High School Baseball in Japan - Jargon For Lack of Regional Champions - Shirakawa Barrier and The Tsugaru Strait

Shirakawa Barrier and The Tsugaru Strait

This term is based on the barrier built in Shirakawa, Fukushima. No team north of the northern Kantō region had ever won a tournament at Kōshien. This fact became known in the high school baseball world as the "Shirakawa Barrier". At the 2004 Summer Kōshien, Komazawa University Tomakomai High (southern Hokkaidō) took the title, and in one bound leaped over not only the Shirakawa Barrier but also the Tsugaru Strait separating Hokkaido from Honshū. On the plane carrying the team and championship flag back home, at the moment the plane crossed the Tsugaru Strait, the passengers joined in unison for a celebration cheer.

In 2005, Komazawa University Tomakomai High won a second straight Summer Kōshien title, becoming the first to do so since Kokura Secondary (Fukuoka) in 1947–48. This title was tainted after the tournament, however, by reports of repeated incidents of physical punishment of one of the players, once during the tournament, by the baseball club advisor (a 27-year-old school faculty member). Besides a reprimand for withholding the report until after the tournament, the High School Baseball Federation did not punish Komazawa Tomakomai. However, the report drew widespread attention to the issue of physical punishment in youth sports in Japan. It is believed that such physical punishment probably goes heavily underreported, due to cultural tendencies.

Hokkaidō and Tōhoku region teams in the championship game (through 2012)
Year Tournament School Result Opponent
1915 1st Summer Akita Secondary (Akita) runner-up 1–2 Kyōto Ni Secondary (Kyōto)
1963 35th Spring Hokkai (Hokkaidō) runner-up 0–10 Shimonoseki Commercial (Yamaguchi)
1969 51st Summer Misawa (Aomori) runner-up 2–4 Matsuyama Commercial (Ehime)
1971 53rd Summer Iwaki (Fukushima) runner-up 0–1 Tōin Gakuen (Kanagawa)
1989 71st Summer Sendai Ikuei (Miyagi) runner-up 0–2 Teikyō (E Tōkyō)
2001 73rd Spring Sendai Ikuei (Miyagi) runner-up 6–7 Jōsō Gakuin (Ibaraki)
2003 85th Summer Tōhoku (Miyagi) runner-up 2–4 Jōsō Gakuin (Ibaraki)
2004 86th Summer Komadai Tomakomai (S Hokkaidō) champion 13–10 Saibi (Ehime)
2005 87th Summer Komadai Tomakomai (S Hokkaidō) champion 5–3 Kyōto Gaidai Nishi (Kyōto)
2006 88th Summer Komadai Tomakomai (S Hokkaidō) runner-up 3–4 Waseda Jitsugyo(W Tōkyō)
2009 81st Spring Hanamaki Highashi (Iwate) runner-up 0–1 Seihō (Nagasaki)
2011 93rd Summer Kōsei Gakuin (Aomori) runner-up 0–11 Nichidai-san (W Tōkyō)
2012 83rd Spring Kōsei Gakuin (Aomori) runner-up 3-7 Osaka Tōin (Osaka)

As mentioned above, Komawaza University Tomakomai (aka Komadai Tomakomai) won the 2004 Summer Koshien, becoming the northern-most school to win since Sakushin Gakuin (Tochigi). However, the route traveled by the championship flag from Koshien to Hokkaidō did not actually pass through the Shirakawa Barrier by land, so many fans (especially in the Tōhoku region) believe that the barrier has technically not yet been broken.

Read more about this topic:  High School Baseball In Japan, Jargon For Lack of Regional Champions

Famous quotes containing the words strait and/or barrier:

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