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Jul. 27, Sun.*This program was first broadcast on Jul. 12, 2012

High School Baseball

Each summer, Hanshin Koshien Stadium in Nishinomiya City, Hyogo Prefecture, becomes the stage for a drama that grips the entire nation. Here, high school baseball teams from across the country assemble to compete for the national championship. Fans, in the stands and at home, go wild with excitement. Yu Darvish, Hideki Matsui, Daisuke Matsuzaka, and many other Japanese players who have gone on to play Major League baseball in the US made their names at Koshien as youth players. One epic 18-inning game is considered Koshien's greatest ever. Where are the players now? Some men continue to chase the dream of playing at Koshien Stadium decades after finishing high school. But how?

On this edition of BEGIN Japanology, we look at high school baseball - how it is more than just a sport and why it captivates the Japanese imagination like nothing else.