Japan, believe it or not, adores baseball. When you think of Japanese sports, you're probably going to think of martial arts or Sumo wrestling. However, against all odds, the average Japanese sports fan enjoys watching bat and ball action more than any other. But why is this?
The fact is, Japanese baseball has been building in popularity for decades. Sources suggest that thanks to the introduction of the sport into schools and colleges, Japanese men and women are growing up chasing bases all over the country.
It's thanks to the influence of the West on Japanese universities that baseball has become such a national pastime. It's never a surprise to see major Japanese league matches taking up prime-time slots on national TV. What's more, with natural players getting started from an early age, the country has also exported plenty of home-grown talent into the American leagues.
There is a distinct difference between university baseball and league baseball in Japan; however, moving from one into the next makes common sense. Both types of the game have fervent followings in the country. For example, university baseball fans will flock in droves to see the Summer Koshien, where teams of players from regional schools will take to the diamond to play one another.
The way that baseball is played and supported in Japan differs from the US, too. Japan is, of course, famous for its intense work ethic – which means that their baseball players can often work harder to train throughout the year. Arguably, this may have helped many Japanese players pick up interest overseas.
Betting on Japanese Baseball
With sports, of course, follows betting. The online sportsbook boom wasn't just a big deal in the UK. Japanese casinos and bookmakers offer wide markets and odds on national games as well as those played in the US.
One quick search for Japanese baseball betting will show you how widespread the markets are. That's not just as a result of interest from inside Japan, either. Japan's baseball scene has grown to such an extent that even US sports fans are placing bets on the Eastern leagues. It's fascinating to see how far things have travelled the other way!
Sadly, physical bookmakers face restrictions in terms of what they can offer betters. That means that most Japanese sports fans can only place money on horse racing and motorboat racing. Therefore, more and more citizens choose online Japanese bookmakers, where rules are looser.
There are plenty of online Japanese betting brands which will let you place bets on national baseball leagues. Therefore, many sports enthusiasts are moving away from the high street to sportsbooks on their phones and tablets.
The Future of Baseball in Japan
Baseball has a bright future in Japan. It is now deeply rooted in the culture, despite being an import from the US! It's therefore likely that more betting markets will open up online, too.
It's also worth keeping an eye on players from Japan who make it to the international stage. Who's to say – Japan could breed the best baseball stars the world has ever seen.