American Baseball vs. Japanese Baseball: What is the difference?

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Difference between American Baseball and Japanese Baseball

Baseball is as American as apple pie of course, but you may be surprised to find out that it is just as highly regarded a sport in many countries all over the world, with Japan being only one of them. The game is played pretty much the same way in the Land Of The Rising Sun interestingly enough, although there are a few differences worth looking into.

Equipment and Playing Field

The equipment used in Japanese baseball is pretty much the same as that used in American baseball, although the ball is noticeably smaller and harder. The core of the ball is more tightly wound and this results in faster travel and a more powerful pitch. The field used in Japanese baseball is also a bit smaller than that used in American baseball.

Team Divisions

American baseball is comprised of two leagues: the American League, which has fourteen teams and the National League, which has sixteen teams. Each league is comprised of three divisions: East, Central and West.

While the two leagues in American baseball have traditionally been distinct from each other, 1903 brought them together in an annual championship called the World Series. Teams from both leagues would also meet in the annual All-Star Games. By 2000, the American and National Leagues were effectively dissolved and American baseball simply came under the umbrella of Major League Baseball.

Japanese baseball for its part is compromised of two leagues–Central and Pacific–with twelve teams between them. While the Central League is widely considered to be the more distinguished league of the two, the Pacific does feature younger and more exciting players.

Playing Skills And Rules

Most Japanese players seem to prefer working on their bunting and fielding skills as well as base running, in contrast to the American players who seem to emphasize pitching and long ball batting to other concerns. This is partly the reason why Japanese baseball games usually have lower final scores, with both teams usually being pretty close in score at the end of the game.

Japanese baseball traditionally followed the two strike and three ball count, instead of the three strike-two ball count used in the United States and the rest of the world. In January 2010 however, Japanese baseball officials announced that they would begin to use the same system that is employed in American baseball.

It is also interesting to note that ties may occur in Japanese baseball, although they are not allowed in American baseball.


American Baseball

  • More focused on pitching and batting skills
  • Tends to have higher final scores
  • Is comprised of two leagues with fourteen and sixteen teams respectively
  • Ties are not possible

Japanese Baseball

  • More focused on bunting and fielding skills
  • Usually have lower final scores than American games
  • Used to call two strikes and three balls but has adopted the American three strikes and two balls count
  • Is comprised of two leagues with twelve teams between them
  • Ties may occur

American Baseball and Japanese Baseball Video

Which is more popular?
  • American Baseball
  • Japanese Baseball

Discuss It: comments 2

  • Guest
  • vern fetch wrote on October 2014

American baseball 3 strikes and 2 balls??? I am of the opinion it is 2 strikes, 4 balls.

  • Guest
  • vern fetch wrote on October 2014

I meant to say 3 strike 4 ball in American baseball.

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