How Baseball Became Japan’s Most Popular Sport


Baseball is a game of skill and fast-paced action that many people would struggle with just hitting the ball. Baseball is very popular in a few countries such as the US, but more popular in Japan. The Japanese love baseball and this is why it’s Japan’s most loved sport. Not only that, but it’s one of the only sports that has an active popularity in both playing and viewing professionally. Let’s take a look at how baseball became Japan’s most popular sport.

Why did baseball become so popular?

Baseball didn’t just become popular from a trend like some other sports that the Japanese have come to love. Baseball in Japan started off its popularity spike during the post-World War 2 period where many people, especially in America boasted about the sport of which many Japanese corporations backed and sponsored teams.


The Japanese were still recovering to some extent from the war, however when people came together to help rebuild and recover from the war – they also came together and helped each other play a sport of interest, which at that time was baseball. 

Back then, a lot of the population were quite young and baseball was a hit with the younger generation. This popularity has held on quite well, and if anything, baseball is now more popular than ever in Japan, with some major players from the NPB (Nippon Professional Baseball League) heading off to the MLB in America, arguably one of the biggest baseball leagues out there. 

Japan is definitely on the map for some of the best baseball players in the world, and definitely has a good say on the baseball hall of fame. With this being said, the popularity came from the game itself, with it being a good spectator game and a fun, exciting and action packed game to play too – there is no wonder why the people of Japan love it so much still to this day. 

Why do the Japanese love Baseball so much?

The Japanese love hard work, and are the epitome of hard-working people. Baseball is quite a physically demanding sport as it requires a lot of strength to be exerted into a small ball, and a lot of running around the pitch. There are a few aspects specifically on why the Japanese love baseball, and it should come as no surprise.

  • A Team Game
    • The Japanese love games that need someone else’s help or a “team spirit”. Baseball needs a good team as you can’t just be a one-trick pony when it comes to baseball. The Japanese associate strongly with this, and feel that if they can prosper and help their team do so too, it will be a great feeling when they win the game.
  • Action-Packed Games
    • It’s no secret that the Japanese have a love for live entertainment. Regardless of if you’re playing at a basic, or professional level – or even just watching baseball, you’re bound to get some action. This is something that really helped baseball to prosper and turn into the sport that we all know and love today. 
  • Friendly Rivalry
    • In other countries, you may get people discussing who won the football match at the weekend, but in Japan you’re more likely to hear people talking about who won the baseball tournament. Baseball is one of those games where no matter who you are, you support a team and that team is likely hated on by another team – so some friendly comradery occurs in the workplace or even within your own family. It’s a way of life in Japan. 

A Sport you can Gamble On

Although gambling in casinos in Japan is often illegal unless stated otherwise (like with Pachinko for example), baseball can actually be gambled on because of the matches. In most cases, a baseball stadium will have a small area where you can go and place your bets, and if they pay out you can go back and they will pay you the amount you won.

The Japanese love these small gambling aspects of the sport, and because of that it also raised its popularity to make it just that little bit more exciting. Gambling on a baseball match gives you another level of involvement with a game as you are investing your money into a game depending on its outcome. 

To Wrap Up

Japan’s love for baseball is probably quite extraordinary when compared to other sports in other countries, but it’s clear to see why so many people love the game and want to enjoy it either from a spectator’s point of view, or as a player. With the country’s aging population, we’re sure that the youngsters of Japan will also continue to carry on the trend of baseball and keep it ever more popular in the future. 


  1. Anonymous says

    I’m pretty sure gambling on baseball is illegal in Japan, and there’s definitely no “small area where you can go and place your bets” in stadiums. I say this as someone who has lived in Japan for almost my whole life and goes to watch games in person about 5-10 times every year. This has to be some sort of mistake.

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