National High School Baseball Tournament Kicks Off with 19th Century Rules Exhibition Game

Japanese Meiji Baseball
An umpire wearing a hakama runs alongside a player during a 19th century rules baseball game. Photo courtesy of Toyanaka City.

National High School Baseball Tournament Kicks Off with 19th Century Rules Exhibition Game
Yomiuri Shimbun: 正岡子規の時代そのまま…「の・ボール野球」
August 7, 2011

The summer National High School Baseball Tournament opened on the 6th in its birthplace, Toyanaka, Osaka, with an exhibition game played by the rules in force when Meiji Era poet Masaoka Shiki wrote about “no-bōru” (“field ball”, now written using the same Chinese characters (野球) but pronounced yakyū) in his hometown in Matsuyama, Ehime.

Matsuyama is trying to revive the style of baseball christened by Mr. Shiki, who was inspired to name the game no-bōru because his childhood nickname was Noboru, and it offered to play this game in honor of the 75th anniversary of Toyonaka’s establishment as a city. The players, who were citizens of the two cities, wore tabi on their feet, and the umpires wore period haori hakama. The rules differed from the size of the strike zone to the conditions for a base hit, and Matsuyama won 3-0.

Mr. Kunihiro Shinkai (age 67) enjoyed the experience: “It was an honor to play on the first field. It was fun to play with people from another region who have the same great passion for the game.” Mr. Masanori Nasu (55) said, “There wasn’t as much pressure as there would have been in Koshien Stadium, but the pastoral feel of the grounds was enjoyable in itself. I felt like I understood the love that Shiki felt for the game.”


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(2011年8月7日09時19分 読売新聞)

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