The National Sports Fetsival

The National Sports Festival is Japan`s version of the Olympics with athletes from all over Japan representing their home prefectures. The competition`s sheer size and the volume of entrees involved stand as proof of the matter. In addition to softball, other sports such as athletics, swimming, soccer, volleyball, basketball etc. are all contested in this great national event. Prefectural teams qualify to play in their respective finals with the best male and female athletes competing for the Emperors Cup and the Empresses Cup.
This tournament started in 1946 but Womens softball (adult and high school levels) was included in 1950 while Mens softball was introduced in 1957 with high school mens teams competing from 1975. At present the four categories include; Men, Women, High School Men and High School Women tournaments.
Maintaining a stance apart from other competitions, The National Sports Festival selects representatives of each prefecture. These teams then compete on a regional level (these include Hokkaido, Tohoku, Kanto, Hoku ShinEtsu, Tokai, Kinki, Chugoku, Shikoku, Kyushu regions) with teams categorized into Mens, Womens, Boys and Girls teams.
Teams face each other on a knock-out basis while receiving points depending on how far they proceed in the tournament. The overall winner is the team with the most points gained.
Another interesting facet of this tournament is the “ Hometown Team Choice System” where players have the choice to either to play for a team from where they live or to play for a team where they went to Junior High School or High School.

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