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A History of Japanese Baseball

From introduction of baseball to modern baseball
1872 Horace Wilson, an American Teacher at Ichiban Chugaku (now Tokyo University) introduces baseball to his students.
1878 Hiroshi Hiraoka returns from America and forms the Shimbashi Athletic Club (SAC), the first formal baseball club in Japan. Hiraoka also coaches at schools and other clubs, providing a boost to the spread of baseball in Japan.
1894 Kanoe Chuma of Ichiko translates "baseball" into Japanese as "yakyu".
1896 The Ichiko team wins an international game in Yokohama against a foreign team from the Yokohama Country and Athletic Club, spurring great enthusiasm for baseball in Japan. Alumni of Ichiko coach at schools throughout the country.
1903 The long-standing rivalry between Waseda and Keio universities begins.
1905 The Waseda team travels on a baseball tour to the U.S. They bring back up-to-date techniques, and this contributes greatly to the development of baseball in Japan.
1906 Games between Waseda and Keio are discontinued due to fan rowdyness.
1907 The Keio team invites the Hawaiian St. Louis, the first foreign team, to play in Japan. Admission is charged for the first time.
National High School Baseball Championship begins (Summer Tournament)
1915 The Inter-Middle School (now High School) Baseball Championship Tournament is inaugurated.
1918 Sakae Suzuka invents rubber baseballs for juveniles.
1920 Nihon Undo Kyokai, also known as the Shibaura Association, is established as Japan's first professional team. After the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923, it moves to Takarazuka, being renamed Takarazuka Kyokai (the Takarazuka Association) and then disbands in 1929.
1924 The Inter-Middle School (now High School) Invitational Baseball Championship Tournament is inaugurated.
  Koshien Stadium opens.
1925 The Tokyo Big-Six League forms, with the joining of Tokyo University and the resumption of Waseda-Keio contests.
1926 Meiji Jingu Stadium opens.
Coming of American All-Stars leads to the birth of pro baseball in Japan
1927 Inter-City Non-Pro Baseball Championship begins.
  The first live broadcasting of National Middle School Baseball Championship games at Koshien Stadium.
1929 The Emperor attends a baseball game between Waseda and Keio. The Tokyo Big- Six League flourishes.
1931 All-American All-Stars headed by Lou Gehrig come to Japan.
1932 Baseball Control Ordinance is enforced by the Ministry of Education.
1933 Chukyo Commercial Middle School wins the three successive victories in the National Middle School Baseball Championship at Koshien Stadium.
  The first night game in Japan (intersquad game by the Waseda team).
1934 An American All-Star team, headed by Babe Ruth, plays a series of games with the All-Japan team, which is then formed into the Dai Nippon Tokyo Yakyu Club (now the Yomiuri Giants).
1936 Five pro teams are organized: Nagoya, Tokyo Senators, Hankyu, Dai Tokyo, and Nagoya Kinko. The Japanese Professional Baseball League, composed of 7 teams, is inaugurated.
1937 Nishinomiya and Korakuen Stadiums are completed.
1943 Student baseball is discontinued due to the intensified WWII.
1944 Pro baseball is discontinued.
Pro baseball resumes after WWII and develops into a 2-league system
1945 All-Waseda vs All-Keio, the first baseball game after the war
(November 18 at Jingu Stadium).
Pro baseball resumes with an East-West All-Star game in Jingu Stadium on November 23.
1946 Formal resumption of student baseball, non-pro baseball and pro baseball.
1948 The first night game by pro teams is held on August 17 at Gehrig (now Yokohama) Stadium between the Yomiuri Giants and the Chunichi Dragons.
1949 The San Francisco Seals (AAA) come (the first American pro baseball team visiting Japan after the war).
1950 The two-league system, with the Central and Pacific Leagues, begins. The first Japan Series is held.
1951 Baseball's first commissioner, Seita Fukui, is sworn in.
1952 National University Baseball Championship begins.
1953 TV broadcasting of baseball games begins.
1959 Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum opens.
1962 Sakushin High School wins both the National Invitational High School Baseball Tournament (in spring) and the National High School Baseball Championship (in summer), the first in history.
1965 The draft system is adopted.
1969 Masaichi Kaneda of the Yomiuri Giants notches the 400th win.
1973 The Pacific League adopts a 2-season system (until 1982).
  The Giants win their 9th consecutive Japan Series under manager Kawakami.
1975 The Pacific League adopts the designated hitter system.
1977 Sadaharu Oh of the Giants hits his 756th homerun, passing Hank Aaron's major league record.
1983 Yutaka Fukumoto of the Hankyu Braves steals the 939th base, passing the major league mark set by Lou Brock.
1984 Japan wins the exhibition event in the Los Angeles Olympics.
1987 Sachio Kinugasa of the Hiroshima Toyo Carp appears in his 2131st consecutive game, exceeding Lou Gehrig's major league record.
1988 Tokyo Dome, Japan's first all-weather domed stadium, is completed.
Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum newly opens inside of Tokyo Dome.
Spectacular showing of Japanese players in the Major League Baseball
1992 Baseball is officially admitted into the Olympics at Barcelona and Japan wins the Bronze.
1993 Free agency is introduced.
1994 Ichiro of Orix BlueWave hits 210 hits, new record for most hits in a season.
1995 Pitcher Hideo Nomo (Los Angeles Dodgers) wins the Rookie of the Year in the National League.
1996 Japan wins the Silver in the Atlanta Olympics.
2000 The combined pro-amateur Japanese team ends in the 4th place in the Sydney Olympics.
2001 Outfielder Ichiro Suzuki (Seattle Mariners) wins the Rookie of the Year and the MVP in the American League.
  Sapporo Dome, the 6th domed stadium in Japan, opens following those in Tokyo (1988), Fukuoka (1993), Nagoya (1997), Osaka (1997) and Tokorozawa (1999).
2004 The all-professional Japan team wins the bronze in the Athens Olympics.
  Ichiro out-hits George Sisler in most hits in a season (262).
  The Association of Professional Players goes on its first strike in protest against the proposed merger of two baseball clubs of the Pacific League.
2005 Interleague play begins.
Japan wins in the first Konami Cup Asia Series.

Japan wins in the first WBC. 
Japan wins in the second Konami Cup Asia Series.

2007 Both the Central and Pacific Leagues hold 2-stage post-season Climax Series with the top three teams participating. 


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