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Three sumo wrestlers standing in the ring, with formal aprons.
Sports Year
  1. Two National Soccer Tournaments
  2. Ekiden Road Race
  3. Rugby Football Games in Winter
  4. Skiing and Skating
  5. Sumo
  6. Midwinter Training and Traditional Martial Arts
  7. J League Soccer
  8. Mountain-opening and Beach-opening
  9. Fishing
  10. Motor Sports
  11. High School Baseball
  12. National Sports Festival
  13. Japan Baseball Series
  14. Viewing Autumn Leaves and Hiking
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A baseball team, gathered in a circle, throws their hats into the air
A baseball team celebrates after a game
Photo from Joutou High School Baseball Club.
High School Baseball
High school baseball is quite popular as a spectator sport in Japan. Indeed, some baseball fans prefer high school baseball games to professional ones. In particular, the National High School Baseball Championship in summer enjoys huge popularity. Local elimination tournaments of this high school championship are held at the prefectural level from June to July. A total of about five thousand teams participate in the local tournaments. As a result of these local tournaments, forty-nine teams take part in the national competition at Koshien Stadium in Hyogo Prefecture in August. The forty-nine teams represent forty-five prefectures and four regions (Japan has forty-seven prefectures, but for this baseball championship, Tokyo is divided into two regions, as is Hokkaido). Many people in Japan enjoy this two-tier competition, the prefecture-level competitions, and the national tournament. First, people enjoy supporting their alma mater, or the school they graduated from, during the prefectural competition. Then, they enjoy supporting their home prefecture teams at Koshien Stadium. The players of the winning team at the final game at Koshien Stadium become local heroes in their prefecture. Playing for the national championship at Koshien Stadium is very prestigious and is regarded as a possible gateway to the professional baseball league.
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