Professional, Women’s and University Baseball Jointly Steer Kids to Ball and Bat Game
High school baseball club membership sees record fall in Japan
70 children between 5 and 9 years were introduced to baseball on Sunday, July 1 at the home stadium of the University of Tokyo (UOT). Players of UOT and co-host Meiji University, NPB’s coaches from Tokyo Yomiuri Giants and Tokyo Yakult Swallows as well as, for the first time, women’s baseball players participated in the 2nd coaching clinic after 12 months. Similar coaching events for small children are planned in November by a number of university ball clubs throughout Japan.
The Japan High School Baseball Federation (JHBF) announced on July 3rd that the number of high school baseball club students in Japan stood at 143,867 as of the end of May, marking a fall of 9,317 from the previous academic year (April, 2018 – March, 2019). It was the largest yearly drop since the Federation started collecting statistics in 1982. The number of players in their first year of high school fell to 48,036, second year to 47,027, and 3rd to 48,804, all sunk below 50,000. The number of JHBF school membership fell by 14, to 3,957, a sharp decline from the peak of 4,253 in 2005. The drop in the number of baseball players is estimated to be similar among elementary and junior high school students. TAKENAKA Masahiko, Secretary-General of the Federation, said, "The decrease shocked us as it outweighs declining birth rate and eclipse by other sports. We want coaches and supervisors to patiently work with players to curb the decline."