Sunday, August 7, 2011


There are two national high school championships a year in Japan; one in March, the other in August - both are televised nation-wide. Many high school stars become household names and are drafted to the pros soon thereafter. The high school championships are often called simply called "koushien" (the name of the stadium where the championships are held). The field is considered sacred ground and high school players will often fill small bags with dirt from the infield to take home with them after their games have ended. In the U.S., every young ball player dreams of winning the World Series. In Japan, every young ball player dreams of going to the koushien.

If you could imagine your state sending one team and everyone in the state pumped up to see your champion represent your state with respect, and an energy and love for the game that only the young can bring to the field - if you can imagine this, then maybe you can appreciate the passion and pride with which Japanese people relish the games.

This year is an especially emotional koushien, especially for areas hit by the earthquakes and tsunami. It's hard not to be moved to tears watching a high school team play their hearts out, knowing that many of them lost their homes and loved ones less than 6 months ago.

Iwate prefecture's Hanamaki  Higashi lost on the 66th anniversary of the bombing at Hiroshima. 
The team's catcher lost his home and grandparents in the tsunami on March 11th.

The following video is in Japanese. It is a short documentary of the Touhoku High School's run at the spring championships.

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