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Difference Between American and Japanese Baseball

baseballAmerican vs Japanese Baseball

Believe it or not, baseball is played in Japan as well! In Japan, their baseball is referred to as ‘yakyu’ (professional baseball), and in America, it is, of course, just American baseball. One of the major differences between these two baseball games, is the actual size of the ball. The Japanese baseball is bigger (and harder) than the American baseball. This is a very controversial topic discussed on TV and radio. Although Japanese players have a good history of securing runs, their focus is more on sac flys, walks, bunts, solid fielding and stolen bases, rather than on players and runs, unlike the American teams.

As with all variations of sporting activities, there are some exclusive rules in Japanese baseball. For example, if the pitcher were to accidentally hit the batter, he should tip his cap as the batter returns to the base. This gesture indicates that the hit was not done intentionally, and there is no need for retaliatory battles!

The possibility of a tie may occur in Japanese baseball, although, ties are only seen in major games. It takes about 20 innings and two days to break a tie. To ensure that each batsman arrives fresh and ready in his position, there is a six man rotation scheme within the Japanese baseball game. Every year, the Japanese professional baseball team plays with the other champions in Asia, and they are regarded as the best team in the whole of Asia. On average though, it has been seen that the Japanese people have taken longer to achieve the major league.

The American baseball teams do consist of some Japanese players, which further indicates America’s inclusion and diversity to other cultures and races in their sporting activities. The Japanese players have also done very well in the American teams. However, there are no American players in the Japanese baseball teams. There are about 30 leagues which support the American baseball teams.


1.The size of the Japanese baseball is bigger than the American baseball.
2.The Japanese baseball is also harder than the American baseball.
3.There are Japanese baseball players in the American teams, but there are no American players in the Japanese baseball teams.
4.Unlike in American baseball, a tie may occur in a major Japanese baseball game.
5.The American players focus more on players and runs than the Japanese baseball teams.

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  1. There are American baseball players on Japanese teams and have been for a long time. They do have a limit to the number of players each team can have. Teams can have no more than 5 Foreign players on the team and they cannot be all pitchers, they must range in position. This rule is extinguished once a player has played in the league for more than 10 years. This has only happened once.

    • Thanks. I am in Japan and see many American players on various teams now. They certainly are not the best of American players, but they serve a purpose.

  2. Due to samurai spirit, the stance of Japaness players either pitchers or hitters are uniform than MLB.
    You can easily the difference of the pitcher between U.S and Japaness on their stride foot before
    The Kick.
    How do you feel that stance can affect players who perform on the field ??
    Do the coach need to correct stance of players or let it develop naturally??

  3. And this is why Japan won the real world series with runner up Korea in the world games and that’s why the little league champions of the world is also Japan with runner up Hawaii. No drugs or steroids on the Japanese teams vs. up to every starter on a given MLB team testing positive for drugs and steroids.

    • Hector not sure what your quote below means?…are you are stating that Japanese baseball is superior than American baseball based on your sample size of one year of Little League Baseball?…just asking?

      “And this is why Japan won the real world series with runner up Korea in the world games and that’s why the little league champions of the world is also Japan with runner up Hawaii.”

      Anyway as of 2011 and the last 10 Little League World Series, the American Kids had won 7 and Japan 2.

      Also, overall, the Americans have won 31 Series Championships to Japan’s 5…

    • This is the dumbest comment ever.

  4. …And this is another reason why I don’t condone drugs or steroids in baseball for this reason right here: Baseball is a game about maturing as a person on and off the field in addition to it being a game of fair play with rules among superior athletes with-in the lines. To show kids, not only kids but myself too, that by following the rules and solving the mathematical equation systematically a scientific and technological development is possible. A baseball an educated man also knows that the game teaches: fair play, sportsmanship in addition to teaching basic motor skills. The game is supposed to teach: honesty, courtesy and it is also a social activity. “Exercise” above everything else is baseballs primary purpose for competition. To show that exercise can be fun. This is what baseball is. It is an 8 letter word with 1 more position always left open to be filled. That is where MLB failed and Japans Asian theory and culture won. As for the athletes that lied about drug use, well it proves this much to me: The player’s never matured as a whole person regardless of how big and bad “they think they are” and didn’t have the integrity to admit the truth. Drug dealers and users are not welcomed in my living room to corrupt the values of my family and that’s how it is here. The answer to MLB and my old scouts and coaches is a big No!.

  5. I don’t condone steroid use, but how naive to say that nearly EVERY starting player on a team takes performance enhancing drugs. You are quite a bitter person who apparently can’t give up the dream.

    Anyways, Japan would NOT win the WBC if the U.S. fielded its best players. Since it is held in the middle of the season almost, if not all of the players on the U.S. WBC team are MINOR LEAGUE players. Of course that’s not to say they aren’t major league ready, but they are hardly the pick-of-the-litter…. much like yourself Hector.

    • Hector isn’t the only one.

      The World Baseball Classic happens before the Major League Baseball season starts, and even a cursory glance at the 2009 US roster shows it to be absolutely loaded with big league stars.


      So, yes, Japan could and did win against a supposedly elite American team. Twice.

      • Apparently those two guys aren’t the only ones either.

        The top players from MLB teams (regardless of country) do not always play in the classic. You are right it starts before the REGULAR season, but it does happen in the pre-season where they are slowly eased (sp?) into full playing time. Most front-line pitchers opt not to, and some are asked by their teams not to. During pre-season they can use pitchers for a couple innings and ramp them up. The top pitchers are usually kept as far away from the WBC as possible.

        There is absolutely NO argument to be made that the best of the best pitchers play in the WBC. They do not, and there is zero debate that can be had. There is no way to convince anyone who actually pays attention to the MLB that Derek Holland is among the best starters the league could come up with. No Verlander, Kershaw, Lincecum, Cain, Cliff Lee, Halladay, Hamels, Wainright, Price, Strasburg, Sabathia, Weaver, Lester, Greinke, etc. It is laughable to suggest that it was an elite pitching staff. Elite line-up? Not the best combo but certainly a very powerful line-up got beat. A couple of other teams had elite starting pitchers missing as well.

  6. Small point. My son just returned from Japan and brought me a baseball. it weighs 134 grams. I have several MLB reg balls and they all weigh between 143 and 146 grams. You are the only person I have read who says Japanese ball are bigger. . . . do you mean bigger but lighter or are you simply wrong?

  7. Besides the equipment, Nippon players utilize strategies that are moderately different as well. For instance, the best overall hitter in the MLB bats 3rd but in Nippon, its often 4th. Sacrifice bunts, hit and run plays and squeeze plays are also a lot more common in the Nippon than in the MLB.

  8. For someone like me just researching pro baseball, let alone Japanese pro baseball, this was a complete waste of time.

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