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Capturing the hearts of fans and aiming for the Future of baseball, not with weapons but a ball, eventually leading to World Peace

Increasing viewership, attendance, and international exchange

The sight of the Japanese representative team, Samurai Japan, standing at the top of the world after defeating strong nations in the WBC not only shook the hearts of baseball fans but also fans from around the world.

The manager, Kuriyama, who has raised the goal of winning for the future of the baseball world, saying “I want children to have dreams through baseball” and concerned about the decrease in the number of players, has realized his aspirations in the best way possible.

Samurai Japan players celebrated their victory by tossing their manager, Hideki Kuriyama, in the air

In this tournament, big-league players such as Trout (Angels) from the United States joined various national teams. The morale of the US representative team, which aimed for tournament consecutive victories starting with the strong countries of Central and South America before the start of the season, was also high, and high-quality play was seen in many places.

Among them, the extra-inning victory over Mexico in the semifinals and the final showdown between Japanese and American superstars in the ninth inning were particularly exciting, and even as an elderly blogger myself at the age of 76, I watched with sweaty palms and stomach aches in front of the TV as follows.

In any case, the battle in the final round, where the score was fought to the last point, condensed the excitement of baseball, and attracted everyone who watched it.

As proof of this, according to the organizer’s announcement, the number of spectators in the fifth tournament of the WBC was over 1.3 million, the largest in history, an increase of 20% from the previous tournament in 2017.

In addition, despite the trend of TV viewing declining in Japan with an average viewership rate in the 10% range, it exceeded 40% during the final, and this trend was 2.5 times in Taiwan and Mexico, 44% increase in Canada, and approximately 6.5 million people watched it in the United States.”

Regarding SNS, according to the organizers, the Instagram followers of the two-way star, Shohei Ohtani, who was named the tournament MVP, increased by approximately 2.1 million during the tournament, and he became the first MLB player to surpass 4 million followers.

History of Japan-U.S. Baseball Showdown

Looking back, when the blogger was a primary school pupil about 60 years ago, before the age of television, baseball games between Japanese and American teams were broadcast on the radio, and the difference in strength was evident, as it was essentially a game between adults and children.

If we delve a little deeper into the history of baseball between Japan and the United States, baseball was introduced to Japan around 1872, and in 1876 (Meiji 9), just four years later, the “Haitōrei” banning samurai from carrying swords was issued.

In the same year, a baseball game was held, and the score was 11-34, with the American team having only eight players instead of the usual nine.

A poster announcing Japan-US baseball showdown at Fukuoka stadium on Oct 30, 1956

It must have been a total nightmare to suffer such a crushing defeat against such a team at that time.

And yet, after 150 years of effort and research to “get better and stronger,” Japan achieved the score of “3-2” in yesterday’s game.

“Samurai Japan” recaptures World Championship Title, who praised by overseas fans for their top-notch behaviour

Samurai Japan showed respect for their opponents and the fans. The stadium was still filled with excitement as they lined up along the third base line, each taking off their hats and bowing to the fans.

Team’s leader, Shohei Ohtani raised his fist multiple times, and the team turned around and sent their gaze towards the Mexico bench. Ohtani pointed and clapped his hands.

“Samurai Japan” values etiquette – praise pours in for their actions after coming from behind to win

Immediately after their explosive victory, they took action. The “respect” that the Samurai Nine did not forget was “wonderful”.

The dugout of Samurai Japan, who won the WBC championship, has become a hot topic around the world. A video capturing the moment when Japan reclaimed the title of “World Champion” with Shohei Ohtani striking out Mike Trout is also circulating.

Michael Schracht, the field manager for the independent US league team Missoula Paddleheads, tweeted an image of the Japanese dugout on his own Twitter account, saying, “Can I take some time to marvel at the cleanliness of Japan’s dugout?”

As you can see, no trash, garbage in the dugout

He was amazed and touched by the clean and tidy bench of Samurai Japan with no trash, and many local media outlets and fans responded to his post.

Michael Eaves, a journalist for ESPN, responded to Schracht’s tweet, saying, “It’s like when I left the locker room during the World Cup,” comparing it to the Japanese national football team who cleaned up their locker room after the game in December last year.

Local fans also expressed admiration for Samurai Japan, saying “Japanese people pay an incredible amount of respect. I was very impressed with Japan,” “I was able to learn a lot from them,” and “They are a very disciplined team.”

After winning the match against the US, Samurai Japan lined up along the third base line and bowed to the fans and the American team that came to support them.

After the game, all the players greeted the fans and the opposing team

They responded to the loud cheers and showed their gratitude to those around them, drawing attention to their gracious behavior.

Although Samurai Japan showed overwhelming strength with an unbeaten record in the WBC, they also received praise from fans around the world for their behavior off the field.

Their discreet and impressive bench cleaning during the tournament drew attention and admiration from fans, with many saying they respect Japan and that others should learn from them.

In Japan, from the age of youth baseball, players are first taught to keep their equipment in order and to dispose of garbage in an appropriate manner.

This is not limited to baseball, but applies to all aspects of daily life.

I realized that what is “normal” in Japan is not normal in the rest of the world.

The domestic open season will begin next week, and I hope to see more great performances like those seen in the WBC.

Let’s meet again in three years for the next WBC!

At the end, I sincerely hope that baseball and sports, which bring such excitement and joy to people around the world, will eventually lead to world peace.

Congratulations and thanks for hard work!

May Peace Prevail on Earth

About the author

古林 茂樹(Shigeki Furubayashi )