Japanese Baseball Culture～Hiroshima Carp Vs Tokyo Yakult Swallows～
Have you ever experienced Japanese baseball before? If not I highly recommend you to attend a match. Even if your mildly interested in Baseball or don’t even know the rules, you must attend at least one match to get a feel of Japanese high tense fever!!
Today we attended a baseball match at Jingu Stadium, Tokyo. Today’s match was Hiroshima Carp Vs Tokyo Yakult Swallows. This was my first baseball experience, hence I didn’t have much of an idea as to what was going to be thrown at me (maybe a home run). As we entered Jingu Stadium amongst many other baseball fans, we chose a seat that was right in the middle of many earnest Hiroshima fans. That’s right! We chose to cheer for Hiroshima today because we came with a friend that supports Hiroshima. As the match went under way, hundreds of Hiroshima fans in red jerseys stared a synchronized chant, led by the main cheering squad. It turns out that every team has their own cheering squad, equipped with trumpets, whistles, huge flags and a very loud voice! These people are like orchestras and their role is to encourage the fans to cheer as one at their maximum level. Once the match was well under way every single fan was synchronized with one another executing different chants and cries for every single player that enters the field. It was an amazing feeling to be a part of such intense and vibrant cheering. Although Hiroshima lost 9-2 to the Swallows, the atmosphere of this was highly captivating.
Although baseball is not widely played in my home country Australia, Rugby is very popular and runs in the blood of all Aussies. It is the sport that gets the nation hyped. If you ever go to a rugby match in Australia you will find that fans cheer individually and they are not obligated to chant in synchronization. There are no trumpet men, no team song, nor a professional cheering squad. Every individual will be screaming their own words. I guess the old Japanese ideology of “The nail that sticks out gets pounded down” creates a tendency for the Japanese people to blend in with one another, as it is embracing to stand out or to be different. This could possibly be one close reason as to why they chant in synchronization.
Even so I prefer the Japanese way of cheering as it harnesses much more energy for the supporting team and the fans also bond as one. Even if you don’t know baseball I recommend you attend one of these matches as you will get to experience the national traits of Japan through cheering! As for myself, I enjoyed the cheering more than the actual baseball match, so I will be attending another match sometime in the near future just to yell!
Jingu stadium is located a few minutes walk from Shinanomachi which is about 5 minutes from Shinjuku by JR Sobu Line.