Japan national baseball team

Japan national baseball team
Country  Japan
Federation Baseball Federation of Japan
Confederation Baseball Federation of Asia
Manager Hiroki Kokubo
WBSC World Rank 1st

2009 World Baseball Classic
World Baseball Classic
Appearances 3 (First in 2006)
Best result 1st (2 times, most recent in 2009)
Olympic Games
Appearances 5 (First in 1992)
Best result 2nd (1 time, in 1996)
World Cup
Appearances 15 (First in 1972)
Best result 2nd (1 time, in 1982)
Intercontinental Cup
Appearances 15 (First in 1973)
Best result 1st (2 times, most recent in 1997)
Asian Games
Appearances 4 (First in 1994)
Best result 1st (1 time, in 1994)
Asian Championship
Appearances 25 (First in 1954)
Best result 1st (16 times, most recent in 2009)

The Japan national baseball team is the national team representing Japan in international baseball competitions. They have won the World Baseball Classic in 2006 and 2009. The team is currently ranked #1 in the world by the International Baseball Federation.[1] The team has been nicknamed "Samurai Japan" (侍ジャパン).[2]

The team participated in every Summer Olympic Games since the first demonstration tournament in 1984 through when it was discontinued following the 2008 Beijing Games. Until 2000, the team was made up exclusively of amateur players. Since the 2000 Summer Olympics, the team has been composed of players from Nippon Professional Baseball. The team playing in the 2006 World Baseball Classic included Japanese players from Major League Baseball as well. In the Classic, the team played in Pool A and placed second, advancing to round two. They went on to win the Classic. They played at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, as they had qualified through the Asian Baseball Championship in 2007. Unlike the WBC roster, the Olympic team was exclusively formed by NPB players (but included one amateur player, who was drafted during the tournament's progress).

Like other national teams in Japan, the nickname is usually prefixed with the surname of the manager. However, in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, the team used Samurai, a symbol of Japan's history, instead of Hara, the surname of their manager. In 2012, it was adopted officially.

Regional competition

Asian Baseball Championship

Japan have dominated the Asian Baseball Championship since its inception, and have competed in every year. Japan have never missed out on placing in the top 3 in any tournament, and is the only team to have achieved this feat. Japan also holds the record for most consecutive Asian Championships, having won four times in a row on two separate occasions, including the four most recent tournaments to be held.

Asian Games

In all four Asian Games to include baseball, Japan have placed in the top 3 in every tournament, though they have only won the tournament once in the first event held in Hiroshima in 1994.

International competition

World Baseball Classic Championship Trophy

World Baseball Classic


Japan won the inaugural 2006 World Baseball Classic, defeating Cuba in the Final.


Japan also won the 2009 World Baseball Classic, hosting the Pool A games in the Tokyo Dome. Japan started the tournament opener with a 4–0 win over China. Japan then secured advancement into the second round with a 14–2 win in seven innings over rival South Korea. The game was shortened due to the WBC's mercy rule. Japan then played South Korea again to determine seeding for the second round. In the rematch, the Koreans shut out Japan 1–0, making Japan advance as the Pool A runner-up. In Pool 1 of the WBC quarter-finals, Japan defeated Cuba 6–0, but lost to Korea again 4–1. In the elimination match that followed, Japan secured a spot in the semi-finals with a 5–0 win over Cuba. Japan defeated South Korea in the Finals 5–3 partly because of an Ichiro Suzuki base hit in the 10th inning.

2013: The end of the championship streak

Japan, the two-time world defending champions, enters the 2013 World Baseball Classic, hosting Pool A games in the Fukuoka Dome, facing off against Cuba, China and newcomers Brazil. Despite their first loss against the Cuban team, they have secured their position for the second round in 2013 World Baseball Classic – Pool 1 to face off the Netherlands and Chinese Taipei. The Japanese team narrowly wins against Chinese Taipei 4-3 before proceeding to face off the Dutch team, winning against them twice before proceeding to the semi-final round, along with the Netherlands, as they face off against Puerto Rico. Despite Japan's efforts, they eventually lose 3-1 against the Puerto Rican team right after Alex Ríos scored two additional runs from a home run. Japan finishes third in the 2013 WBC, as their two-time championship streak has ended. The Japanese team bowed out to both the crowd and the Puerto Rican team as a gesture of respect.

2013 WBC roster

Japan National Baseball Team roster
Players Coaches





MLB Japan All-Star Series

Since 1986 an All-Star team from Major League Baseball (MLB) is sent to a biennial end-of-the-season tour of Japan, dubbed as MLB Japan All-Star Series, playing exhibition games in a best-of format against the All-Stars from NPB or recently as of 2014 the Samurai Japan.

2014 Series Roster

Olympic Games

Baseball World Cup

Main article: Baseball World Cup

Intercontinental Cup

International Tournament Results

World Baseball Classic

World Baseball Classic
Tournament Results
Japan / United States 2006 1st
Japan / United States 2009 1st
Japan / United States 2013 3rd
Medal Tally
2006, 2009
World Baseball Classic record Qualification record
Year Host(s) Round Position W L RS RA Host W L RS RA
2006 Japan/United States Final 1st 5 3 60 21 No qualifiers held
2009 Japan/United States Final 1st 7 2 50 16 No qualifiers held
2013 Japan/United States Semifinal 3rd 5 2 44 27 Automatically qualified
2017 Automatically qualified
Total 4/4 17 7 154 64 - - - -

Olympic Games

Summer Olympics record Qualification
Year Host Round Position W L RS RA
1964 Japan Exhibition only 0 1 2 6
1984 United States Finals 1st [lower-alpha 1] 4 1 33 11
1988 South Korea Finals 2nd [lower-alpha 1] 4 1 27 17
1992 Spain Finals 3rd 6 3 70 22
1996 United States Finals 2nd 5 4 77 59
2000 Australia Finals 4th 4 5 42 29 1999 Asian Baseball Championship
2004 Greece Finals 3rd 7 2 60 23 2003 Asian Baseball Championship
2008 People's Republic of China Finals 4th 4 5 36 28 2007 Asian Baseball Championship
Total [lower-alpha 2] 5/5 26 19 285 161
  1. 1 2 No medals awarded; tournament was a demonstration sport only
  2. Totals only include years 1992 to 2008, during which baseball was an official medal sport.

Baseball World Cup


Intercontinental Cup


Asian Baseball Championship


See also


  1. International Baseball Federation. "World Rankings". IBAF. Retrieved 2013-12-21.
  2. "Samurai Japan sets roster for 2013 World Baseball Classic".
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Japan national baseball team.
Preceded by
Asashōryū Akinori
Japan Professional Sports Grand Prize Winner
Succeeded by
Urawa Red Diamonds
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