer Kōshien (for the National High School Baseball Championship, organized by the Japan High School Baseball Federation and Asahi Shimbun), and they climax at Hanshin Kōshien Stadium in Nishinomiya. Tournaments are televised locally, and some of them are televised nationally on NHK, as well as in the United States via ABC. Kōshien also attracts attention from scouts, including those from the United States.

Kōshien is so popular that there have been video games created that are based on the tournament. The original game was released in 1989 for Family Computer (also known as NES), additional games were created for Super Famicon (also known as Super NES) from 1992 - 1995, followed by games for the PlayStation, Sega Saturn, and Gameboy Color from 1997 - 1999, then for the PlayStation 2 from 2000 - 2002, and then later for mobile phones in 2005.

Even the Hanshin Koshien Stadium itself is well known. It's one of the largest stadiums in Asia, and along with hosting Kōshien games, it also hosts the Koshien Bowl, Japan's American college football championship game. It also has a connection to American baseball- Babe Ruth once played an exhibition game there.