Japanese High School Baseball Championship

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The National High School Baseball Championship
Kokoyakyu.jpg
The official logo of The Competition
SportBaseball
Founded1915; 107 years ago (1915)
No. of teams49 (56 in special editions)
Country Japan
Venue(s)Hanshin Koshien Stadium
Most recent
champion(s)
Chiben Wakayama (103st - 2021)
Most titlesChukyōdai Chukyō (7 titles)
TV partner(s)NHK, ABC, SportsBull
Related
competitions
The National High School Baseball Invitational Tournament
Official website[1]
1st National High School Baseball Championship Ceremonial First Pitch, August 18, 1915
The opening ceremony of 89th National High School Baseball Championship, 2006.

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 Koshien" (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.

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.

Like most sports, the 2020 tournament was canceled in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.[1][2]

Background[edit]

In the past teams from overseas have participated in the tournament. Korea fielded teams from 1921 to 1940; both Taiwan and Manchuria had teams participate from 1923 to 1940.

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 until July, regional tournaments are held to decide who is sent to Koshien.[3]

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
Round 1st 1st 1st 1st 1st/2nd 2nd 2nd 2nd 2nd 3rd 3rd Quarter Quarter Semi Final
Games
Start time
3
10:20
4
8:30
4
8:30
4
8:30
3
9:30
4
8:30
4
8:30
4
8:30
3
9:30
4
8:30
4
8:30
2
11:00
2
11:00
2
11:00
1
13:00

Extra innings[edit]

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). From 2000, the limit was reduced to 15 innings. If a game is tied after 15 innings, replays are scheduled for the following day. This first happened in the finals in 2006. Beginning in 2018, the Japan High School Baseball Federation decided in use a TieBreak with the following rules:

  • The tie break will be used beginning in the 13th inning. Innings will begin with runners on first and second and no out.
  • The batting order will resume where it ended in the previous inning.
  • If the game has to be canceled after the start of a tie break, the game will end in a tie and a rematch will be played on the following day (or at the earliest possible date).
  • If the game is still tied after the 15th inning, the game will continue, however, each pitcher will be limited to a total of fifteen innings. Pitchers that reach fifteen innings will only be able to continue playing as a position player.
  • The tie break will not be used during the final game. If the game is still tied after fifteen innings, then the game will end and a rematch will be played the following day (or at the earliest possible date). The tie break will be used for the rematch game.
  • The two runners on base at the start of tie break innings will not count as earned runs if they score. The two runners will not get credit for being on base. Stolen bases, caught stealing, runs, and left on base will count, as will other stats connected to the runners, like RBI and double plays.
  • There will be no complete games stats in case of tiebreak.
  • There will be no hitter stats in case of tiebreak.

Traditions[edit]

The tournament theme song is "The Laurels of Victory Shine on You" (Japanese: 栄冠えいかんきみかがや, Hepburn: eikan wa kimi ni kagayaku).

Every five years, the tournament celebrates the anniversary of the founding of the tournament, and a deep crimson is used for the championship flag for commemorative purposes.

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. For It is common for players to cry in sorrow after tight games and/or their losses and to collect soil from the Koshien 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.

Finals[edit]

(R) Replay
* Match went to Extra innings

List of champions[edit]

Number Year Champion Runner-up Final Score Notes
1 1915 Kyoto Dai-ni Chugaku Akita Chugaku 2-1
2 1916 Keio University High School Ichioka Central 6-2
3 1917 Aichi Dai-Ichi Chugaku Kwansei Gakuin Chugaku 0-1
(R) Aichi Dai-Ichi Central Kansai Gakuin Central 1-0 The first game was rained out after 3 innings
4 1918 The tournament was cancelled due to the Rice riots of 1918.
5 1919 Kobe Dai-Ichi Chugaku Nagano Shihan 7-4
6 1920 Kansai Gakuin Central Keio Futsubu 17-0
7 1921 Wakayama Central Kyoto Dai-Ichi 16-4
8 1922 Wakayama Central Kobe 8-4
9 1923 Kouyou Chugaku Wakayama Central 5-2
10 1924 Hiroshima Matsumoto 3-0
11 1925 Takamatsu Waseda Jitsugyō 5-3
12 1926 Shizuoka Central Tairen 2-1 Tairen was the only team from Manchuria to make it to the finals when they participated in the tournament from 1923 to 1940
13 1927 Takamatsu Kouryo Central 5-1
14 1928 Matsumoto Heian 3-1
15 1929 Hiroshima Kaisou Central 3-0
16 1930 Hiroshima Suwa Sanshi 8-2
17 1931 Chukyōdai Chukyō Kagi Nōrin (Agriculture) High School 4-1 Kagi Nōrin was the only team from Taiwan to make it to the finals when they participated in the tournament from 1923 to 1940
18 1932 Chukyōdai Chukyō Matsuyama 4-3
19 1933 Chukyōdai Chukyō Heian 2-1
20 1934 Gokou Central Kumamoto Kougyou 2-0
21 1935 Matsuyama Ikuei 6-1
22 1936 Gifu Heian 9-1
23 1937 Chukyōdai Chukyō Kumamoto Kougyou 3-1
24 1938 Heian Gifu 2-1
25 1939 Kaisou Central Shimonoseki 5-0 Seiichi Shima threw the first no-hitter in the finals.
26 1940 Kaisou Central Shimada 2-1
27 1941 The 27th annual tournament was to be held but cancelled due to World War II
From 1942 to 1945 the tournament was not held due to World War II
28 1946 Naniwa Kyoto Dai-ni Central 2-0
29 1947 Kokura Central Gifu 6-3
30 1948 Kokura Touin 1-0
31 1949 Shounan Gifu 5-3
32 1950 Matsuyama Higashi Naruto 12-8
33 1951 Heian Kumagai 7-4
34 1952 Ashiya Yatsuo 4-1
35 1953 Matsuyama Tosa 3-2
36 1954 Chukyōdai Chukyō Shizuoka 3-0
37 1955 Yokkaichi Sakaide 4-1
38 1956 Heian Gifu 3-2
39 1957 Hiroshima Hosei Dai-ni 3-1
40 1958 Yanai Tokushima 7-0
41 1959 Saijo Utsunomiya Kougyou 8-2
42 1960 Hosei Dai-ni Shizuoka 3-0
43 1961 Nami Touin 1-0
44 1962 Sakushin Gakuin Kurume 1-0
45 1963 Myojo Shimonoseki 2-1
46 1964 Kochi Hayatomo 2-0
47 1965 Miike Kougyou Choshi 2-0
48 1966 Chukyōdai Chukyō Matsuyama 3-1
49 1967 Narashino Kouryo 7-1
50 1968 Kokoku Shizuoka 1-0
51 1969* Matsuyama Misawa 0-0
(R) Matsuyama Misawa 4–2 The first game was called after 18 innings; Koji Ohta pitched every inning and then appeared again the next day.
52 1970 Tōkaidai Sagami PL Gakuen 10-6
53 1971 Tōin Gakuen Iwaki 1-0
54 1972 Tsukumi Yanai 3-1
55 1973 Hiroshima Shizuoka 3-2
56 1974 Choshi Shogyo Hofu 7-0
57 1975 Narashino Niihama 5-4
58 1976 Obirin PL Gakuen 4-3
59 1977 Toyodai Himeji Higashikuni 4-1 The game was won with a three-run sayonara homerun in the bottom of the tenth inning.
60 1978 PL Gakuen Kōchi Shōgyō 3–2
61 1979 Minoshima Ikeda 4–3
62 1980 Yokohama Waseda Jitsugyō 6–4
63 1981 Hōtoku Gakuen Kyōto Shōgyō 2–0
64 1982 Ikeda Hiroshima Shōgyō 12–2
65 1983 PL Gakuen Yokohama Shōgyō 3–0
66 1984 Toride Dai-ni PL Gakuen 8–4
67 1985 PL Gakuen Ube Shōgyō 4–3 PL Gakuen, led by "K-K Combi" (Masumi Kuwata and Kazuhiro Kiyohara), has returned to the championship.
68 1986 Tenri Matsuyama Shōgyō 3–2
69 1987 PL Gakuen Jōsō Gakuin 5–2
70 1988 Hiroshima Shōgyō Fukuoka Dai-ichi 1–0
71 1989 Teikyō Sendai Ikuei 2–0
72 1990 Tenri Okinawa Suisan 8–4
73 1991 Osaka Tōin Okinawa Suisan 13–8 Ichiro Suzuki's Aikodai Meiden lost in the first round.
74 1992 Nishi Nihon Tandai Fuzoku Takudai Kōryō 1–0 Hideki Matsui got five consecutive intentional walks at one game.
75 1993 Ikuei Kasukabe Kyōei 3–2
76 1994 Saga Shōgyō Shōnan 8–4
77 1995 Teikyō Seiryō 3–1
78 1996 Matsuyama Shōgyō Kumamoto Kōgyō 6–3
79 1997 Chiben Wakayama Heian 6–3
80 1998 Yokohama Kyōto Seishō 3–0 Daisuke Matsuzaka threw the second no-hitter in the finals.[4]
81 1999 Kiryu Dai-ichi Okayama Ridai Fuzoku 14–4
82 2000 Chiben Wakayama Tōkaidai Urayasu 11–6
83 2001 Nichidai-san ōhmi 5–2
84 2002 Meitoku Gijuku Chiben Wakayama 7–2
85 2003 Jōsō Gakuin Tōhoku 4–2 Yu Darvish's Tōhoku lost the final game.
86 2004 Komadai Tomakomai Saibi 13–10
87 2005 Komadai Tomakomai Kyōto Gaidai Nishi 5–3
88 2006* Waseda Jitsugyō Komadai Tomakomai 1–1
(R) Waseda Jitsugyō Komadai Tomakomai 4–3 Waseda Jitsugyo's Yuki Saito threw 6 complete games, 69 innings, and 948 pitches over the 2-week span, including 4 complete games, 43 innings and 553 pitches, in the final 4 days of the tournament.
89 2007 Saga Kita Kōryō 5–4 Kouryou took a 4–0 lead lead by their ace pitcher, Nomura. In the bottom of the 8th, Nomura gives up a bases loaded walk followed by a grand slam home run by Soejima which lifts Saga Kita to the title.
90 2008 Osaka Tōin Tokoha Kikugawa 17–0 Okumura hits a grand slam home run to open the first inning as Osaka Tōin's offensive juggernaut overwhelmed Tokoha Kikugawa. Osaka Toin's ace Fukushima Yuuto pitches a complete game 5-hit shutout for the win.
91 2009 Chukyōdai Chukyō Nihon Bunri 10–9 Chukyo holds a 10–4 lead into the 9th inning. Their ace Doubayashi Shouta goes back on the mound for the final inning. But with 2 outs Nihon Bunri comes back with a comeback for the ages, forcing Doubayashi off the mound and scoring 5 runs. The tying runner stood on 3rd base when Wakabayashi lines out to 3rd base to end the game. Nihon Bunri would have been the first team from Niigata to win the title had they completed the comeback.
92 2010 Kōnan Tōkaidai Sagami 13–1 Shimabukuro Yousuke and Kounan dominate the field, giving the first ever Summer Koshien champion to an Okinawan school.
93 2011 Nichidai-san Kōsei Gakuin 11–0 Kentaro Yoshinaga throws a 5-hitter, while Shun Takayama hits a 3-run homer in this rout of a match
94 2012 Osaka Tōin Kōsei Gakuin 3–0 Shintaro Fujinami fans 14 batters in a 2-hitter to wrap up the title, as Osaka Tōin becomes the 6th school to win the spring and summer Koshiens in the same year.
95 2013 Maebashi Ikuei Nobeoka Gakuen 4–3 Kona Takahashi allows his first runs in six games this tournament but still gets the win. Kaito Arai drives in the winning hit in the 7th inning.
96 2014 Osaka Tōin Mie 4-3 Kosuke Fukushima goes the distance for the win while Makoto Nakamura's 2-run, 2-out single in the bottom of the 7th inning is the winning hit.
97 2015 Tōkaidai Sagami Sendai Ikuei 10-6
98 2016 Sakushin Gakuin Hokkai 7-1
99 2017 Hanasaki Tokuharu Kōryō 14-4
100 2018 Osaka Tōin Kanaashi Nogyo 13-2 Kanaashi Nogyo was the first time a team from Akita (and the Tohoku region) to reach the finals in a 103 years, the previous time being 1915.
101 2019 Risei-sha Seiryo 5-3
102 2020 - - - The 2020 tournament was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[5][6]
103 2021 Chiben Gakuen Wakayama Chiben Gakuen Nara 9-2 This was the first time in the tournament's history that both finalist teams were from the same academic institution.

In popular culture[edit]

Some of the most famous appearances of the Japanese High School Baseball Championship in popular culture are in the manga and anime series Touch, H2 and Cross Game by Mitsuru Adachi, "Ace of Diamond" by Yūji Terajima, and Major by Takuya Mitsuda. Those series follow the struggles of different high school teams' bids to make it to the Kōshien tournament.

The 2014 hit Taiwanese film Kano is based on the true story of a high school baseball team from the Kagi Nōrin (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 Chukyō Shōgyō from Nagoya. This was the first of four appearances at the tournament for the Kano team, who later qualified in 1933, 1935 and 1936.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "The Latest: Tottenham looking into another breach by Aurier". AP NEWS. May 20, 2020. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  2. ^ "Japan's nat'l high school baseball meet canceled over virus". Kyodo News. May 20, 2020. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  3. ^ Takahara, Kanako, "Japan baseball stars first shine bright at Koshien", Japan Times, July 24, 2007, p. 2.
  4. ^ "Beware of The Monster". ESPN. November 22, 2006. Retrieved July 2, 2008.
  5. ^ "The Latest: Tottenham looking into another breach by Aurier". AP NEWS. May 20, 2020. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  6. ^ "Japan's nat'l high school baseball meet canceled over virus". Kyodo News. May 20, 2020. Retrieved May 20, 2020.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 34°43′16.34″N 135°21′41.84″E / 34.7212056°N 135.3616222°E / 34.7212056; 135.3616222