Japanese High School Baseball Championship
|No. of teams||49|
|Most recent champion(s)||Maebashi Ikuei|
|Most titles||Chukyodai Chukyo (7 titles)|
|TV partner(s)||NHK, ABC|
The National High School Baseball Championship (全国高等学校野球選手権大会 zenkoku kōtō gakkō yakyū senshuken taikai) of Japan, commonly known as "Summer Kōshien" (夏の甲子園 natsu no kōshien), is an annual nationwide high school baseball tournament. It is the largest scale amateur sport event in Japan, even as soccer continues to gain more attention.
The tournament, organized by the Japan High School Baseball Federation and Asahi Shimbun, takes place during the summer school vacation period, culminating in a two-week final tournament stage with 49 teams in August at Hanshin Koshien Stadium (阪神甲子園球場 hanshin kōshien kyūjō) in the Koshien district of Nishinomiya City, Hyōgo, Japan.
The 49 schools taking part in the final tourney represent regional champions of each of the prefectures of Japan (with two from Hokkaidō and Tokyo). From mid-June to August, regional tournaments are held to decide who is sent to Koshien.
The rules are the same as in the National High School Baseball Invitational Tournament. It is a single elimination tournament with nine inning games. Games are declared official after seven complete innings in the case of suspension (due to weather, et cetera), except for the championship game which must be played to completion. For the regional tournaments, games are ended if one team leads by at least ten runs after five innings or seven runs after seven innings, except in the championship games. Designated hitters are not used. Four umpires are used, except for night games in which two outfield line umpires are added.
The first round pairings and byes are decided by lottery. 34 teams meet in the first round, and 15 teams with byes join at the second round (32 teams play in the second round). Therefore it takes either five or six wins for a team to win the championship. Until 2002, the four quarter finals were played in one day, but this was changed to two a day over two days to give the players time off. If rainouts continue for more than three days, four games are played in one day. This occurred in 2003, so the first time the quarter finals were played over two days was actually 2004. To accommodate the extra day, the long tradition of starting the tournament on August 8 was changed to start a day or two early.
Up to four games are played each day until the quarter finals. The starting times of each day's games is shown below. Following games are begun about 30 minutes after the previous game ends. Due to the fast pace of the pitching, four games in one day are usually completed before sunset.
|Day of the tournament||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||10||11||12||13||14||15|
For tournaments previous to 1958 there were no extra inning limits for a game tied after nine innings of play. In 1933, Masao Yoshida had pitched a complete game during a 25 inning shutout in the semifinal, an all-time record. Yoshida had thrown 336 pitches during that game. After 1958, a rematch must be called after 18 innings. The first pitcher to pitch a complete game 18 innings was Eiji Bando in a 1958 quarterfinal game. Daisuke Matsuzaka became the last pitcher to pitch a complete game over 15 innings (17 innings in 250 pitches, 1998).
After 2000, all games that are tied after 15 innings are rescheduled for the following day. This first happened in the finals in 2006.
The tournament theme song is "The Laurels of Victory Shine on You". Every five years, the tournament celebrates the anniversary, and a deep crimson is used for the championship flag.
For third year students, a loss at the tournament signifies an end to their high school baseball career, as there are no other major tournaments for the rest of their academic career. It is common for players to collect soil from the stadium as a souvenir. For third year students, the dirt is kept as memorabilia, whereas lower grade players often use it as motivation to return to the tournament.
|*||Match went to Extra innings|
|66||1984||Toride Dai-ni||PL Gakuen||8–4|
|69||1987||PL Gakuen||Joso Gakuin||5–2|
|73||1991||Osaka Toin||Okinawa Suisan||13–8|
|74||1992||Nishi Nihon Tandai Fuzoku||Takudai Koryo||1–0|
|81||1999||Kiryu Dai-ichi||Okayama Ridai||14–4|
|82||2000||Chiben Wakayama||Tokai Urayasu||11–6|
|84||2002||Meitoku Gijuku||Chiben Wakayama||7–2|
|87||2005||Komadai Tomakomai||Kyoto Gaidai Nishi||5–3|
|88||2006 *||Waseda Jitsugyo||Komadai Tomakomai||1–1|
|(R)||Waseda Jitsugyo||Komadai Tomakomai||4–3|
|90||2008||Osaka Toin||Tokoha Kikukawa||17–0|
|91||2009||Chukyodai Chukyo||Nihon Bunri||10–9|
|94||2012||Osaka Tōin||Kōsei Gakuin||3–0|
|95||2013||Maebashi Ikuei||Nobeoka Gakuen||4–3|
Table lists all the High Schools participating in the 2014 tournament.
|Prefecture||City/Town||High School Name||Year of Previous Participation||Total Number of Participation|
|Aomori||Hachinohe||Hachinohe Gakuin Kosei||2012||7|
|Hyogo||Kobe||Kobe Kokusai Daifu||N/A||1|
|Fukuoka||Kitakyushu||Kyushu Kokusai Daifu||2011||5|
The 2014 hit Taiwanese film Kano is based on the true story of a high school baseball team from the Kagi Agriculture High School (now known as National Chiayi University) team in Kagi (now known as Chiayi), Taiwan who qualified for the tournament for the first time in 1931 after never having won a game in its first three seasons. The team was made up of ethnic Japanese, Han Chinese and Taiwanese aborigines. The team won three games to make it to the championship game before losing 4–0 to Chukyo from Nagoya. This was the first of four appearances at the tournament for the Kano team, who later qualified in 1933, 1935 and 1936.
- High school baseball in Japan
- Japan High School Baseball Federation
- Japanese High School Baseball Invitational Tournament ("Spring Koshien")
- Asahi Shimbun
- Takahara, Kanako, "Japan baseball stars first shine bright at Koshien", Japan Times, July 24, 2007, p. 2.
- Asahi Shinbun Koshien page (japanese) http://koshien.asahi.co.jp/local/
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to National High School Baseball Championship.|
- At Asahi Shimbun's website, complete scorebooks for the entire tournament are available.
- Kokoyakyu – High School Baseball A brief description of the Kōshien summer tournament