What’s the most popular sport in Japan? Without a doubt, I would say baseball. Ever time I turn on my TV, there’s news about the latest games. Baseball is everywhere, especially in Chiba, where we have the Lotte Marines.
One of the first celebrities you get to know in Japan is Ichiro Suzuki, a Japanese ball player who plays for Seattle Mariners. He’s pretty famous back home too, because he’s a great player. There are more and more Japanese players on US teams and they make everybody back home proud.
The other most famous is Hideki Matsui. You see Ichiro and Matsui on TV all the time. Japanese people are big baseball fans and they are really proud of their players in the States.
I would probably say that baseball is more popular in Japan than in the United States. In the US, baseball is popular, but we also have pro basketball and football, which are more popular depending on what city you live in.
This time of year, you just can’t get away from baseball in Japan.
Baseball came to Japan during the Meiji Era from the United States in the late 1800’s. It started out in regional baseball clubs and eventually grew to be a professional sport.
There are two baseball leagues in Japan, each with six teams: the Pacific League and the Central League. Just like back home, fans are rabid about their favorite teams.
Fall is the height of baseball season in Japan. The season goes from April to October, and the final game of the Japan series is in October, where the best teams from each league compete. There are also all-star games where the best players from the different teams get together and play.
If you teach English in Japan, and you have any boys of any age in your lessons, you have to know about Japanese teams. You have to remember each kid’s favorite team, and if you screw up, there’s hell to pay!
I live in Chiba Lotte Marines country, but some kids I teach are also Hanshin Tigers or Yomiuri Giants fans. I have to be really careful with those guys. But, it’s easy because all those kids idolize Ichiro and Hideko Matsui.
IÂfve got one kid I teach who is 12-years-old, and heÂ’s a big Hanshin Tigers fan. All I have to do is make a joke about Hanshin Tigers and he gets a murderous look in his eye.
The professional baseball teams in Japan are hugely popular, but the amateur leagues are even bigger. Japan has the most amateur baseball teams in the world. There’s little league, high school baseball, college baseball and community teams. And if you think those games are any less serious than the Central or Pacific League games, you’re dead wrong!