Take Me Out To The Yakyu Shiai

baseball article

take me out to the yakyu shiai

Aaron Pylinski | Community Writer

This ain’t your grandpa’s American-style baseball. Take everything you know about America’s pastime and put it on steroids, because Japanese baseball elevates fandom and fanfare to a whole new level. Though most Japanese baseball games are broadcast on television, there’s nothing like getting into a Japanese ballpark and experiencing the game first hand.

Fan behavior in the stands is what truly sets Japanese baseball apart from any other version in the world. A Japanese baseball game is likened to an English football match, minus the drunken football firm brawls, police, and tear gas outside the stadium.

Much like a game of footie, though, the fans in the home cheering section of a Japanese baseball stadium engage in raucous chants and fight songs usually lasting the entirety of the game. It’s not just the chants, though, there is no shortage of horns, whistles, and traditional Japanese taiko drums to add to the rukus.

Most notably, a Japanese ballgame is hardly as quiet as an American major league game. Even when the home team is batting, each hitter has a personal song that is playing and amasses audience participation during the entire at-bat.

The seventh inning stretch at an American game pales in comparison to the Japanese take on the tradition. Take away the Americana of Harry Caray drunkenly rambling through “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” after a pitcher and a half of some cold beer, then queue the fans letting loose balloons in tune to the color of the home team.

Most of the colorful fans sit in the unreserved bleacher seats which are no different from the nosebleed sections of any American ballpark and chanting and singing are a way for these fans to stay connected to the players during a game.

Japan follows suit with some American traditions during the course of a game. Japanese ball games have beer vendors - usually young ladies brandishing beer-filled backpacks, as well as hot dogs and ice cream. Long before Japanese baseball became the action-packed spectacle that it is, though, its roots are tapped into Japanese tradition as old as the beginning of Japan’s modern era.

Baseball (野球, Yakyū) was introduced to Japan from the United States during the early Meiji Period (1867-1873) by college professor Horace Wilson. The sport almost immediately gained popularity in amateur athletic clubs and among universities.

Professional baseball has existed in Japan since 1920, and the first professional baseball league began in 1936. Baseball grew over the years and reached its zenith in 1949 with Nippon Professional Baseball, the highest level of professional baseball in the country. Much like its popularity here, Japanese baseball is also highly regarded outside of the country where teams and individual athletes perform at a high level in international play.

American Major League baseball has seen some Japanese players cycle through its ranks over the years. Japanese ballplayers are regarded highly in the states, and they are also celebrated when they return to Japan from there time in the American bigs.

Similar to American baseball, the Japanese professional baseball season starts with spring training. The regular season runs from late March to October and ends with the Climax Series (playoffs) in late October.

The winner from each league championship series faces off against each other in the Nippon Series Championship, likened to the American World Series. The ticket selling season is already open, and they sell fast, but we offer group trips to games so all stationed aboard can get a chance to experience a game firsthand.

Seats at field level cost upwards of ¥15,000 and usually can only be purchased at the field. Most non-reserved bleacher seat tickets (where the colorful fan interaction is at) cost as little as ¥1000 and can be purchased at local 7-Eleven stores. Purchasing tickets this way requires a working knowledge of Japanese and some yen; American dollars are not accepted. There are teams with smartphone apps through which tickets can be purchased. The Fukuoka Softbank Hawks, for example, have an app and tickets can be purchased in either yen or U.S. dollars.

Professional baseball in Japan is played in two leagues of six teams each

Pacific league

Central League

Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters
Yomiuri Giants
Saitama Seibu Lions
Chiba Lotte Marines
ORIX Buffaloes
Fukuoka Softbank Hawks

Hiroshima Toyo Carp
Hanshin Tigers
Yokohama DeNA Baystars
Chunichi Dragons
Tokyo Yakult Swallows
Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles

While it is highly encouraged that all who attend a baseball game have as much fun as they possibly can, there are some simple guidelines while in the stadium.

• Usually, a stadium will have a fan section for both home and away fans. Refrain from wearing the opposite team uniform or using objects for cheering in the home cheering section to avoid trouble between both groups of team fans.

• Bottles, cans, plastic bottles, and dangerous objects are usually not allowed to be carried into the stadiums. All spectators are required to go through the security check.

• Refrain from watching the game at the stairs and entrances to avoid blocking the spectator’s access to and from the seats.

Fukuoka Softbank Hawks Fight Song

English: Go Forth, Young Hawks!
Train your wings

In the salty breeze of the Genkai Sea Swift like a hurricane,

Aim for glory and take off! (That’s right!)
Go forth, peerless Young Hawks!

Go forth, Young Hawks of Flame!

Our, our SoftBank Hawks
On the diamond where you compete for the pennant,

Fire up your fighting spirit, and strike the enemy

With each pitch, with each hit, flare up

The ball’s heat will stir up a storm
(That’s right!)
Go forth, peerless Young Hawks!

Go forth, Young Hawks of Flame!

Our, our SoftBank Hawks
SoftBank Hawks! (x6)

Let’s cheer for victory!

Let’s cheer for victory!

Let’s cheer for victory, Yahoo Dome!!!
If you fight to the limits of your strength,

Victory will always be at your sideWave the pennant that inspires us in the shining sky!
(That’s right!)
Go forth, peerless Young Hawks!

Go forth, Young Hawks of Flame!

Our, our SoftBank Hawks

Japanese: Iza Yuke Wakataka Gundan!
Genkainada no shiokaze ni

Kitaeshi tsubasa takumashiku

Hayate no gotoku sassou to

Eikou mezashi habatake yo (sore!)

Iza yuke muteki no wakataka gundan

Iza yuke honoo no wakataka gundan

Warera no warera no sofutobanku hookusu

Penanto kisou gurando ni toukon moete teki wo utsuittou ichida hi wo hakite hakkyuu atsuki Arashi yob (sore!)

Iza yuke muteki no wakataka gundan

Iza yuke honoo no wakataka gundan

Warera no warera no sofutobanku hookusu
Sofutobanku hookusu! (x6)

Kachidoki agero!

Kachidoki agero!

Kachidoki agero, yafuu doomu!!!
Chikara no kagiri tatakawaba

Shouri wa tsune ni koko ni ari

Kagayaku sora ni kangeki no

Chanpion furaggu hirugaere (sore!)

Iza yuke muteki no wakataka gundan

Iza yuke honoo no wakataka gundan

Warera no warera no sofutobanku hookusu

Hiroshima Carp Fight Song

English: Go for it, Carp (Young Carp)

Carp, Carp, Carp Hiroshima, Hiroshima Carp

If you fly to the sky 

heaven will open its breast

Certainly fighting

at this time today

Far and high, (far and high!)

far and high (far and high!)

Raise the flag of glory

Carp, Carp, Carp Hiroshima, Hiroshima Carp

Japanese: Sore ike caapu (wakaki koi-tachi)

Kaapu kaapu kaapu Hiroshima, Hiroshima Kaapu

Sora wo oyoge to,

ten mo mata mune wo hiraku

Kyou no kono toki wo,

tashika ni tatakai

Haruka ni takaku, (takaku!)

haruka ni takaku, (takaku)

Eikou no hata wo tate yo

Kaapu kaapu kaapu Hiroshima, Hiroshima Kaapu