JJRS 48/2 New Religions in Kōshien: Religious Identity and High School Baseball

Okuyama Michiaki 奥山倫明

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This article examines the holy ground of Kōshien, Japan’s annual high school baseball tournament, and the national festival and cultic fever that accompanies it. Some of the most successful schools that participate in Kōshien were founded by new religious groups such as Tenrikyō, PL Kyōdan, and Bentenshū. I offer some suggestions why this is the case, since none of these religions espouse either sports or competition in their formal creed. Furthermore, I consider the success of these schools in a postwar Japanese social context that has changed substantially since their establishment. The article will also touch on the most recent criticism of Japanese collectivism and how this criticism may effect baseball culture.