Sano Cricket-Curry Festival Announced

Masahide Okabe, the Mayor of Sano has announced the staging of the Sano Cricket-Curry Festival and its plans to become an International Cricket destination. The event, to be held on March 17th and 18th in Sano, will include an exhibition match, curry stands, social cricket matches by local players, and a chance to have a hit for anyone attending the event.

The curry stands will feature dishes from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka as well as curried versions of famous local dishes, Sano Ramen (noodle soup) and Imofurai (deep fried potatoes on a stick).

The purpose of the curry festival is to showcase to the local Japanese population the international
nature of cricket and how, to the South Asian community, it is as much a part of life as the food for which theircultures are famous. It is believed that such an event will attract interest from far and wide and gives Sano a chance to show it's support for cricket and openness to diverse communities.

Sano City, located 80 km North of Tokyo, has supported the Japan Cricket Association’s initiative to
develop the City into the home of Cricket in Japan. The “City of Cricket Sano” project started in 2008 and in the 10 years since then school programmes have introduced the sport to thousands of children every year, five grounds have been developed, and a supporter club comprising of over 100 local companies funds a full time Development Officer dedicated to the project.

In May 2017, Sano City obtained a national grant of 100 million yen to support the 400 million yen
redevelopment of the Sano International Cricket Ground (SICG) with the aim to set the foundations to comply with international standards in the near future. Sano City obtained another national grant to support a four-year, 30 million yen project called the “Cricket Town Sano Creation Project” which aims to develop new industries around the SICG that support the development of the local economy. The city received close to 300 applications for the Project Manager position and plan to confirm the successful candidate in early March. The Sano Cricket-Curry Festival is hoped to kickstart the “Cricket Town Creation Project”. 

The press conference was also attended by Shogo Kimura, who recently announced his conversion to cricket after a 15 year professional baseball career. Kimura said “When a friend suggested that I try Cricket, I didn’t know a lot about the sport but immediately said I’d give it a go.” After a few training sessions, Kimura says that he is enjoying the challenges that the differences of the two bat and ball sports present. He is delighted that Sano City is taking the lead as a “City of Cricket” and looks forward to the developments.

Kimura’s aim is to play professionally in leagues around the world. The initiation of the “Cricket Town Sano Creation Project” coincides with the beginning of the Japan Cricket Association’s new five year strategy: “Building a Brighter Future”. It is hoped that it will help increase awareness of the sport, attract new participants and fans, and provide world class facilities to support hosting of events and development of elite players.

 - Sano Cricket-Curry Festival to be held on March 17th and 18th

 - 400 million yen redevelopment project of the Sano International Cricket Ground (SICG) to be
completed in March

 - Sano City to invest 30 million yen over 4 years to become an International Cricket destination

 - Project Manager to be confirmed in March

Domestic Cricket in Japan
The Japan Cricket Association was established in 1984 and given Associate status by the ICC in
2005. In 2010, 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
‘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 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 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.
For more information - Contact Naoki Alex Miyaji, Japan Cricket Association
TEL:050-3766-4483 E-mail:[email protected]