Japan Series

Japan Series
First played 1950
Most recently played 2017
Current champions Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks
Current runners-up Yokohama DeNA BayStars
Most titles Yomiuri Giants (22)

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, 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 with the same team hosting Games 6 and 7 hosting this game. Only once a Game 8 has been played in Japan Series history, where the Seibu Lions defeated the Hiroshima Toyo Carp in 1986. In the event that Game 8 does not decide the series, the next game would be played at the stadium that hosted Games 3 through 5 after a day of rest, and games will continue until one team wins four games.

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

CL Central League
PL Pacific League
MVP Japan Series Most Valuable Player Award
FSA Fighting Spirit Award (MVP on the losing team)
Year Winning Team Losing Team Series MVP FSA
1950 Mainichi Orions (PL)Shochiku Robins (CL)4–2Kaoru BettouNot awarded
1951 Yomiuri Giants (CL)Nankai Hawks (PL)4–2Yukou MinamimuraNot awarded
1952 Yomiuri Giants (CL)Nankai Hawks (PL)4–2Takehiko BesshoNot awarded
1953 Yomiuri Giants (CL)Nankai Hawks (PL)4–2–1Tetsuharu KawakamiHiroshi Minohara
1954 Chunichi Dragons (CL)Nishitetsu Lions (PL)4–3Shigeru SugishitaHiroshi Oshita
1955 Yomiuri Giants (CL)Nankai Hawks (PL)4–3Takehiko BesshoIchiro Togawa
1956 Nishitetsu Lions (PL)Yomiuri Giants (CL)4–2Yasumitsu ToyodaKazuhisa Inao
1957 Nishitetsu Lions (PL)Yomiuri Giants (CL)4–0–1Hiroshi OshitaToshio Miyamoto
1958 Nishitetsu Lions (PL)Yomiuri Giants (CL)4–3Kazuhisa InaoMotoshi Fujita
1959 Nankai Hawks (PL)Yomiuri Giants (CL)4–0Tadashi SugiuraMasataka Tsuchiya
1960 Taiyō Whales (CL)Daimai Orions (PL)4–0Akihito KondoKenjiro Tamiya
1961 Yomiuri Giants (CL)Nankai Hawks (PL)4–2Andy MiyamotoJoe Stanka
1962 Toei Flyers (PL)Hanshin Tigers (CL)4–2–1Masayuki Dobashi
Masayuki Tanemo
Yoshio Yoshida
1963 Yomiuri Giants (CL)Nishitetsu Lions (PL)4–3Shigeo NagashimaKazuhisa Inao
1964 Nankai Hawks (PL)Hanshin Tigers (CL)4–3Joe StankaKazuhiro Yamauchi
1965 Yomiuri Giants (CL)Nankai Hawks (PL)4–1Shigeo NagashimaNobushige Morishita
1966 Yomiuri Giants (CL)Nankai Hawks (PL)4–2Isao ShibataTaisuke Watanabe
1967 Yomiuri Giants (CL)Hankyu Braves (PL)4–2Masaaki MoriMitsuhiro Adachi
1968 Yomiuri Giants (CL)Hankyu Braves (PL)4–2Shigeru TakadaTokuji Nagaike
1969 Yomiuri Giants (CL)Hankyu Braves (PL)4–2Shigeo NagashimaTokuji Nagaike
1970 Yomiuri Giants (CL)Lotte Orions (PL)4–1Shigeo NagashimaReiji Iishi
1971 Yomiuri Giants (CL)Hankyu Braves (PL)4–1Toshimitsu SuetsuguHisashi Yamada
1972 Yomiuri Giants (CL)Hankyu Braves (PL)4–1Tsuneo HoriuchiMitsuhiro Adachi
1973 Yomiuri Giants (CL)Nankai Hawks (PL)4–1Tsuneo HoriuchiKatsuya Nomura
1974 Lotte Orions (PL)Chunichi Dragons (CL)4–2Sumio HirotaMorimichi Takagi
1975 Hankyu Braves (PL)Hiroshima Toyo Carp (CL)4–0–2Takashi YamaguchiKoji Yamamoto
1976 Hankyu Braves (PL)Yomiuri Giants (CL)4–3Yutaka FukumotoIsao Shibata
1977 Hankyu Braves (PL)Yomiuri Giants (CL)4–1Hisashi YamadaKazumasa Kono
1978 Yakult Swallows (CL)Hankyu Braves (PL)4–3Katsuo OsugiMitsuhiro Adachi
1979 Hiroshima Toyo Carp (CL)Kintetsu Buffaloes (PL)4–3Yoshihiko TakahashiTakashi Imoto
1980 Hiroshima Toyo Carp (CL)Kintetsu Buffaloes (PL)4–3Jim LyttleToru Ogawa
1981 Yomiuri Giants (CL)Nippon-Ham Fighters (PL)4–2Takashi NishimotoHiroaki Inoue
1982 Seibu Lions (PL)Chunichi Dragons (CL)4–2Osamu HigashioSeiji Kamikawa
1983 Seibu Lions (PL)Yomiuri Giants (CL)4–3Takuji OtaTakashi Nishimoto
1984 Hiroshima Toyo Carp (CL)Hankyu Braves (PL)4–3Kiyoyuki NagashimaYukihiko Yamaoki
1985 Hanshin Tigers (CL)Seibu Lions (PL)4–2Randy BassHiromichi Ishige
1986 Seibu Lions (PL)Hiroshima Toyo Carp (CL)4–3–1Kimiyasu KudoMitsuo Tatsukawa
1987 Seibu Lions (PL)Yomiuri Giants (CL)4–2Kimiyasu KudoKazunori Shinozuka
1988 Seibu Lions (PL)Chunichi Dragons (CL)4–1Hiromichi IshigeMasaru Uno
1989 Yomiuri Giants (CL)Kintetsu Buffaloes (PL)4–3Norihiro KomadaHiromasa Arai
1990 Seibu Lions (PL)Yomiuri Giants (CL)4–0Orestes DestradeKaoru Okazaki
1991 Seibu Lions (PL)Hiroshima Toyo Carp (CL)4–3Kouji AkiyamaKazuhisa Kawaguchi
1992 Seibu Lions (PL)Yakult Swallows (CL)4–3Takehiro IshiiYoichi Okabayashi
1993 Yakult Swallows (CL)Seibu Lions (PL)4–3Kenjiro KawasakiKazuhiro Kiyohara
1994 Yomiuri Giants (CL)Seibu Lions (PL)4–2Hiromi MakiharaKazuhiro Kiyohara
1995 Yakult Swallows (CL)Orix Blue Wave (PL)4–1Tom O'MalleyHiroshi Kobayashi
1996 Orix BlueWave (PL)Yomiuri Giants (CL)4–1Troy NeelToshihisa Nishi
1997 Yakult Swallows (CL)Seibu Lions (PL)4–1Atsuya FurutaKazuo Matsui
1998 Yokohama BayStars (CL)Seibu Lions (PL)4–2Takanori SuzukiKoji Otsuka
1999 Fukuoka Daiei Hawks (PL)Chunichi Dragons (CL)4–1Kouji AkiyamaKenshin Kawakami
2000 Yomiuri Giants (CL)Fukuoka Daiei Hawks (PL)4–2Hideki MatsuiKenji Jojima
2001 Yakult Swallows (CL)Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes (PL)4–1Atsuya FurutaTuffy Rhodes
2002 Yomiuri Giants (CL)Seibu Lions (PL)4–0Tomohiro NiokaAlex Cabrera
2003 Fukuoka Daiei Hawks (PL)Hanshin Tigers (CL)4–3Toshiya SugiuchiTomoaki Kanemoto
2004 Seibu Lions (PL)Chunichi Dragons (CL)4–3Takashi IshiiKazuki Inoue
2005 Chiba Lotte Marines (PL)Hanshin Tigers (CL)4–0Toshiaki ImaeAkihiro Yano
2006 Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters (PL)Chunichi Dragons (CL)4–1Atsunori InabaKenshin Kawakami
2007 Chunichi Dragons (CL)Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters (PL)4–1Norihiro NakamuraYu Darvish
2008 Saitama Seibu Lions (PL)Yomiuri Giants (CL)4–3Takayuki KishiAlex Ramírez
2009 Yomiuri Giants (CL)Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters (PL)4–2Shinnosuke AbeShinji Takahashi
2010 Chiba Lotte Marines (PL)Chunichi Dragons (CL)4–2–1Toshiaki ImaeKazuhiro Wada
2011 Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks (PL)Chunichi Dragons (CL)4–3Hiroki KokuboKazuhiro Wada
2012 Yomiuri Giants (CL)Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters (PL)4–2Tetsuya UtsumiAtsunori Inaba
2013 Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles (PL)Yomiuri Giants (CL)4–3Manabu MimaHisayoshi Chōno
2014 Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks (PL)Hanshin Tigers (CL)4–1Seiichi UchikawaRandy Messenger
2015 Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks (PL)Tokyo Yakult Swallows (CL)4–1Lee Dae-hoTetsuto Yamada
2016 Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters (PL)Hiroshima Toyo Carp (CL)4–2Brandon LairdBrad Eldred
2017 Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks (PL)Yokohama DeNA BayStars (CL)4–2Dennis SarfateToshiro Miyazaki

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 2212
Saitama Seibu Lions1 138
Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks2 89
Tokyo Yakult Swallows 52
Orix Buffaloes3 48
Chiba Lotte Marines4 42
Hiroshima Toyo Carp 33
Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters5 34
Chunichi Dragons 28
Yokohama DeNA BayStars6 21
Hanshin Tigers 15
Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles 10
Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes7 04
Shochiku Robins8 01

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 has a Japan Series record of 1-0 as Yokohama Baystars and 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 DeNA BayStars.

Leagues by number of wins

Team Wins Losses
Central League3532
Pacific League3235

Streaks and droughts

See also

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