Japan national baseball team
The Japan national baseball team (野球日本代表 Yakyū Nihon Daihyō) is the national team representing Japan in international baseball competitions. They have reached 2nd place in the Baseball World Cup in 1982, and have won the World Baseball Classic in 2006 and 2009. The team is currently ranked #1 in the world by the International Baseball Federation.
|Japan national baseball team|
|Federation||Baseball Federation of Japan|
|Confederation||Baseball Federation of Asia|
|WBSC World Rank||1st|
|2009 World Baseball Classic|
|World Baseball Classic|
|Appearances||4 (First in 2006)|
|Best result||1st (2 times, most recent in 2009)|
|Appearances||5 (First in 1992)|
|Best result||2nd (1 time, in 1996)|
|Appearances||15 (First in 1972)|
|Best result||2nd (1 time, in 1982)|
|Appearances||15 (First in 1973)|
|Best result||1st (2 times, most recent in 1997)|
|Appearances||4 (First in 1994)|
|Best result||1st (1 time, in 1994)|
|Appearances||25 (First in 1954)|
|Best result||1st (17 times, most recent in 2017)|
The team participated in every Summer Olympic Games since the first demonstration tournament in 1984, through when it was discontinued following the 2008 Beijing Games. Until 2000, the team was made up exclusively of amateur players. Since the 2000 Summer Olympics, the team has been composed of players from Nippon Professional Baseball. The team that played in the 2006 World Baseball Classic included Japanese players from Major League Baseball as well.
In the 2006 Classic, the team played in Pool A and placed second, advancing to round two. They went on to win the 2006 Classic. They played at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, as they had qualified through the Asian Baseball Championship in 2007. Unlike the WBC roster, the Olympic team was exclusively formed by NPB players (but included one amateur player, who was drafted during the tournament's progress).
Most recently, Japan participated in the 2017 World Baseball Classic, finishing third.
The team has been nicknamed "Samurai Japan" (侍ジャパン). Like other national teams in Japan, the nickname is usually prefixed with the surname of the manager. However, in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, the team used Samurai, a symbol of Japan's history, instead of Hara, the surname of their manager. In 2012, it was adopted officially.
Asian Baseball ChampionshipEdit
Japan have dominated the Asian Baseball Championship since its inception, and have competed in every year. Japan have never missed out on placing in the top 3 in any tournament, and is the only team to have achieved this feat. Japan also holds the record for most consecutive Asian Championships, having won four times in a row on two separate occasions, including the four most recent tournaments to be held.
World Baseball ClassicEdit
Japan also won the 2009 World Baseball Classic, hosting the Pool A games in the Tokyo Dome. Japan started the tournament opener with a 4–0 win over China. Japan then secured advancement into the second round with a 14–2 win in seven innings over rival South Korea. The game was shortened due to the WBC's mercy rule. Japan then played South Korea again to determine seeding for the second round. In the rematch, the Koreans shut out Japan 1–0, making Japan advance as the Pool A runner-up. In Pool 1 of the WBC quarter-finals, Japan defeated Cuba 6–0, but lost to Korea again 4–1. In the elimination match that followed, Japan secured a spot in the semi-finals with a 5–0 win over Cuba. Japan defeated South Korea in the Finals 5–3 partly because of an Ichiro Suzuki base hit in the 10th inning.
2013: The end of the championship streakEdit
Japan, the two-time world defending champions, entered the 2013 World Baseball Classic, hosting Pool A games in the Fukuoka Dome, facing off against Cuba, China, and newcomers Brazil. Despite their first loss against the Cuban team, they secured their position for the second round in 2013 World Baseball Classic – Pool 1 to face off the Netherlands and Chinese Taipei. The Japanese team narrowly won against Chinese Taipei 4-3, before proceeding to face off against the Dutch team, winning against them twice before proceeding to the semi-final round, along with the Netherlands, as they faced off against Puerto Rico. Despite Japan's efforts, they eventually lost 3-1 against the Puerto Rican team right after Alex Ríos scored two additional runs from a home run. Japan finished third in the 2013 WBC, as their two-time championship streak ended. The Japanese team bowed out to both the crowd and the Puerto Rican team as a gesture of respect.
2013 WBC rosterEdit
Japan National Baseball Team roster
In the 2017 World Baseball Classic, Japan hosted Pool B games in the Tokyo Dome. They finished first round play with a 3-0 record and advanced to the second round. After batting .364, outfielder Yoshitomo Tsutsugoh was named the Pool B MVP. In the second round, Japan hosted Pool E games in the Tokyo Dome and again finished pool play with a 3-0 record, advancing to the championship round. However, Japan lost to the United States 2-1 in the semifinal. They finished the tournament in third place. Pitcher Kodai Senga was named to the All-World Baseball Classic Team.
2017 WBC rosterEdit
MLB Japan All-Star SeriesEdit
Since 1986 an All-Star team from Major League Baseball (MLB) is sent to a biennial end-of-the-season tour of Japan, dubbed as MLB Japan All-Star Series, playing exhibition games in a best-of format against the All-Stars from NPB or recently as of 2014 the Samurai Japan.
2014 Series RosterEdit
Baseball World CupEdit
International Tournament ResultsEdit
World Baseball ClassicEdit
World Baseball Classic
|Japan / United States 2006||1st|
|Japan / United States 2009||1st|
|Japan / United States 2013||3rd|
|Japan / United States 2017||3rd|
|World Baseball Classic record||Qualification record|
|2006||Final||1st||5||3||60||21||No qualifiers held|
|2009||Final||1st||7||2||50||16||No qualifiers held|
|Summer Olympics record||Qualification|
|1984||United States||Finals||1st [a]||4||1||33||11|
|1988||South Korea||Finals||2nd [a]||4||1||27||17|
|2000||Australia||Bronze Match||4th||4||5||42||29||1999 Asian Baseball Championship|
|2004||Greece||Bronze Match||3rd||7||2||60||23||2003 Asian Baseball Championship|
|2008||People's Republic of China||Bronze Match||4th||4||5||36||28||2007 Asian Baseball Championship|
- No medals awarded; tournament was a demonstration sport only
- Totals only include years 1992 to 2008 and 2020, during which baseball was an official medal sport.
- International Baseball Federation. "World Rankings". IBAF. Retrieved 2013-12-21.
- "Samurai Japan sets roster for 2013 World Baseball Classic".
- "World Baseball Classic: Cuba, Japan advance to 2nd round" - CBC Sports - Baseball - MLB