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Japan Series


Japan Series

Not to be confused with the Major League Baseball Japan All-Star Series

The Japan Championship Series (日本選手権シリーズ Nippon Senshuken Shiriizu), or Japan Series (日本シリーズ Nippon Shiriizu) is the annual championship series in Nippon Professional Baseball and the top baseball league in Japan. It is a seven-game series between the winning clubs of the league's two circuits, the Central League and the Pacific League.

The Series is the highest level of play in professional baseball in Japan. It is usually played in October or November. As in all of the best-of-seven series, the first team to win four games is the overall winner and is declared the Japan Series Champion (日本一 Nippon Ichi, number one in Japan) each year. The winner of the Japan Series also goes on to be the Japanese representative team in the annual Asia Series.

The home team for games 1, 2 and eventually 6 and 7, alternates between the two leagues with the Pacific League having the advantage on the years ending with an odd number and the Central League on the years ending with an even number. Designated Hitters are used if the team from the Pacific League hosts the game.

There is a 40-man postseason roster limit, and the rule on drawn games is changed to 15 innings instead of 12. If the series is tied after the seventh game, a Game 8 will be held without any limits in extra innings with the same team hosting Games 6 and 7 hosting this game.

Historically, the Central League has been more successful in the Japan Series than the Pacific League, having won thirty-five times versus the Pacific League's thirty. The team with the most championships is the Yomiuri Giants, who have won the Japan Series twenty-two times. In 2004, the Pacific League instituted a three-team stepladder playoff format to determine the league champion, while the Central League champion had a long wait before the Japan Series. During this time, the Pacific League won four consecutive Series from 2003-2006. Starting with the 2007 postseason, both leagues adopted the Climax Series to determine their champions. The Climax Series involves the top three finishers in each league, though the format gives a significant advantage to the team with the best record in each league.

On November 6, 2010, the Chunichi Dragons and Chiba Lotte Marines played the longest game in Japan Series History. It lasted fifteen innings and resulted in a 2-2 draw.


  • List of winners 1
  • Teams by number of wins 2
  • Leagues by number of wins 3
  • Streaks and droughts 4
  • See also 5
  • External links 6

List of winners

Central League Pacific League
Year Winning Team Losing Team Series MVP
1950 Mainichi Orions (PL) Shochiku Robins (CL) 4–2 Kaoru Bettou
1951 Yomiuri Giants (CL) Nankai Hawks (PL) 4–2 Yukou Minamimura
1952 Yomiuri Giants (CL) Nankai Hawks (PL) 4–2 Takehiko Bessho
1953 Yomiuri Giants (CL) Nankai Hawks (PL) 4–2–1 Tetsuharu Kawakami
1954 Chunichi Dragons (CL) Nishitetsu Lions (PL) 4–3 Shigeru Sugishita
1955 Yomiuri Giants (CL) Nankai Hawks (PL) 4–3 Takehiko Bessho
1956 Nishitetsu Lions (PL) Yomiuri Giants (CL) 4–2 Yasumitsu Toyoda
1957 Nishitetsu Lions (PL) Yomiuri Giants (CL) 4–0–1 Hiroshi Oshita
1958 Nishitetsu Lions (PL) Yomiuri Giants (CL) 4–3 Kazuhisa Inao
1959 Nankai Hawks (PL) Yomiuri Giants (CL) 4–0 Tadashi Sugiura
1960 Taiyō Whales (CL) Daimai Orions (PL) 4–0 Akihito Kondo
1961 Yomiuri Giants (CL) Nankai Hawks (PL) 4–2 Toshio Miyamoto
1962 Toei Flyers (PL) Hanshin Tigers (CL) 4–2–1 Masayuki Dobashi
Masayuki Tanemo
1963 Yomiuri Giants (CL) Nishitetsu Lions (PL) 4–3 Shigeo Nagashima
1964 Nankai Hawks (PL) Hanshin Tigers (CL) 4–3 Joe Stanka
1965 Yomiuri Giants (CL) Nankai Hawks (PL) 4–1 Shigeo Nagashima
1966 Yomiuri Giants (CL) Nankai Hawks (PL) 4–2 Isao Shibata
1967 Yomiuri Giants (CL) Hankyu Braves (PL) 4–2 Masaaki Mori
1968 Yomiuri Giants (CL) Hankyu Braves (PL) 4–2 Shigeru Takada
1969 Yomiuri Giants (CL) Hankyu Braves (PL) 4–2 Shigeo Nagashima
1970 Yomiuri Giants (CL) Lotte Orions (PL) 4–1 Shigeo Nagashima
1971 Yomiuri Giants (CL) Hankyu Braves (PL) 4–1 Toshimitsu Suetsugu
1972 Yomiuri Giants (CL) Hankyu Braves (PL) 4–1 Tsuneo Horiuchi
1973 Yomiuri Giants (CL) Nankai Hawks (PL) 4–1 Tsuneo Horiuchi
1974 Lotte Orions (PL) Chunichi Dragons (CL) 4–2 Sumio Hirota
1975 Hankyu Braves (PL) Hiroshima Toyo Carp (CL) 4–0–1 Takashi Yamaguchi
1976 Hankyu Braves (PL) Yomiuri Giants (CL) 4–3 Yutaka Fukumoto
1977 Hankyu Braves (PL) Yomiuri Giants (CL) 4–1 Hisashi Yamada
1978 Yakult Swallows (CL) Hankyu Braves (PL) 4–3 Katsuo Osugi
1979 Hiroshima Toyo Carp (CL) Kintetsu Buffaloes (PL) 4–3 Yoshihiko Takahashi
1980 Hiroshima Toyo Carp (CL) Kintetsu Buffaloes (PL) 4–3 Jim Lyttle
1981 Yomiuri Giants (CL) Nippon Ham Fighters (PL) 4–2 Takashi Nishimoto
1982 Seibu Lions (PL) Chunichi Dragons (CL) 4–3 Osamu Higashio
1983 Seibu Lions (PL) Yomiuri Giants (CL) 4–3 Takuji Ota
1984 Hiroshima Toyo Carp (CL) Hankyu Braves (PL) 4–3 Kiyoyuki Nagashima
1985 Hanshin Tigers (CL) Seibu Lions (PL) 4–2 Randy Bass
1986 Seibu Lions (PL) Hiroshima Toyo Carp (CL) 4–3–1 Kimiyasu Kudoh
1987 Seibu Lions (PL) Yomiuri Giants (CL) 4–2 Kimiyasu Kudoh
1988 Seibu Lions (PL) Chunichi Dragons (CL) 4–1 Hiromichi Ishige
1989 Yomiuri Giants (CL) Kintetsu Buffaloes (PL) 4–3 Norihiro Komada
1990 Seibu Lions (PL) Yomiuri Giants (CL) 4–0 Orestes Destrade
1991 Seibu Lions (PL) Hiroshima Toyo Carp (CL) 4–3 Kouji Akiyama
1992 Seibu Lions (PL) Yakult Swallows (CL) 4–3 Takehiro Ishii
1993 Yakult Swallows (CL) Seibu Lions (PL) 4–3 Kenjiro Kawasaki
1994 Yomiuri Giants (CL) Seibu Lions (PL) 4–2 Hiromi Makihara
1995 Yakult Swallows (CL) Orix Blue Wave (PL) 4–1 Tom O'Malley
1996 Orix BlueWave (PL) Yomiuri Giants (CL) 4–1 Troy Neel
1997 Yakult Swallows (CL) Seibu Lions (PL) 4–1 Atsuya Furuta
1998 Yokohama BayStars (CL) Seibu Lions (PL) 4–2 Takanori Suzuki
1999 Fukuoka Daiei Hawks (PL) Chunichi Dragons (CL) 4–1 Kouji Akiyama
2000 Yomiuri Giants (CL) Fukuoka Daiei Hawks (PL) 4–2 Hideki Matsui
2001 Yakult Swallows (CL) Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes (PL) 4–1 Atsuya Furuta
2002 Yomiuri Giants (CL) Seibu Lions (PL) 4–0 Tomohiro Nioka
2003 Fukuoka Daiei Hawks (PL) Hanshin Tigers (CL) 4–3 Toshiya Sugiuchi
2004 Seibu Lions (PL) Chunichi Dragons (CL) 4–3 Takashi Ishii
2005 Chiba Lotte Marines (PL) Hanshin Tigers (CL) 4–0 Toshiaki Imae
2006 Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters (PL) Chunichi Dragons (CL) 4–1 Atsunori Inaba
2007 Chunichi Dragons (CL) Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters (PL) 4–1 Norihiro Nakamura
2008 Saitama Seibu Lions (PL) Yomiuri Giants (CL) 4–3 Takayuki Kishi
2009 Yomiuri Giants (CL) Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters (PL) 4–2 Shinnosuke Abe
2010 Chiba Lotte Marines (PL) Chunichi Dragons (CL) 4–2–1 Toshiaki Imae
2011 Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks (PL) Chunichi Dragons (CL) 4–3 Hiroki Kokubo
2012 Yomiuri Giants (CL) Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters (PL) 4–2 Tetsuya Utsumi
2013 Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles (PL) Yomiuri Giants (CL) 4–3 Manabu Mima
2014 Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks (PL) Hanshin Tigers (CL) 4–1 Seiichi Uchikawa

NOTE: There is a limit to the number of innings which may be played during any game in Japanese professional baseball. All ties after 15 innings (was originally 12 innings) are official tie games.

Teams by number of wins

Team Wins Losses
Yomiuri Giants 22 12
Saitama Seibu Lions1 13 8
Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks2 6 9
Tokyo Yakult Swallows 5 1
Orix Buffaloes3 4 8
Chiba Lotte Marines4 4 2
Hiroshima Toyo Carp 3 3
Chunichi Dragons 2 8
Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters5 2 4
Yokohama BayStars6 2 0
Hanshin Tigers 1 5
Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles 1 0
Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes7 0 4
Shochiku Robins8 0 1

1The franchise currently known as the Saitama Seibu Lions had a Japan Series record of 3–2 as the Nishitetsu Lions.
2The franchise currently known as the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks had a Japan Series record of 2–8 as the Nankai Hawks.
3The franchise currently known as the Orix Buffaloes had a Japan Series record of 3–7 as the Hankyu Braves, and 1–1 as the Orix BlueWave. It took its current name in 2005 after merging with the Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes.
4The franchise currently known as the Chiba Lotte Marines had a Japan Series record of 1–0 as the Mainichi Orions, 0–1 as the Daimai Orions, and 1–1 as the Lotte Orions.
5The franchise currently known as the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters had a Japan Series record of 1–0 as the Toei Flyers.
6The franchise currently known as the Yokohama BayStars had a Japan Series record of 1–0 as the Taiyō Whales.
7The Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes were merged with the Orix BlueWave in 2005 to form the Orix Buffaloes.
8The Shochiku Robins were merged with the Taiyō Whales in 1953, eventually becoming the Yokohama BayStars.

Leagues by number of wins

Team Wins Losses
Central League 35 30
Pacific League 30 35

Streaks and droughts

See also

External links

  • Japan Baseball Daily
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