The two World’s record high; Ichiro’s 200 hits and Hakuho’s 8th undefeated championship

By TERRY - Last updated: 火曜日, 9月 28, 2010 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

  Now we have  quite up-to-date exciting news  of  the two remarkable achievements of  the world record high related to “Japan”.  One is  Ichiro Suzuki(/鈴木一朗), a Japanese outfielder of  Seattle Mariners of MLB, achieving  at the least 200 hits in 10 straight years on this Sep.23rd . That is the new highest record in the human baseball history ! sb20100925a1b  Ichiro made the hit in the fifth inning of the game against  Toronto Blue Jays  in Toronto Canada,  besting his own old record high.


And the other one is that Hakuho(/白鵬), a Japanese sumo wrestler from Mongolia, achieved his eighth undeated championship at the final day of  this fall tournament on this Sep. 26th at Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo,which is the record equaling the record high of  Futabayama(/双葉山) and Taiho (/大鵬) so many years ago.  Hakuho also marked  a four- consecutive undefeated championships at this fall tournament ,which is the record high since people started the current 15-day match system in 1949.  The number of his consecutive  wins of 62 is so close the record high of  69 by Futabayama. spf1009261741005-n1 He was given and directly handed the huge winner’s cup of the tournament by Naoto Kan(/菅直人), the current prime minister at the ceremony on the 26th. A prime minister directly handing the cup the the winner is quite a rare situation as usually such act is done through a proxy.

 Those two newest  world records high related to “Japan” in a way  make a clear and interesting contrast. As for Ichiro’s success, “baseball”  is not a unique sport in Japan but was invented in US and still today US is the mecca  of  baseball culture. Still Japan won the first and the second World Baseball Classic in 2008 and 2009 in a row and it has proven its “the greatest baseball kingdom” in a way. 

Baseball was first introduced to Japan in 1871 just after the Meiji Restoration in 1868 and loved primarily by college students and was begun to be called “yakyuu” in Japanese which means “field ball”, named so by Kanae Chuuman(/中馬庚), a Tokyo University student in 1894.  Since then that sport seems to have been refined with the Japanese taste of  Bushido or Japanese chivalry, where people tend to make much of  “team spirit” or “comradery” unlike the traditional western way where concepts of a simple collection of individual acts and feats  are rather dominant.

Ichiro had earned a lot of experiences in Orix Buffaloes, a Japanese pro baseball team for about 10years before he established shiny records in MLB of US. Therefore, he seems to have acquired a “hybrid” baseball style from the two different ideas as a happy chemical compound or fusion which  has given him such a great blessing.

We have  The Baseball Hall of  Fame and Museum (/野球体育博物館, Yakyuu Taiiku Hakubutsukan)  in the next door to Tokyo Dome, the home ground of Yomiuri Giants in Suidobashi in Bunkyo-ward Tokyo. You can learn a lot of information on the history of baseball in Japan including the famed , such as Shiki Masaoka(/正岡子規), a well-known poet more than a hundred years ago in the Meiji era  who really loved and promoted baseball in Japan.

On the other hand, Sumo is a traditional sport unique to Japan, which is thought to have thousands of years of history, and even Kojiki(/古事記), the oldest Japanese mythological record. That is why sumo used to be a sacred ceremony done in sanctuaries, such as Shinto shrines, and the wrestlers enojoyed  positions of a higher class of samurai warriors  until the end of the Edo era in 1868.  You can learn the history of sumo wrestling at Sumo Shashin Shiryoukan(/相撲写真資料館, a sumo photo museum) in Ryogoku in Sumida-ward Tokyo, next to Ryogoku Kokugikan.         

In the present-day Japanese society, we have  had so many sumo wrestlers who are foreigners coming from various countries, not just Mongolia but US, Bulgaria, Argentina, Tonga, Taiwan, Brazil , and so forth, and about one third of all the Makuuchi Rikishi (top-division sumo wrestlers). Actually, all the current Yokozuna (/横綱, the highest rank  sumo wrestlers) are forigners including Hakuho.

Now, sumo, some thousand years old  native sport  of  the indigenous Japanese religion symbolizing the “Japanese Spirit” has become quite an international sport where any potentially excellent athlete can be given an equal opportunity to become professional or even the top, regardless of nationalities, races, and tribes. And  baseball, which is a foreign sport whose hisitory in Japan is just 130 years long, now allows many athletes from Japan to be top ones of the world. 

Therefore, such “A Japanese traditional sport being open to the world” and “A Foreign sport being open to Japanese to be even the best tops ” make and show a clear contrast of  the Japanese aspects. However, the contrast also definitely describes in common the great openness, depth, diversity, and future possibilities of “the Japanese and the Japanese sports and culture” widely both domestically and internationally.

Posted in Old and New Cultural Scenes in Japan • • Top Of Page
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