Koshien is one of a kind and uniquely Japanese
TOKYO — There is simply nothing in the world like the National High School Baseball Championship Tournament held at Koshien Stadium ever summer. Forty nine teams converge in one place over a two-week period, whittled down in single-elimination play, until only one is left. Crowds of up to 50,000 fans per day attend, while each and every game is telecast live, nationwide, by NHK to an audience of millions.
England has the historic 151 year-old F.A. Cup, a knockout tournament that pares down 763 teams — professional and amateur teams. The final draws 9 million viewers but the rest of games are spread out, and lack the intensity of the Koshien summer fest.
The World Series used to be an event that caused life in America to stop as workers and students alike found ways to escape to the nearest TV or radio. The most-viewed Game was Game 4 in 1966 when the Los Angeles Dodgers swept the New York Yankees with a viewership estimated to be 55 to 60 million. In 1978, 42,278,950 people, representing one-half of all TV sets in use, watched the Yankees-Dodgers World Series.