After just watching the documentary Kokoyaku, I reflected on my own experience of viewing a Japanese baseball game. Not being from the United States, baseball is a little unfamiliar; my main purpose of watching the Tigers vs. Giants at Tokyo Dome was to experience the atmosphere and observe the behaviour of the Japanese crowd.
The experience began positively, amidst a vibrant bunch of fans I tried to take some cans of beer in plastic bags. It seemed they were onto this and I expected them to confiscate it, but instead they poured the beer into paper cups for me and threw the cans away! Furthermore, inside the dome, beer is served by incredibly cute girls carrying beer kegs on their backs; watching them hopping and bowing their way through the crowd, I wondered how long they’d survive in the crowd at some of the more heated soccer/football games in the UK….
As also shown in the documentary, the crowd had unique chants for different players. I was in the Tigers stand, and even as things went from bad to worse (eventually they lost this game), the crowd became more positive and supportive. I didn’t understand the chants but from the upbeat tone I can’t imagine they resembled the aggressive, profane slander that supporters in the UK scream at their team to show their dissatisfaction with the performance.
The Japanese crowd impressed me greatly. The held at least as much passion as I’ve seen anywhere else, but to my awareness it never showed any signs of resulting in violence, to the extent where congratulations were even offered to the victorious opposition.
I don’t pay enough attention to sports, but the documentary in class left quite an impression on me. Viewing this sport from the inside held some surprising elements, but generally it was in line with other aspects of Japan I have experienced. It has granted me the desire to attend a couple more baseball games in Japan, both to watch out for elements that I was unaware of prior to viewing the video and explore these themes further, and on another occasion to get lost in the enthusiasm and join in with supporting the Tigers.