“Japanese baseball has a soul”… The Secret to Japan’s Third WBC Championship
When was the glory days of Japanese baseball? Right now. The Japanese baseball team reached the top of the tournament for the third time at the 2023 WBC (World Baseball Classic). Japan won the WBC final against the United States on the 22nd with a 3-2 victory and a 7-game victory. Japan showed off its might as a baseball powerhouse by lifting the championship trophy at the first 2006 and 2009 WBC. However, when he stayed in third place at the 2013 WBC, he defined it as a ‘failure’ and embarked on a major generational change and change. As a result, the mighty Samurai Japan (nickname for the Japanese baseball team) was created in line with the unique characteristics of Japanese baseball, which emphasizes a solid base and basic skills.
10 years of preparation, constant evaluation
After Japan failed to lose three consecutive matches at the 2013 WBC, it began to strengthen its national team’s performance. The Japan Baseball Organization (NPB) later created an organization called the ‘Japan Representative Marketing Committee’ and began systematically managing the national team by age group with the Japan Baseball Association. It was also named ‘Samurai Japan’ to imprint on fans.
Furthermore, a dedicated coach was appointed, and after the Japanese professional baseball season was over, the national team was called up to train together and competed against professional teams as well as national teams such as Mexico, Taiwan, and France. Ahead of the 2023 WBC, Japan held two warm-up matches against Australia in November last year. The main players who played a big role in this tournament have been breathing and matching their hands and feet since then. KBS N commentator Jang Seong-ho said, “Japan failed 10 years ago and has been thoroughly preparing during that time.”
A different level of base, successful generational change
According to the Japan High School Baseball Federation, as of 2022, there are currently 3857 high school baseball teams in Japan. It is more than 40 times that of Korea (88). As much as that, the baseball base is wide and permeates every corner of life메이저사이트. Yang Sang-moon, head coach of the women’s baseball team, said, “There are about 200 high school baseball teams in Japan that play elite baseball like ours.” are released,” he said.
Japan showed its confidence in the generational change by forming the youngest national team (27.3 years old) in the history of the tournament. Players in their prime, in their 20s and early 30s, led the championship. Shota Imanaga (30), who started as the starting pitcher for the final, played an active role throughout the tournament, going back and forth between the start and the bullpen, and last season’s “home run king” Munetaka Murakami (23) and Kazuma Okamoto (27) fired cannons at the crucial moment to take the lead. did. Tournament MVP (Most Valuable Player) Shohei Otani (29), who served as the finishing pitcher and secured the championship, played an all-weather role in pitching. Young pitchers such as Roki Sasaki (22) and Yoshinobu Yamamoto (25) added strength to the mound with powerful pitches that exceeded 160 km/h. Manager Yang, who served as the national team pitching coach at the time of the 2009 WBC, said, “Japan has built a team that is more advanced than the 2009 WBC championship.”
Don’t lose sight of the basics
In Japan, the so-called ‘Shugyo (修業)’ spirit, which is learning and polishing basic skills in technology or study, is valued, and the field where this craftsmanship is still used is baseball. It is different from the mindset of players and coaches towards Japanese professional baseball, which has grown in earnest since World War II and has become a national tradition. Director Yang said, “The sport itself is deeply embedded in the emotions of the Japanese people.” He continued, “The pitching form of Japanese pitchers seen in this tournament has not changed from 40 years ago when we started to envy Japanese baseball. That’s why the basics are emphasized.” Former baseball team coach Kim In-sik also said, “Japanese baseball has a ‘soul’.”