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. It took 2nd place in the Baseball World Cup in 1982, and won the World Baseball Classic in 2006 and 2009. The team is currently ranked #1 in the world by the World Baseball Softball Confederation.
|Japan national baseball team|
|Federation||Baseball Federation of Japan|
|Confederation||Baseball Federation of Asia|
|WBSC World Rank||1st|
|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 has participated in every Summer Olympic Games since the first demonstration tournament in 1984, through when baseball 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.
The team won the 2006 Classic. It played at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, as it had qualified through the Asian Baseball Championship in 2007. Unlike the WBC roster, the Olympic team was composed exclusively of NPB players (though it included one amateur player, who was drafted during the tournament's progress). Japan participated in the 2017 World Baseball Classic, finishing third.
Team Japan won the 12-team 2019 WBSC Premier12 Tournament, in November 2019.
|Japan roster – 2019 WBSC Premier12 roster|
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
2006 WBC rosterEdit
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.
2009 WBC rosterEdit
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
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
Baseball World CupEdit
Team Japan came in third in the 2015 WBSC Premier12 Tournament.
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.
- "Samurai Japan sets roster for 2013 World Baseball Classic".
- "World Baseball Classic: Cuba, Japan advance to 2nd round" - CBC Sports - Baseball - MLB
- "Two teams from WBSC Premier12 2019 to qualify for 2020 Tokyo Olympic Baseball". WBSC.org. December 19, 2018. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
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