In the nation of the rising sun, the sport with the biggest spotlight is not the one you would think. Far away from the big sumo wrestlers, the karate dojo, and even the world favorite football pitch, Japan turns its attention to the baseball field.
The sport called “yakyu” in Japanese was introduced in the 1920s, from then on it enjoyed continued success, expanding to have two leagues by 1950, and it has not stopped since.
Japan now has an official organizing body for the sport, the Nippon Profesional Baseball or NPB, that oversees two leagues: Central and Pacific. Plus many amateur teams that are sponsored by multiple companies, and a surprising fan following for high school baseball, that competes even with the professional one, in terms of public interest.
There are a few differences between baseball in Japan and in America, the ball can be a different size there, the field has some changes in dimensions, but at the heart of it, its the same game.
It is a history of love of the sport and hard work that has led Japan to be a real player on the international scale, showing up big for games and tournaments, exporting players, tactics, while climbing up the rankings with their game.
It would be hard to imagine that with all this history and, being one of the most beloved games in the nation, that it would be missing for the betting board possibilities, but it has been for a very long time.
The fact is, the sport with the most wagering is motorboat racing, and for baseball lovers, it has been a hard road. The reason behind the exclusion of baseball is that the government does not offer to bet on the game, just for horses, bicycles, motorcycles and motorboat racing. For years this has left one of the most appreciated sports in the country out of the loop and many fans disappointed.
As a response to this lack of opportunities, there has been an effort to allow fans of the sport to make bets on games and plays. To keep the game alive and fans winning, bookmakers in Japan for baseball actually operate online and have been gaining a lot of support from those that love baseball.
Here’s an opportunity to deliver to an audience exactly what they have demanded, the chance to place luck on their side, tets their knowledge of the game, teams, and win some recognition.
While the country continues to grow in its love and skills of the game, even as other interests captivate the public, it is important to recognize that baseball drew the attention of many in Japan and continues to so so.
It has managed to keep fans returning for years and still to this day inspires all kinds of people around the nation, people who want to participate and place their bets on the game they love.
It would not be wise to ignore the strength of the pull that baseball has on the Japanese fans. The alternative would be to expand on this honest chemistry between the two, creating new avenues for cultural exchange, expansion of the sport, business opportunities and more.