(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:
- 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
- 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.