Confirmation of the first "City of Cricket" in West Japan
Partnership Agreement with Kaizuka City
- City to develop specific structures to support cricket.
- Kaizuka City Council commit to promoting itself as a “City of Cricket”.
- Japan Cricket Association and Kinki Cricket Association pledge full support.
- Specifically targeting overseas visitors due to close proximity to Kansai Airport.
Today a partnership was signed between Kaizuka City, the Japan Cricket Association and the Kinki Cricket Association confirming the aim of revitalising the City of Kaizuka through the promotion of cricket in the hope that this can improve infrastructure and tourism.
The chief goal is to make Kaizuka the primary hub for all cricket in western Japan, with specific focus on attracting touring teams to play at the proposed ground near Kansai International Airport. Present at the signing were the Mayor of Kaizuka Mr Fujiwara Tatsuo, the President of the Japan Cricket Association Mr Makoto Yamada, and the Chair of Kinki Cricket Mrs Yasuko Yoshinaka. This represents the first step in the new five year strategy for Japan Cricket which states its aims to grow cricket outside the traditional home of the Kanto region and look for more places where the game can thrive. Through this project the city hopes to catch the attention of new groups of people and rejuvenate the city by attracting players both foreign and domestic.
Cricket in Japan
Kaizuka City will become the fourth “City of Cricket”, following Sano City in Tochigi in 2008,
Akishima City in the west of Tokyo in 2014, and Sanmu City in Chiba in 2016. It is the first partnership
of its kind to be made with anywhere outside of Kanto and promises to break new ground in
development of Japanese cricket by attracting a new core of players to the game while giving the
existing player base a location to focus on for training and playing matches.
Domestic Cricket in Japan
The Japan Cricket Association was established in 1984 and given Associate status by the ICC in 2005.In 2008 the association moved to its current home in Sano, Tochigi, with the intention of targeting
specific towns and growing the game in strategic locations. The association has taken a ‘from the
ground up’ approach to growing the sport by focusing on junior players and in 2014 launched the
“Cricket Blast” program as an introductory product for elementary school children. This has led to
increased numbers playing the game and in 2016 formal Under 15 and Under 19 leagues were created
to cater for the growing need of junior cricketers. This now provides a direct pathway in to the senior
competitions; the 40-over Japan Cricket League (since 2006) and the Twenty20 competition the Japan
Cup (since 2009) and ultimately, the National Team.
Japanese Cricket - A Growing Profile
Total participation numbers in Japan have grown considerably during the last five year period, with
the number of registered players now around 3,500. Numbers in junior and senior cricket continue to
increase while the modified formats of the game are proving popular for expats and locals alike. The
women’s game is a target area having had success at the 2010 Asian Games with a bronze medal, the team has not reached those heights since but new players are coming through the junior programs.The recent conversion of pro baseballer Shogo Kimura to cricket also shows that the game is reaching a wider audience and almost 20,000 people experienced cricket in some form in 2017.