Japanese Professional Baseball


From the establishment of the Japanese Baseball league in 1934, baseball has always been popular.  Even now, sumo is the Japanese national game, but watching baseball is more popular.  Each team has its own zealous fanbase and special cheers, so to Japanese baseball fans, baseball is not just a hobby, but a way of life.  The Japanese watch baseball as a sort of vent of emotions, so they can run away from problems of everyday life.  But, since the bursting of the Bubble Economy, professional baseball has begun to have its share of problems.  From the criticism of Japanese baseball players leaving for America to the dissolution of the Kintetsu Buffaloes and the 2004 players strike, Japanese professional sports have also seen problems appear that stem from the bad economic period.

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  • 1872:  Introduction of baseball to Japan
  • 1908:  First baseball game played against Major League Teams
  • 1934:  Greater Japan Tokyo Baseball Club (present: Yomiuri Giants) established
  • 1935:  Osaka Baseball Club (present: Hanshin Tigers) established
  • 1936:  Japanese Baseball League Established
  • 1950:  Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) Established
  • 1993:  Hideo Nomo’s departure to America
  • September 18, 2004:  NPB Player’s Strike
  • 2004:  Kintetsu Buffaloes dissolution


Kintetsu Buffaloes History

Website about the (storied) history of the Osaka-based Kintetsu Buffaloes

What is the Cause of the First Strike in the History of Japanese Professional Baseball?

Website outlining the cause and possible solutions to the Japanese Professional Baseball Strike

From the site:

Q: What is the cause of the Professional Baseball Players Association strike?

A: The cause of the strike was the reduction of teams from 12 to 11 due to the merger of Orix and Kintestsu.  In essence, the team reduction was similar to company-internal restructuring, cutting the number of players by 8%.

Q: Is the Japanese Professional Baseball Players Association a labor union?

A: Professional baseball players are individual entrepreneurs, as opposed to company employees, but the labor union is recognized by the Tokyo High Court.  The foremost major different between this and ordinary labor unions is that all members are contract employees.

The second is the huge disparity in pay; there is no salary regulation.  Union members range from making millions of yen (tens of thousands of dollars) where even next year’s pay isn’t guaranteed, to those with multiple year contracts making several hundred million yen (millions of dollars) per year.

Japan’s First-Ever Player Strike

Article regarding the 2004 Nippon Professional Baseball Players Strike

The Ichiro Paradox

Article about Japanese baseball and its relationship to America and Major League Baseball

Contributor bio : Eugene Park

 Japanese | Englishback of my head

Hi, I am Eugene (or Jin-Sung) Park, a Junior in William and Mary. I am planning, meaning I still haven’t decided, to become an Economics major, and unfortunatly, I seem to be slightly more talented in Japanese than in Economics. I was born and grew up in Busan, South Korea, until 6th grade, and spent 2 years in Pennsylvania. Then, I came to Alexandria, Virginia and enrollyed in Episcopal High School, which was streotypical prep school. My high school did not offer Japanese language course, so I started to study Japanese after comming to W&M. Honestly, I prefer city so much more over suburb, so I am considering about applying for exchange student to Keio next year.

Olivia Time!

Japanese English |

Olivia Close

My name is Olivia M. Roberts, and I’m a senior this year! I’m majoring in International Relations with a minor in Economics. I’m hoping to go to UVA law school following graduation, but I have yet to take the LSATS (end of September!!), so we shall see…

I have always found the Japanese language to be very pretty and interesting, since I first heard it watching anime when I was 12 years old. I was estatic to be able to learn Japanese when entering college, and last semester I was finally able to study abroad in Japan! It was such a blast! I can’t wait to go back again!

When I’m not studying, I like to watch movies, read, play Shockwave games, and cook!! Thanks for reading my bio!

William He

Japanese | English

William He is a Senior at the College of William and Mary, planning on graduating with a Bachelors in Marketing in May 2010.  His interest in Japanese was born during his high school years, when he began watching anime, practicing jiu-jitsu, and studying Japanese.  As his Japanese knowledge grew, he developed an interest in Japanese music, both from anime and from popular culture.  Curious about the factors that have affected the development of modern Japanese music, William plans to study it as part of this post-bubble culture research endeavor.

Sogyu Song

English | Japanese

Hi. My name is Sogyu, and I’m a a junior at College of William & Mary.  I’m an Accounting major with Finance concentration at Mason School of Business.

I am studying Japanese 401 language and Classical Japanese Literature this semester.  My contribution to this blog will have to do with Akihabara shopping area, from the cultural point of view.  Please enjoy.

Chris Bubb

English | Japanese

Hello all,

My name is Chris Bubb, and I’m a senior majoring in East Asian Studies at the College of William and Mary.  At the time I entered this grand institution, I had no idea that Japanese would have such an impact on my life, but I began at the beginning of the Japanese language curriculum.

As time went on, my interest in all things Japanese grew, and I decided to study abroad in Osaka, Japan, where I studied at Momoyama Gakuin University, in the tiny little town of Izumi, Osaka, Japan, during the summer of 2009.  I had all sorts of wonderful experiences, and ever since I’ve returned to the States, I’ve been longing to make a return trip to the Land of the Rising Sun.

Contributor bio. Won-Ho Jun

Won chillin'Japanese | English

Hello, my name is Won-Ho Jun and I am originally from Seoul, Korea, but now live in Hampton Virginia. I am a Senior Economics & Business major and plan to graduate in May of 2010. My interests include soccer, music and reading Japanese manga.

Henry Kim

私Hi. My name is Henry Kim, and I am a senior currently studying Economics at the College of William and Mary. I began studying Japanese at the beginning of my college career. Ever since then I have immersed myself with Japanese culture and come to a greater understanding of its culture and values.

On the summer of 2009, I made a trip to Tokyo, Japan to study its language as an exchange student. While studying I’ve experienced traditional Kyoto to the busy night of Shibuya. I am here to share my experiences and knowledge to you readers. Please Enjoy~

English | 日本語

Megan Locke

English | Japanese 

Megan wearing hakamaHi, I’m Megan Locke, and I’m a senior at the College of William & Mary. I’m majoring in East Asian Studies, and studied in Nagoya, Japan during the spring of my junior year. Nagoya is not really an exciting place to visit (about all it’s famous for is being the heartland of the Toyota company), but it’s a wonderful place to live! At least if you visit, go eat some kishimen noodles! They’re the local speciality, and taste exactly like all other Japanese noodles, except for the fact that they’re long and flat, but that’s besides the point. Also try the miso katsu!

I love studying modern Japanese society, especially the situation of Japanese women today. I plan to do research on a book about this topic for Japanese 401 this year.  


Contributor Bio: Pam Kennedy

English | Japanese

I’m Pam Kennedy. I was born in 1988 and raised in Atlanta. Currently I am a senior at the College of William and Mary, and I am majoring in Government and East Asian Studies. I studied Japanese language and cinema in Hikone, Shiga Prefecture, in Japan during the Spring 2009 semester.

My current interest in post-bubble Japanese culture is the work of novelist Kanehara Hitomi, who wrote “Snakes and Earrings” and “Autofiction.” During the summer of 2009, I conducted research on these two novels in the context of post-bubble Japanese society. I will continue this research by further examining ways in which Ms. Kanehara expresses the disillusionment of the post-bubble era youth in her books.