The Kyoto-Based Korean School The Kyoto International School (KIS) is becoming a sensation in high school baseball. Entering the Japanese high school baseball championship for the first time, or a popular target for high school baseball teams, the Korean ethnic school made it to the semi-finals to everyone’s surprise.
KIS beat Tsuruga Kehi High School in Fukui Prefecture 3-2 in the quarter-finals of Summer Koshien, held on Thursday at Hanshin Koshien Stadium in Nishinomiya City, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan. Finalizing the 8th inning in a two-to-two tie, the Kyoto representative scored an additional point, aided by a sure hit in right field and the opponent’s mistake in the lower part of the 9th inning. The school song, which begins with the “East Sea” in Korean, was once again very well received by NHK in Japan.
Tsuruga Kehi High School has attended Summer Koshien up to 10 times and builds on its status as one of the best baseball powerhouses in Japan. It reached the championship in the 2015 National High School Baseball Invitational Tournament of Japan or the Spring Koshien. In an interview with NHK after winning the game, KIS head coach Komaki Noritsugu said: “An uphill battle was expected, so I asked the athletes to maintain a certain level of stamina and do their best until the last minute.” He was reminded to think that it was over when KIS lost two points in the top of the 8th inning but happily attributed the win to the athletes later.
Summer Koshien is attended by 49 high schools from each city region – exceptionally two schools each from Tokyo and Hokkaido – which pass the preliminary rounds in the country’s 47 regional locations. It is more of a battle between local communities than a high school level competition, which explains why it is very popular across Japan. As KIS wins three games in a row, some taxis have a cheering sentence that says, “Come on, KIS! Kyoto International 9 “appended.
“It is a great pleasure to make the Korean people in Japan happy and excited,” said KIS Director Park Kyung-soo. “I hope the school wins the game ahead to make it to the final of the competition.” The semi-finals and the final are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday respectively.