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latest japanese sports news.

MVP Munetaka Murakami

Yakult infielder Munetaka Murakami (21) inscribed his name in the history of baseball. He won the league’s MVP where at the age of 21, he became the youngest player ever to do in the Pacific league

Murakami became the youngest player in the history of the 100th series this season.  He batted .278, 39 homers and 112 RBIs, and became homerun leader of the season for the first time. He led the team to win the league for the first time in 6 years and Japan for the first time in 20 years. On the 14th, he also won his 2nd (first as a third baseman) best nine.

MOnster of Heisei era officially retires

Daisuke Matsuzaka, aka “The monster of Heisei era” stepped on the mound for the last time in his professional career. His last at mound ended only with 5 balls (1 strike and 4 balls) in the first inning. In 1999, he joined Seibu as a professional player, and after MLB, he ended his career with SoftBank, Chunichi, and the return to Seibu again for the 23rd season. He talked about the reason for his decision to retire, his gratitude to his family, and his thoughts on the Matsuzaka generation without regret during the retirement press conference after the game. There was also a scene to shed tears.

When Matsuzaka was asked what the number one reason for retirement was, he answered as below:

“Numbness in the right hand. In early spring last year, the numbness on the right side was very strong, and I managed to throw it in the middle of it. During the Corona pandemic, there was an emergency declaration, and the symptoms worsened while training and treatment were no longer intact. I didn’t want to have surgery, but I decided to have surgery because I couldn’t sleep because of neck pain and numbness every day. I spent a lot of time in rehabilitation, but my symptoms did not improve.”

During his career in NPB, he had the most win of the seasons 3 times, the best ERA of the season twice, and most strikeouts of the season 4 times. He was also named MVP of WBC twice.

MUNETAKA MURAKAMI becomes the youngest player to REACH 100TH HR

On Sept 19th, Munetaka Murakami of Tokyo Yakult Swallows, hit his 35th solo home run of the season against Hiroshima at Jingu Baseball Stadium, reaching 100th in total.

Murakami was born on February 2nd, 2000. The 21 and 7-month-old became the youngest player to reach 100th HR in total surpassing Kiyohara Kazuhiro (Seibu), who reached 100th HR at 21 and 9-month-old back in 1989.

The 379 games required to reach 100 HR were the 2nd fastest ever among High School grad players behind  351 games by Koji Akiyama (Seibu).

Top 10 youngest players to reach 100th HR

Name                                               Age                                    # of games

Munetaka Murakami                    21 and 7 months             379

Kazuhiro Kiyohara                         21 and 9 months             423

Futoshi Nakanishi                          22 and 3 months             438

Hideki Matsui                                 22 and 10 months           468

Isao Harimoto                                23                                       565

Sadaharu Oh                                  23 and 2 months             563

Yasumitsu Toyoda                         23 and 4 months             712

Masahiro Doi                                 23 and 5 months             722

Masayuki Kakefu                           23 and 11 months           553

Tetsuto Yamada                             23 and 11 months           492

Nippon Ham address Sho Nakata’s trade for the first time.

On the 31st, Nippon Ham Fighter’s team president Koji Kawamura noted on the official website: “I am deeply sorry for the disappointment that I have caused to everyone, and I am deeply sorry for the disappointment that I have caused to everyone.”

On August 4th, Sho Nakata physically assaulted his teammate before the game. As a result, the team gave him suspensions to games at all levels on the 11th without the number of suspensions being cleared. On the 20th, it was announced that Sho got traded to the Yomiuri Giants and had a press conference at Giants stadium. During the trade, there wasn’t any news or comments coming from the Fighters’ side.

The team explained, “Following general practice at the time of the trade, we refrained from meeting before the transfer.” On the other hand, given that the suspension was lifted due to the transfer, he admitted that “We should have provided an opportunity to apologize and explain to everyone before letting go Sho Nakata”.

Yoshitomo Tsutsugo heading to Pirates.

Tsutsugo was released from the Rays back was designated for assignment in May when the Dodgers picked him up. Since then, he experienced minor injury and spent most of July and August in Oklahoma City for AAA. In the 43 games he played for OKC, Tsutsugo recorded 10HR, .257BA, and .868OPS. However, the Dodgers have their problem filling out the positions in the outfield as they are extremely deep in rosters. On August 14th, Dodgers released Tsutsugo and the Pirates have signed him to most likely a minor deal although detail is not confirmed yet. Pirates are dead last in NL Central and may have a chance to work his way up to securing in Major league role again.

Japan comes up big in Olympics. 3rd in Gold, 5th overall.

2 weeks of the Tokyo Olympics ended yesterday, and Japan came up big. The most medals Japan had obtained 41 in Rio Olympics this time they have earned 58 medals including 27 gold. New sports such as surfing, skateboarding, BMX, Karate helped Japan rack up more medals this time as well.

It was Judo in which the competition was held in the first week of the Olympics that helped Japan placed at top of the ranking early. Japan obtained record-breaking 9 golds and ended with 12 medals overall which tied Rio’s medal counts that included 8 bronzes medals. At the 2012 London Games, the men lost without any gold medals, so they made sure they got the revenge in Tokyo.

In the second week of the Olympics, wrestling also mass-produced medals for Japan. Japan tied for most gold and they ended with 7 medals overall. Japan recorded the most medals ever for table tennis and Boxing and there was a historic gold medal obtained in both sports.

New competitions and competitions that returned after a long time also contributed to the mass production of medals. The skateboard recorded 5 medals including 3 gold. Karate, surfing, and sports climbing also won several medals. Baseball and softball obtained gold, as the public expected.

On the other hand, some competitions were not able to perform as well as expected. In men’s Swimming, the number of medals, including 2 gold medals in Rio, decreased from 7 to 3. There was an expectation for badminton to get medals in all 5 events ended up with 1 bronze.

Rui hachimura joins team japan

Rui Hachimura(Washington Wizards), who made a triumphant return to Japan as an NBA player, captivated the fans with strong plays. He played for Japan for the first time in 680 days and played for about 19 minutes, with 24 points and 6 rebounds for both teams which was a game high. Japan, ranked 42nd in the world outscored Belgium, ranked 37th by 87-59. At the opening ceremony, Rui will represent Japan and hold the flag during the entrance.

NAoya Inoue’s plan on becoming the undisputed champion

Naoya Inoue is the WBA and IBF Bantamweight champion of the world. After Knocking out  Michael Dasmariñas in the 3rd round in Las Vegas on the 19th, his next opponent was supposed to be the winner of the unification bout between WBC Champion Nonito Donaire and WBC Champion John Riel Casimero. However, Casimero camp did not agree to the doping test requested by Donaire camp and decide to call off the fight which would have been historic for Philippine boxing. Naoya tweeted “Let’s go get the belt one by one” after the fight was canceled. But he did not pay respect to Casimero camp after finding out about denial of doping test tweeting “Evading Doping test, Casimero is not qualified to hit big mouth again…”.

Yakult Swallows now in 2nd place with the help from Murakami’s 2-Run HR

Yakult infielder Munetaka Murakami blasted 2 run homerun and his 22nd HR of the season. He is now leading the leading in HR by 3 ahead of Teruaki Sato of Tigers and Kazuma Okamoto of Giants.

In the game against Hiroshima on 23rd, the ball he tipped off hit his right knee during the 4th inning. He was immediately moved to the bench. Fortunately, when he was examined at a hospital in Hiroshima City on the same day, the diagnosis showed no bone abnormalities. Although it showed a painful bruise on his knee, he showed his toughness and was on the mound practicing by the next day.

The team has been excellent in the past 9 games with 8 wins and 1 loss. With the 3rd 4-game win streak of the season, They are now only 5 games behind the Tigers and now at the #2 spot alone. “When we’re in the momentum, we want to get as many W’s as possible”. From the 25th, Yakult will play against Giants and Tigers and Munetaka will be the key person to keep the winning streak going.

Tokyo Olympic banning on Alcohol sales?

The Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Organising Committee announced on 22 March that it had decided to forgo alcohol sales in competition venues.

At first, they were considering limiting sales time until 7 p.m., but after a storm of criticism from the public, the tournament officials said, “It will not be as it is. We have to settle it by tomorrow (23rd), ” he said, referring to the cancellation of the sale.

At the Tokyo Games, Asahi Beer, the sponsor of the tournament, was allowed to sell alcohol exclusively in the venue, but the plan was abandoned from the viewpoint of the new corona measures, such as the request to go directly home and the concern that the ban on loud voices could not be observed due to the drinking permission.

On this day, the Organizing Committee said, “We are considering the sale and provision of alcoholic beverages given the realization of loud deterrence and safe induction and the current general rules. We will not decide on a sales policy based on the intention of the sponsor.”