latest japanese sports news.

Shun YAmaguchi return to yomiuri giants

On the 10th in Japan time, the Yomiuri Giants announced that they had agreed to sign a free-agent pitcher, Shun Yamaguchi, from AAA Sacramento, a Major League Baseball affiliate of the Giants. Yamaguchi will be a Giant for the first time since 2019.

Yamaguchi returned to Japan urgently on the 5th. Due to the self-quarantine period, the Giant made contact without direct contacts, such as by phone or email. It is not difficult to imagine that Yamaguchi felt indebted to the giants who happily sent him to the majors with the posting system during the off-season of 2019, and there was no obstacle to his return to his old club.

Last season, he pitched in 17 games with the Blue Jays, going 2-4 with an 8.06 ERA. He signed a minor league contract with the Giants in February where he pitched 5 games and went 0-3 with a 6.17 ERA.

Shun Yamaguchi returning home in mid-season.

San Francisco Giants affiliate 3A pitcher Shun Yamaguchi will go back to Japan in mid-season. He posted a message to fans on his Instagram on May 2 saying, “I have decided to return to Japan. I followed my dream and challenged myself to the Major League, but I will return home in the middle of the season due to lack of my strength” as he confessed his tough days in the United States for the past 2 years. “From tomorrow, I will reset my mind, look for my new team, and devote myself so that I can show up to the fans who had high hopes for me” he added.

Yamaguchi pitched in 17 games for the Blue Jays last season, going 2-4 with an ERA 8.06 record. He did not play in the majors this season and recorded ERA of 6.17 in 5 games in AAA minor. His former team Yomiuri Giants are top candidates for Yamaguchi’s return, and they are immediately entering into negotiations. He continued to have a good relationship with the Giants(JP) even after his move to the Major so there should be no obstacle to his return.

NOrichika Aoki reaches another honorable milestone in japan

Norichika Aoki recorded #2,500 hits in a match against Nippon Ham at Jingu Stadium. This was the 1726th hit of his professional baseball career in Japan, and with 774 hits in the Major League, he has a total of 2,500 hits in the United States and Japan combined. He became the 4th Japanese player in history to record this number combined with NPB and MLB after Kazuo Matsui, Hideki Matsui, and Ichiro Suzuki.

Below is the list of +2500 hits club in Japan:

  1. Ichiro Suzkuki               4367 Hits            (JP:1278, US:3089)
  2. Isao Harimoto               3085 Hits
  3. Katsuya Nomura     2901 Hits
  4. Sadaharu Oh                  2786 Hits
  5. Kazuo Matsuo            2705 Hits            (JP: 2090, US: 615)
  6. Hideki Matsui               2643 Hits            (JP: 1390, US: 1253)
  7. Hiromitsu Kadota        2566 Hits
  8. Sachio Kinugasa           2543 Hits
  9. Yutaka Fukumoto        2543 Hits
  10. Tomoaki Kanemoto     2539 Hits
  11. Norichika Aoki              2500 Hits            (JP: 1726, US: 774)

Historical day for Women in J-league

Referee Yoshimi Yamashita made history on the 16th as she became the first female referee in the history of the J-League Soccer. After the historic debut match, Referee Yamashita stroked her chest saying, “The feeling of relief is the best.” In the 29th year of the J-League, a female referee ruled the match for the first time. With the confidence of her seniors and colleagues, she made her debut, which, according to the Japan Association, was said by both clubs to be “a stress-free referee and they were able to watch it with peace of mind.” She reaffirmed her role by adding “It should be my goal to have female referees in charge of male matches”

Tsutsugo heading back to Japan?

The Rays announced Tuesday that they’ve designated struggling first baseman/outfielder Yoshitomo Tsutsugo for assignment. Kazuaki Mihara, a representative Yoshitomo’s former team Yokohama Dena Baystars, released a comment on the 12th. “I don’t know what kind of decision Tsutsugo will make, so I can’t say conclusive things, but when I sent him out, I told him, “I want him to come back to Baystars when it comes to playing in Japan,” and that feeling has not changed even now. If Tsutsugo chooses to play in the Japanese baseball world, I would like to communicate firmly.” Yoshitomo is recording only .167 with no HR through his 87 plate appearances this season.

Racism in Japan

Allen Hachimura, the younger brother of Rui Hachimura who plays for the Washington Wizards released a racist message sent to his social media. Allen, who plays for the Pro Basketball league in Japan this season shared a racist Twitter message he received that noted “Die, Krombo(Racial slur against Black people) who was born by mistake. You and your brother are just Krombo who is just good at basketball”. To this message, Allen commented on Twitter “There are people who say there is no racism in Japan but there are people who make racist remarks like this. I think it is not a problem to expose it, but I wanted everyone to be interested in the issue of racism once again.” Rui responded on Twitter that “I receive this kind of message every day”. The Hachimura brothers, from Toyama Prefecture, have a father from Benin, Africa, and a Japanese mother.

Keisuke Honda scored his first goal in Azerbaijan.

In the away game against Keshura, Keisuke Honda started in his usual aggressive position. 1 month after his debut, in the 5th game of the league, he scored his first goal in Azerbaijan. He now has become a pro in Japan and scored in the top leagues of 8 countries including the Netherlands, Russia, Italy, Mexico, Australia, Brazil, and Azerbaijan. To score in the official game was since last year October in Botafogo of Brazil national championship against the Ceara.

King Kazu continues to break his record as the oldest player in the league

Yokohama FC’s Striker Kazuyoshi Miura also known as “Kingu Kazu”, who started on the bench got called on the field at the 45th-minute mark of the second half. Kazu was part of the team’s 4 consecutive games at the J-League’s Luvian Cup this season but has not played until this day. He did not score, but at 54 years and 2 months and 2 days old, he broke his record as the oldest player in the cup. Kazu began his career in Brazil and was arguably Japan’s first superstar in football when the Japanese professional League J-League was launched in 1993.

No fans in the stands again?

Professional baseball, Soccer, and other sports events may go on without fans in the stand again. On 22nd a draft of concrete measures to accompany the government’s declaration of an emergency was announced. The government will hold a meeting on 23rd, and decide on a reoccurrence order in Tokyo, Osaka, Hyogo, and Kyoto Prefecture to declare an emergency for the new coronavirus infection. The sports events are expected to have no audience from 4/25 to 5/11. Japan just recorded the highest daily covid cases in the city of Osaka.  

Hanshin Tigers off to a great start with promising rookie

Hanshin Tigers, who finished 2nd place in the league last season behind Yomiuri giants just beat the Giants on 4/20 with a score of 10-5. Tigers are leading the Central League 4 games over the 2nd place Giants. On other hand, Tiger’s first-round draft pick Teruaki Sato is off to a great rookie season recording 5HR in 20 games. Japanese legendary Star Hideki Matsui even praises this young star saying “It’s like Masayuki Kakefu(aka Osaka God) is coming back. That’s how I see it” he said, comparing Terukai to a 3-time Home run king who he admired growing up. Ex Mets and Tigers player Tsuyoshi Shinjo also commented that Teruaki’s bat movement is spectacular and he should soon be in a clean-up position.