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PBS Documentary on Japanese High School Baseball

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PBS Documentary on Japanese High School Baseball

Postby GrimZeke007 » Tue Jul 04, 2006 11:00 pm

Wow there was a great documentary on the huge Japanese high school baseball tournament they have every summer for 2 weeks. 4,000 teams enter from all the provinces and 49 make the playoffs.

There's so much passion in their baseball. There are even cheering squads trained to encourage the teams.... So sad b/c the two teams they followed lost before the playoffs.

The seniors were extremely passionate as well, and it seems that the of the 18 players chosen for the each of the teams, the 18th player is supposed to be a honorable sportsmanship position.

Hopefully there's a replay for you guys that did not catch it.

EDIT: Here's the synopsis I got from PBS.
FILM SYNOPSIS

You want pure sports spectacle? You want the "thrill of victory and the agony of defeat?" Forget about Olympic athletics, the American pros and even Friday-night football in Texas. Take a look at high school baseball in Japan. As shown in "Kokoyakyu: High School Baseball," the first English-language film to examine the phenomenon, baseball has become a national rite of passage for the country's youth. For thousands of Japanese teens, their families and teachers, as well as millions of spectators, the annual tournament that begins with some 4,000 teams and finishes with 49 teams competing for the national championship at Koshien Stadium in Osaka manages to be both pure baseball — and purely Japanese.

In March 2006, Japan beat Cuba to win the first-ever World Baseball Classic. While this came as a shock to some, many baseball fans weren't surprised. Japan's embrace of the sport, beginning in 1872 and today including Japanese players in the American big leagues like Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki and New York's Hideki Matsui, is well known. Babe Ruth and other American all-stars used to travel to Japan in the 1930s to play against the locals before adoring fans — in fact, in the very Koshien Stadium where Japan's high school yakyu ("field ball") tournament culminates every August. But just how strong and deep the Japanese love of baseball is — how they have remade the sport into a supreme expression of their spiritual and cultural values — won't be as obvious. Unless one has experienced what the Japanese refer to simply as "Koshien."

"Kokoyakyu: High School Baseball" opens up the world of Koshien by following the fortunes of two teams as they compete in regional games and then head for the 2003 tournament (the 86th annual games). Tennoji High School is a public school whose team is coached by a dedicated and self-effacing teacher, Masa-sensei, who becomes deeply involved in the lives and welfare of his students and their families. Tennoji, with its limited public-school resources and location in the most competitive region, always faces an uphill climb to Koshien. Chiben High School, by contrast, is an elite private school whose team is coached by the legendary Takashima, who has taken the team to Koshien more than 20 times and has won the national championship three times. So successful has Chiben been that some of the nation's best high school baseball players go to great lengths to attend the school — and increase their chances of competing at Koshien.

Both coaches are obsessed with baseball and the values it teaches — and demands — of the students. Yet their different temperaments seem to mirror the contrast between the teams. The humbler Masa-sensei spares no feeling or attention to personal detail as he guides his students through a sports competition and trial-by-fire that will mark them for the rest of their lives. The depth of his emotional investment in his players becomes clearest at the tournament's end. The great Takashima brings a more Olympian sensibility to the proceedings; as soon as the tournament ends, he's already thinking of next year and the prospects for a Chiben championship. "Kokoyakyu" also brings us into the lives of the players, from the stars and captains to the second-stringers whose struggles to make a contribution become, perhaps, the purest expression of Japanese values in baseball.

In "Kokoyakyu," the rules, uniforms and stadium hoopla may seem all-American. Even the cheerleaders and their uniforms, though oddly borrowed from American football, obviously derive from the U.S. But — in what may be a revelation to Americans, especially American kids involved in sports — the intensity, discipline, earnestness and unselfish dedication to team, school and family are all Japanese. High school baseball in Japan appears to have sublimated the country's traditional samurai values in a markedly non-violent sport, whose essential grace and emphasis on teamwork strike a deep chord in Japanese hearts.

In what may be the most non-American touch of all, the Koshien tournament is kept rigorously non-commercial. Although the Koshien playoffs attract 60,000 fans per game to the stadium and are broadcast in full for 11 days on national television to millions of viewers, there are no commercial endorsements of any kind. The broadcasts are on public television, and no commercial recordings of the games are allowed. The stadium's owners donate use of the facility (and bump the games of the hometown pro team). Virtually everyone involved, from umpires to trainers to coaches, donates his time. And though a few of the kids nurse ambitions to play professional ball, it's quite clear that for the vast majority of the young players, Koshien is a rite of passage that calls on them to exhibit the highest Japanese values — hard work, dedication, selflessness and good sportsmanship. The same is true for the cheer squads, who marshal themselves with startling discipline and conviction, and the coaches, schoolmates, parents and fans who yearly brave searing heat or tune their TVs and radios to this national celebration.

Behind the Lens:
Read an interview with the filmmakers and submit a question of your own »
"In 'Kokoyakyu: High School Baseball,' we wanted to capture the unique aspects of Japanese-style baseball and the way Koshien marks a rite of passage for the nation's youth," says writer/producer Alex Shear. "It's really unlike anything in the United States, and the way Japanese kids approach this rite is also quite a contrast to youth culture — especially sports culture — in America."

"It was great this March to see the World Baseball Classic bring so many diverse cultures together over baseball," says director Kenneth Eng. "For us, it was even more exciting that Team Japan won, because we know how much baseball means to so many people there. We hope the team's success, and our film, will inspire Americans to learn more about Japanese culture. "

"Kokoyakyu: High School Baseball" is a production of Projectile Arts, made possible by grants from the United States-Japan Foundation, the Japan-US Friendship Commission and the Japan Foundation, with in-kind support from United Airlines.
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Postby acsguitar » Wed Jul 05, 2006 12:10 pm

Sounds cool man! I hope to be able to check it out
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Postby GrimZeke007 » Wed Jul 05, 2006 12:31 pm

Notes:

Daisuke Matsuzaka
Matsuzaka became a national hero in 1998 when he pitched Yokohama High School into the Koshien Tournament and dominated the competition like no one before or since. In the semi-final game at Koshien, his team faced P.L. Gakuen High School, one of the traditional powers of high school baseball. In stifling heat, Matsuzaka pitched a game for the ages, emerging victorious after 17 grueling innings and 250 pitches. The very next day, in the title game, he hurled a no-hitter to win the National Championship.

Sadaharu Oh
In high school, Oh made many appearances at Koshien and suffered several tough defeats. In 1957, Waseda High School made it to the Spring Koshien Tournament with the second-year Oh as their ace pitcher. Right before the tournament started, Oh suffered serious blisters on two fingers of his pitching hand. The only way to heal the injury was with rest, but Oh refused to let his team down. Hiding his injury so as not to demoralize his team, Oh pitched the entire first game at Koshien and won. Oh's catcher noticed the bloodstained ball, but agreed to keep the injury secret from the rest of the team. The next day, Oh pitched another complete game and earned the victory, and again his catcher kept the injury a secret, but the blisters worsened. The pain and infection was unbearable, and now Oh faced the prospect of pitching two more games — on back-to-back days — for the championship. All the same, Oh pitched and won another complete game, enduring the worst pain of his life. After the game, on the eve of the Final, he had already lost all feeling in his fingertips, and was convinced he couldn't pitch in the Final.

That night, Oh was paid a surprise visit by his father, who had noticed the subtle injury while watching his son pitch on television. Oh's father had traveled 350 miles from Tokyo to bring him a Chinese herbal remedy. The miracle treatment worked, and Oh was able to just make it through his fourth complete game in four days, squeaking out a one-run victory. Oh had won the Championship, proved his fighting spirit, and earned fame and the respect of the nation.
Last edited by GrimZeke007 on Wed Jul 05, 2006 12:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby acsguitar » Wed Jul 05, 2006 12:34 pm

GrimZeke007 wrote:Notes:

Daisuke Matsuzaka
Matsuzaka became a national hero in 1998 when he pitched Yokohama High School into the Koshien Tournament and dominated the competition like no one before or since. In the semi-final game at Koshien, his team faced P.L. Gakuen High School, one of the traditional powers of high school baseball. In stifling heat, Matsuzaka pitched a game for the ages, emerging victorious after 17 grueling innings and 250 pitches. The very next day, in the title game, he hurled a no-hitter to win the National Championship.

Sadaharu Oh
In high school, Oh made many appearances at Koshien and suffered several tough defeats. In 1957, Waseda High School made it to the Spring Koshien Tournament with the second-year Oh as their ace pitcher. Right before the tournament started, Oh suffered serious blisters on two fingers of his pitching hand. The only way to heal the injury was with rest, but Oh refused to let his team down. Hiding his injury so as not to demoralize his team, Oh pitched the entire first game at Koshien and won. Oh's catcher noticed the bloodstained ball, but agreed to keep the injury secret from the rest of the team. The next day, Oh pitched another complete game and earned the victory, and again his catcher kept the injury a secret, but the blisters worsened. The pain and infection was unbearable, and now Oh faced the prospect of pitching two more games — on back-to-back days — for the championship. All the same, Oh pitched and won another complete game, enduring the worst pain of his life. After the game, on the eve of the Final, he had already lost all feeling in his fingertips, and was convinced he couldn't pitch in the Final.

That night, Oh was paid a surprise visit by his father, who had noticed the subtle injury while watching his son pitch on television. Oh's father had traveled 350 miles from Tokyo to bring him a Chinese herbal remedy. The miracle treatment worked, and Oh was able to just make it through his fourth complete game in four days, squeaking out a one-run victory. Oh had won the Championship, proved his fighting spirit, and earned fame and the respect of the nation. [/u]


I think the Japense are bad arse.

I wanna play in a a japanese fantasy baseball league!
I'm too lazy to make a sig at the moment
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Postby The Loveable Losers » Wed Jul 05, 2006 1:32 pm

GrimZeke007 wrote:Sadaharu Oh
In high school, Oh made many appearances at Koshien and suffered several tough defeats. In 1957, Waseda High School made it to the Spring Koshien Tournament with the second-year Oh as their ace pitcher. Right before the tournament started, Oh suffered serious blisters on two fingers of his pitching hand. The only way to heal the injury was with rest, but Oh refused to let his team down. Hiding his injury so as not to demoralize his team, Oh pitched the entire first game at Koshien and won. Oh's catcher noticed the bloodstained ball, but agreed to keep the injury secret from the rest of the team. The next day, Oh pitched another complete game and earned the victory, and again his catcher kept the injury a secret, but the blisters worsened. The pain and infection was unbearable, and now Oh faced the prospect of pitching two more games — on back-to-back days — for the championship. All the same, Oh pitched and won another complete game, enduring the worst pain of his life. After the game, on the eve of the Final, he had already lost all feeling in his fingertips, and was convinced he couldn't pitch in the Final.

That night, Oh was paid a surprise visit by his father, who had noticed the subtle injury while watching his son pitch on television. Oh's father had traveled 350 miles from Tokyo to bring him a Chinese herbal remedy. The miracle treatment worked, and Oh was able to just make it through his fourth complete game in four days, squeaking out a one-run victory. Oh had won the Championship, proved his fighting spirit, and earned fame and the respect of the nation.


Wow...just wow.
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Postby Phatferd » Wed Jul 05, 2006 1:35 pm

The Loveable Losers wrote:
GrimZeke007 wrote:Sadaharu Oh
In high school, Oh made many appearances at Koshien and suffered several tough defeats. In 1957, Waseda High School made it to the Spring Koshien Tournament with the second-year Oh as their ace pitcher. Right before the tournament started, Oh suffered serious blisters on two fingers of his pitching hand. The only way to heal the injury was with rest, but Oh refused to let his team down. Hiding his injury so as not to demoralize his team, Oh pitched the entire first game at Koshien and won. Oh's catcher noticed the bloodstained ball, but agreed to keep the injury secret from the rest of the team. The next day, Oh pitched another complete game and earned the victory, and again his catcher kept the injury a secret, but the blisters worsened. The pain and infection was unbearable, and now Oh faced the prospect of pitching two more games — on back-to-back days — for the championship. All the same, Oh pitched and won another complete game, enduring the worst pain of his life. After the game, on the eve of the Final, he had already lost all feeling in his fingertips, and was convinced he couldn't pitch in the Final.

That night, Oh was paid a surprise visit by his father, who had noticed the subtle injury while watching his son pitch on television. Oh's father had traveled 350 miles from Tokyo to bring him a Chinese herbal remedy. The miracle treatment worked, and Oh was able to just make it through his fourth complete game in four days, squeaking out a one-run victory. Oh had won the Championship, proved his fighting spirit, and earned fame and the respect of the nation.


Wow...just wow.


Poor Josh Beckett...
You have no frame of reference, Donny. You're like a child who walks into the middle of a movie...
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Postby The Loveable Losers » Wed Jul 05, 2006 1:46 pm

Phatferd wrote:Poor Josh Beckett...


Maybe Beckett just needs Chinese herbal remedies.

I wonder if the formula is an ancient Chinese secret though... :-?

(Sorry, couldn't resist that one.)
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Postby acsguitar » Wed Jul 05, 2006 3:07 pm

The Loveable Losers wrote:
Phatferd wrote:Poor Josh Beckett...


Maybe Beckett just needs Chinese herbal remedies.

I wonder if the formula is an ancient Chinese secret though... :-?

(Sorry, couldn't resist that one.)



Image
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Postby GrimZeke007 » Wed Jul 05, 2006 6:16 pm

P.O.V.: So to return really briefly to the subject of the film, the Koshien tournament: If you were going to describe it in a sentence to someone who had no idea about it, to an American baseball fan, how would you do it?

Bobby Valentine: I would try to tell them that the NCAA tries to get all of the basketball teams in the country to play in a tournament for one winner, and here they take all the high school teams in the country, twice a year, and put them into a very similar single-elimination tournament to declare a champion at the end. The excitement and national attention and the way the tournament builds to the final game are at least equal to that of the NCAA. It's the Final Four, with the same passion and school loyalty as alumni have of Duke and UCLA and the underdogs that get into the tournament once in a while. When you get an underdog in the final four here that hasn't been in the tournament in many years, their little town, their city, their prefecture, become reborn with excitement. It's Texas high school football combined with the NCAA championship, as far as excitement and passion and commitment are concerned.
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Postby acsguitar » Wed Jul 05, 2006 6:20 pm

Do they use wooden or metal bats in highschool baseball in japan?
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