Baseball, association football, golf, tennis, and sumo wrestling are the most popular professional sports in Japan. Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball have been very successful in Japan, with MLB teams playing in both Tokyo and Yokohama since 2001 and 2003 respectively. Soccer is also widely supported in Japan, with the J. League becoming a major force on the international stage.
Japan has won the World Cup once in 2002. The Samurai Blue achieved this first ever win by defeating South Korea 4-2 after being level with Sweden 0-0 after 90 minutes of play. Japan were then defeated by Germany in the quarter finals but managed to defeat Colombia 2-1 in the next round to finish as champions. Sumo wrestling is another popular sport in Japan with many tournaments held every year. There is even a world championship for each of the four styles of sumo. In January 2017, Ryota Ishii became the new yokozuna (the highest rank) after defeating three other wrestlers in a tournament to become champion. He is the first wrestler from his school (Ryogoku Kokugikan) to achieve this achievement.
As for other sports, basketball is growing in popularity in Japan, with the NBA helping to promote itself through partnerships with Japanese companies such as Nissan and Dentsu.
Baseball, the classic American pastime, is also Japan's most popular professional sport. The country has a high level of play, having won two of the four World Baseball Classic titles, and has some real talent that Major League Baseball can't get enough of. In fact, during the 2012 season 30 Japanese players were on major league rosters.
Japan's success on the world stage has brought attention from many major league scouts. There are several highly touted Japanese players who have been moving up through the minor leagues over the last few years, including the San Diego Padres' Yu Darvish and the Chicago Cubs' Masahiro Tanaka. Both pitchers have been named to the All-Star Game this year.
Though neither one has ever played in the major leagues, they are only the latest in a long line of talented Japanese athletes to be sought after by major league teams. These days you can find people playing basketball, soccer, and football in Tokyo alone. Baseball, being the oldest of the sports mentioned, is by far the most popular in Japan.
The first recorded game of baseball was played in 1868 between Columbia University and New York Polytechnic Institute. Today, baseball is America's number one sport after football. In Japan, soccer is the most popular sport followed by baseball and judo.
In Japan, several different sports are practiced. Traditional martial arts such as judo and kendo are popular, as are foreign sports like as baseball and soccer (football). In the summer, many Japanese people enjoy surfing or scuba diving, while skiing and snowboarding are popular winter activities.
Japan is a nation of otaku (people who are obsessed with anime and manga), so it isn't surprising that gaming is also very popular here. Console games like Mario, Zelda, and Final Fantasy are international hits, and mobile phone games are increasingly popular too. In fact, in 2012, mobile phone games were found to be more profitable than movies!
Japanese people love food, so it isn't surprising that restaurants and cafes are major employers in this field. Also, due to the popularity of sumo wrestling, sport hunting is another occupation for Japanese men. In fact, hunters are one of the few remaining groups of male-only occupations in Japan.
Many businesses in Japan have two separate time zones: standard time and daylight saving time. This is because sunlight doesn't affect plant growth in temples, gardens, and funeral parlors, so they keep normal business hours even during winter months.
Finally, Japan has a unique system where older people can retire before they reach 65 years old.
Baseball is Japan's most popular team sport, with high school, university, and professional games drawing large crowds and dominating the media during the spring and summer months. The Tokyo Yomiuri Giants of Nippon Professional Baseball are by far the most successful club in terms of winning championships and appearing in the World Series.
Japan has won the World Baseball Classic twice (2009, 2013). The national team has also made it to the final round of qualification for the Olympics on three occasions (1996, 2000, 2012), but has never succeeded in making an appearance at the Games.
The Japanese league is known as the mélange des champions (mixing champion) because of the many former major leaguers who play in its stadiums. There are several factors that have helped make baseball popular in Japan: its simplicity (two bases per side, six players per team), its emphasis on batting and defense, and the fact that there is only one ball used in the game.
Japanese players are very skilled at hitting balls thrown by fielders standing up in the box. This is due to the short distance that needs to be covered when batting against a pitcher wearing a mask. As well, they are good at guessing how a pitch will move based on how the wind is blowing before they step into their swings.
Baseball is Japan's indisputable top sport, and it is jokingly referred to as the country's national sport (ironically, Japan actually has no officially recognized national sport—not even sumo or kendo). Baseball was originally imported from the United States and Canada and has become popular all over Japan.
The Japanese baseball league system is divided into two major leagues: the Central League and the Pacific League. The two divisions are made up of several teams who compete against each other throughout the season for the title of champion. In addition to these two major leagues, there are many other smaller leagues such as the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters club in northern Japan which only participates in the Pacific League.
The three main cities in Japan where you can find a professional baseball team are Tokyo, Yokohama, and Nagoya. The most famous player in Japanese baseball history is Sadaharu Oh, known as "Ohtawara (Big Sun) Sadaharu", who played for the Tokyo Giants from 1967 to 1991. He holds many records including being the home run king with 755 blasts to his name and having one of the best batting averages in baseball history at.542!