Month: September 2016

Who actually wins Koushien?

Who actually wins Koushien?

(original screencap source unknown, holy crap why am I continuing to pull things from memories of games I’d like to forget. Oh well it’s used to prove a point so I guess it’s ok.)

From my last article, you can see that despite the numerous schools that participate for Koushien, really there’s a select group that for the most part takes the spots each and every year. In reality, it shouldn’t be that surprising at all.

What shouldn’t be surprising as well is who actually wins it all. It’d be foolish to think that all qualficants are made equal. Especially from rural areas where as little as 4 wins get you the title. More populous areas generally means more competition.

So how bad is it here? Let’s take a look at the Haru and Natsu Koushien tournaments for the last 20 years.

Who won the title?

  • There were several repeat winners in both tournaments
    • Haru Koushien
      • Toukaidai Sagami (Kanagawa) – 2000, 2011
      • Yokohama (Kanagawa) – 1998, 2006
      • Okinawa Shougaku (Okinawa) – 1999, 2008
    • Natsu Koushien
      • Osaka Touin (Osaka) – 2008, 2012, 2014
      • Nichidai-san (Nishi Tokyo) – 2001, 2011
      • Chiben Wakayama (Wakayama) – 1997, 2000
      • Komadai Tomakomai (Minami Hokkaido) – 2004, 2005
    • Combined there were 9 schools who have won multiple titles:
      • Osaka Touin (Osaka) – 2008/2012/2014 (Natsu), 2012 (Haru)
      • Yokohama (Kanagawa) – 1998 (Natsu), 1998/2006 (Haru)
      • Toukaidai Sagami (Kanagawa) – 2015 (Natsu), 2000/2011 (Haru)
      • Nichidai-san (Nishi Tokyo) – 2001, 2011 (Natsu)
      • Chiben Wakayama (Wakayama) – 1997, 2000 (Natsu)
      • Komadai Tomakomai (Minami Hokkaido) – 2004, 2005 (Natsu)
      • Kounan (Okinawa) – 2010 (Natsu), 2010 (Haru)
      • Jyousou Gakuin (Ibaraki) – 2003 (Natsu), 2001 (Haru)
      • Okinawa Shougaku (Okinawa) – 1999, 2008 (Haru)

That means that those 9 schools accounted for 55% of the titles in the past 2 decades.

Where did these come from?

  • Not surprisingly, from the 2015 Census (courtesy of the Statistics Bureau), almost half of the winners came from the 10 most populous prefectures (Haru/Natsu Titles):
    • Tokyo – 0(!)/3
    • Kanagawa – 4/2
    • Osaka – 1(!)/3
    • Aichi – 1/1
    • Saitama – 1/0
    • Chiba – 0/0
    • Hyogo – 1/0
    • Hokkaido – 0/2
    • Fukuoka – 0/0
    • Shizuoka – 1/0
  • While the 10 least populous prefectures mostly suffered:
    • Tottori – 0/0
    • Shimane – 0/0
    • Kochi – 0/1 (Meitoku Gijyuku)
    • Tokushima – 0/0
    • Fukui – 1 (Tsuruga Kehi)/0
    • Saga – 0/1 (Saga Kita)
    • Yamanashi – 0/0
    • Wakayama – 0/2 (Chiben Wakayama)
    • Kagawa – 0/0
    • Akita – 0/0
  • Of the others:
    • 11th – Ibaraki – 1/0
    • 12th – Hiroshima – 1/0
    • 13th – Kyoto – 1/0
    • 18th – Tochigi – 0/1
    • 19th – Gunma – 0/1
    • 25th – Okinawa – 3/1
    • 28th – Ehime – 1/0
    • 29th – Nagasaki – 1/0
    • 30th – Nara – 2/0
  • 26 out of the 47 prefectures have not won either a Haru or Natsu title in the last 20 years, with Chiba being the most populous prefecture to have failed to do so.

A complete look can be found here.

While it seems odd that the lower population prefectures seems to have had more success at Natsu Koushien than Haru Koushien, you have to note that:

  1. The last Natsu winner from the 10 current least populous prefectures was Saga Kita back in 2007, and if you remember that game it looked that that was an impossibility until that fateful bottom of the 8th. Before that, you have to go back to 2002 and Meitoku Gijyuku and then before that Chiben Wakayama’s 2 titles, and we all know in hindsight that Chiben Wakayama was on a steady decline after that.
  2. The Haru Koushien is run differently in that Super-Regions are awarded a fixed number of bids with some floating bids between regions. So while regions like Tohoku, Chuugoku and Shikoku get 2 bids guaranteed, Tokyo itself is guaranteed 1 and Kinki gets 6. So it follows that not every rural prefecture is represented each year at Haru Koushien.

It’s not all that surprising then that we see what we see in recent years then. And with talent continuing to be funneled into a concentrated number of schools more and more prefectures will probably just have to settle with being happy to be there. It’s sad, but a realistic viewpoint.

 

How many schools really go to Koushien?

How many schools really go to Koushien?

(screencap courtesy of Hokuriku Asahi Broadcasting, and sorry Komatsu Ootani you’re the perfect example and I really wish you won that year)

I mentioned this in my prior article on the ace conundrum, but Koushien in many ways has become a place primarily for the elite. Kokoyakyu fans have their favorite teams, and most of them are teams that regularly make an appearance at Koushien. This despite the fact that the JHBF always makes it a point to mention the number of schools total participating.

So how bad is the elitism?

Well, looking over the last 10 years there were a total of 496 slots available (2008 there were 55 teams as several prefectures got a 2nd bid). Of those 496 slots, 256 schools took all the slots.

  • 139 schools (54.3% of qualified schools) made just 1 appearance (28% of all slots)
  • 13 schools (5%) made 5 or more appearances and took up 80 of the 496 slots (16.1%)
    • 10 – Seikou Gakuin (Fukushima)
    • 8 – Sakushin Gakuin (Tochigi)
    • 7 – Chiben Wakayama (Wakayama) & Meitoku Gijyuku (Kochi)
    • 6 – Sendai Ikuei (Miyagi), Jyousou Gakuin (Ibaraki), Naruto (Tokushima)
    • 5 – Hanamaki Higashi (Iwate), Fukui Shougyou (Fukui), Chiben Gakuen (Nara), Osaka Touin (Osaka), Kaisei (Shimane), Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku (Fukuoka)
  • Which leaves the remaining 104 schools (40.7%), who have made 2-4 appearances (55.9%)

As for the individual prefectures themselves:

  • 7 prefectures have been represented by 3 or less schools
    • Fukushima – Seikou Gakuin (10)
    • Kochi – Meitoku Gijyuku (7), Kochi (3)
    • Iwate – Hanamaki Higashi (5), Moriokadai Fuzoku (4), Ichinoseki Gakuin
    • Tochigi – Sakushin Gakuin (8), Bunsei Geidai Fuzoku, Hakuoudai Ashikaga
    • Shizuoka – Tokoha Kikugawa (4), Tokoha Tachibana & Shizuoka (3)
    • Nara – Chiben Gakuen (5), Tenri (4), Sakurai
    • Wakayama – Chiben Wakayama (7), Shiritsu Wakayama (2), Minoshima
  • 31 prefectures had at least 1 school who won at least 4 times.
  • No prefecture had 10 different representatives, the closest was Yamaguchi with 9 (Iwakuni was the only repeat winner)
  • 4 prefectures had 8 different schools (and that includes both Chiba and Hyogo!)
  • 6 prefectures had 7 different schools
  • Of the 10 most populous prefectures:
    • Tokyo
      • Nishi – 5 different schools, 3 repeat winners
      • Higashi – 5 different schools, 2 repeat winners
    • Kanagawa – 5 different schools, 3 repeat winners
    • Osaka – 5 different schools, 2 repeat winners
      • Osaka Touin with 5 (duh)
      • Riseisha with 2
    • Aichi – 5 different schools, 3 repeat winners
      • Aikoudai Meiden, Chuukyoudai Chuukyou and Touhou all with 3
    • Saitama – 5 different schools, 3 repeat winners
    • Chiba – 8 different schools, 1 repeat winner
      • Kisaradzu Sougou with 4
    • Hyogo – 8 different schools, 3 repeat winners
    • Hokkaido
      • Kita – 8 different schools, 2 repeat winners (Komadai Iwamizawa though does not exist anymore)
      • Minami – 5 different schools, 3 repeat winners
    • Fukuoka – 5 different schools, 2 repeat winners
    • Shizuoka – 3 different schools, all repeat winners
      • Tokoha Kikugawa with 4
      • Tokoha Tachibana and Shizuoka with 3
  • And the 10 least populous:
    • Tottori – 5 different schools, 3 repeat winners
    • Shimane – 4 different schools, 3 repeat winners
    • Kochi – 2 different schools, both repeat winners
      • As aforementioned Meitoku Gijyuku with 8, Kochi with 2
    • Tokushima – 4 different schools, 2 repeat winners
    • Fukui – 4 different schools, 2 repeat winners
    • Saga – 7 different schools, 2 repeat winners
    • Yamanashi – 5 different schools, 3 repeat winners
    • Wakayama – 3 different schools, 2 repeat winners
      • Of course Chiben Wakayama looms with 7.
    • Kagawa – 6 different schools, 4 repeat winners
      • Eimei, Jinsei Gakuen, Kagawa Nishi and Sangawa all making 2 appearances
    • Akita – 7 different schools, 2 repeat winners

The spreadsheet can be found here, but it seems like the average prefecture has 5 different schools qualifying with around 2-3 repeat winners. Doesn’t even matter the size of prefecture either, which probably speaks to the the fact that kids will go to the competitive schools. And I haven’t even delved to look at the best 4 to see if the schools that have won have at least gotten that far (that might be the topic of a follow up article).

But with 256 schools composing the 496 bids, and 117 of those making at least 1 repeat appearance. And in talking about a universe of around 3,900 schools now, to me it seems rather clear that the romanticism of any school making it is for the most part dead.

And now you know why I root for schools like Komatsu Ootani.