Waseda-Keio Baseball Game – A 110 year old tradition

Waseda-Keio Baseball Game – A 110 year old tradition

Thu, May 21, 2015
Waseda-Keio Baseball Game – A 110 year old tradition

Waseda-Keio Baseball Game
A historical tradition continuing on May 30-31

The 2015 Big 6 Tokyo Baseball League spring competition began on April 11 (Saturday). Competition is as fierce as ever and many are making their way to Jingu Stadium to be a part of this over 110 year old competition.

History of Waseda-Keio Baseball Game

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Athletes of the first Waseda-Keio Baseball Game

The Waseda-Keio Baseball Game, a competition between Waseda University and Keio University has contributed to the overall rise of baseball in Japan, including the formation of local amateur leagues and the development of professional baseball.

The first challenge

On November 5, 1903, the Keio University baseball club received a defiant letter from the Waseda University baseball club.

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Frenzied, Showa-era spectators cheering

Sixteen days later, on a clear day on November 21 at 1:30pm, the first Waseda-Keio Baseball Game commenced on Keio University grounds in Mitatsuna-machi, with Keio University outscoring Waseda University 11 points to 9. This marked the beginning of the long-standing rivalry and competition known as the Waseda-Keio Baseball Game.

In 1905 the Waseda University baseball team traveled to the US, the homeland of baseball, where they learned the latest techniques. After returning to Japan, they held regular matches with Keio University. Students would flood the stands to see the two rivals duke it out and the rivalry grew more intense every year.

In autumn of 1906, after two games, spectators grew out of control and President Kamata of Keio University met with Shigenobu Okuma and General Manager Abe to suspend the Waseda-Keio Baseball Game in order to avoid any unfortunate incidents from occurring among the enthusiastic spectators.

Waseda University did however hold matches with Meiji University, Hosei University, and Rikkyo University. Many from Waseda University proposed reviving the Waseda-Keio Baseball Game, but both universities were officially opposed to any form of competition and no games were held for 19 years.

A national model for baseball

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The first Waseda baseball team manager, Abe

After the Big 6 Tokyo Baseball League was formed in autumn of 1925, the Waseda-Keio Baseball Game was brought back as a stand-alone competition and would be held as part of the Big 6 Tokyo Baseball League spring competition. The first, historic Waseda-Keio Baseball Game held since its suspension nearly 20 years earlier was held on October 17, 2015 at Totsuka Stadium (now Waseda University’s Center for Scholarly Information). General Manager Abe faced spectators and called for participants to make the competition a national model for Japanese baseball. Abe’s appeal was met with great applause from spectators moved by the general manager’s statements.

“The final Waseda-Keio Baseball Game”

In 1943, the Big 6 Tokyo Baseball League faced lighting issues and experienced a temporary black out. The game held on October 16 at the Totsuka Baseball Stadium was said to be the final game between Waseda and Keio and was incorporated into a movie and other media formats. The reason it was sad to be the final game was due to the circumstances of the Pacific War and the deployment of students to the battlefield. At the game, students exchanged cheers, realizing they may never be able to meet again. After the war came to a close, the Waseda-Keio Baseball Game was brought back on October 28 by both universities and is considered an important tradition that continues to this day.

2015 Waseda-Keio Baseball Game
  • Schedule:
    First Match – May 30 (Saturday) 1:00pm~
    Second Match – May 31(Sunday) 1:00pm~
  • Venue:
    Meiji Jingu Stadium
  • Purchase Period:
    May 21 (Thursday) ~ Until tickets sell out

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