The Yakyû area is back at Japan Expo to allow you to discover and try baseball, Japan’s national sport. Guess what, Japanese sports are not all about martial arts!
Try baseball: hit and launch
© Chris CB Photographie
Baseball is Japan’s national sport, much more than any other. Today, it has become Japan’s specialty and it’s part of people’s daily life: matches, stadiums, dedicated stores, mascots, everything. Japan’s national team is among the most prestigious in the world, and many Japanese players signed in the USA in the greatest American clubs.
At Japan Expo, the batting center is back with initiation workshops.
Yakyû, a true religion in Japan!
Baseball (Yakyû in Japanese) arrived in Japan from the USA in 1873 and the first team was formed in 1878.
Always a real show, baseball is very much appreciated and remains a very popular sport for enthusiasts. Children often train with their parents in squares. It is also one of the most popular sports in schools and universities which often have their own clubs and compete during championship.
Broadcast almost everyday from April to October, it appears a lot in the media, even more than Judô. The players are true national heroes, their lives and careers often doing the headlines of newspapers!
The Japanese Baseball Championship (NPB, Nippon Professional Baseball) gathers the best clubs since 1950, that is 12 teams, divided into 2 leagues, all owned by big companies. One of the best clubs, the Yomiuri Giants, belongs to the main Japanese newspaper. Their rivals from Tôkyô, the Yakult Swallows, are named after a famous brand of yoghurts! Some department stores also sponsor teams and there often are sales after the victory of one of the teams!
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In 2006, the average number of people in the audiance during a match was 24,000, a record in Japan! Of course the Japanese National Team takes part in many international competitions and won many titles. In March 2009, it won the World Baseball Classic.
Team spirit (Wa which means harmony, respect and discipline) is the mainstay of baseball, almost a purpose in itself, as important as victory.
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