During the final game of the National High School Baseball Tournament (Summer Koshien), a spectator’s disruptive behavior after consuming alcohol has sparked widespread criticism online.
The event had previously been temporarily suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic but was eventually allowed to proceed. In light of the incident, we reached out to the organizers and the stadium for their response to the concerns and criticisms.
Hanshin Koshien Stadium
An intoxicated man causing trouble at Koshien (screenshot from a video posted by @tsunukist)
Alcohol Sales and Consumption at Koshien
During the final match on August 23, 2023, immediately after Keio (Kanagawa) secured victory against Sendai Ikuei (Miyagi), an inebriated individual in the airport section of the stadium engaged in altercations with fellow spectators and engaged in disorderly behavior, even attacking individuals who were still on the ground.
On August 24th, the day following the incident, J-CAST News published an article titled “Rampant Drinking at Koshien Final Raises Concerns?,” generating suspicion and criticism regarding the allowance of alcohol consumption in the spectators’ seating area.
“I feel uncomfortable with selling alcohol at high school sports competitions.”
“Bringing alcohol into high school baseball games should be prohibited.”
“If this issue is not resolved, the revered grounds of high school baseball will be tarnished.”
While some argued in favor of enjoying alcoholic beverages while watching baseball games, many disagreed, asserting that high school baseball serves as an educational platform distinct from professional baseball.
According to the official website of Hanshin Koshien Stadium and a spokesperson, various alcoholic beverages, including beer, chuhai, sake, and shochu, were available for purchase at the kiosks during the summer Koshien tournament. Vendors within the stadium also sold beer and other alcoholic products.
To minimize potential hazards, the rules prohibited attendees from bringing in cans and bottles, though alcohol in water bottles and cups was allowed. Additionally, individuals were permitted to consume alcohol outside the stadium and then re-enter. Nevertheless, a series of incidents related to alcohol consumption has occurred during this tournament.
On the 17th, a 37-year-old unemployed man was arrested for obstructing the performance of official duties after getting into an argument with a fellow spectator while under the influence of alcohol and punching a police officer in the jaw. On the 21st, during the semi-final, a 35-year-old restaurant worker was arrested for assaulting a security guard by punching him in the stomach after becoming heavily intoxicated and crouching on the ground outside the stadium.
Organizers’ Stance on Alcohol Consumption
A spokesperson from Hanshin Koshien Stadium provided an explanation to J-CAST News on August 25, 2018, stating that high school baseball games allow for the sale and consumption of alcohol.
“The decision regarding alcohol sales and entry is ultimately determined by the event organizer. Currently, there are no plans to review these policies, and the idea of designated drinking areas has never been proposed.”
The Japan High School Baseball Federation (Japan Takanoren), the organizing body behind the Koshien summer tournament, and Asahi Shimbun issued a joint statement during an interview on the 28th.
“We allow the sale of alcoholic beverages to cater to various forms of enjoyment, such as eating and drinking while watching the game, for families and friends attending the tournament. In 2021, alcohol sales were postponed as a precaution against COVID-19, and they resumed in 2022. However, the rules strictly forbid bringing in cans and bottles in order to maintain safety.”
While online opinions have largely focused on the educational perspective of high school baseball, it appears that the organizers primarily considered the spectator experience when formulating their policies.
It is worth exploring how other competitions address the sale and consumption of alcohol.
No Alcohol Sales at Inter-High to Promote Educational Activities
The National High School Athletic Federation, the organizer of the High School Interscholastic Championships held mainly in Hokkaido from July 22nd to August 21st, clarified on the 25th that they have never allowed the sale of alcohol at their tournaments. The rationale behind this decision, as explained, is that club activities are considered educational endeavors, and the Inter-High is a platform for showcasing results.
Although there are no specific regulations regarding bringing alcohol into the stadium, the federation stated that they have not observed spectators consuming alcohol in the seating area during inspections. Additionally, they have received no reports of such incidents from the competition’s executive committees. Going forward, the federation intends to maintain the same policy for the Inter-High. The tournament is jointly sponsored by the Yomiuri Shimbun.
Furthermore, the Inter-High, which takes place around the same time as Koshien in the summer, does not include baseball as one of its sports. The Japan Takanoren is not affiliated with the National High School Athletic Federation but is associated with the Japan Student Baseball Association.
Football, a popular sport alongside baseball, features inter-school competitions where alcohol consumption is likewise prohibited. Entry to the stadium while intoxicated or any interference with the game’s operation is strictly forbidden.
Both the semi-final and final matches held at the National Stadium explicitly stated that alcohol sales and bringing in alcohol were not allowed. The tournament is sponsored by the Japan Football Association and 43 commercial broadcasters, with co-sponsorship from the National High School Athletics Federation.
(Hiroyuki Noguchi, J-CAST News Editorial Department)
During the final game of the National High School Baseball Tournament (Summer Koshien), there was a spectator who drank alcohol and went wild, and criticism has exploded on the Internet.
It was temporarily banned from sales and entry due to the corona wreck, but was revived. We asked the organizers and the stadium how they would respond to questions and criticism.
Hanshin Koshien Stadium
A man who drank alcohol and passed out in Koshien (From a video posted by Yanhai-kun @tsunukist)
There were stalls and vendors selling liquor, and you could bring your own in a water bottle.
In the final match on August 23, 2023, immediately after Keio (Kanagawa) won against Sendai Ikuei (Miyagi), a drunk young man in the airport on the right side came into contact with other spectators and went on a rampage. with people still down.
About this commotion, J-CAST News reported the following day, 24th, entitled “Koshien final, viewers drink alcohol and are warned of “rampage”? In the comments section of , there were voices of suspicion and criticism about the fact that people were drinking in the audience seats in the first place.
“I feel uncomfortable selling alcohol at high school sports competitions.”
“It should be banned to bring it into high school baseball games.”
“If this problem is not solved, the holy ground of high school baseball will be ruined.”
Some said they wanted to enjoy drinking while watching baseball games, but many disagreed, arguing that unlike professional baseball, high school baseball is a substitute for education.
According to Hanshin Koshien Stadium’s official website and a spokesperson, alcoholic beverages such as beer, chuhai, sake and shochu were sold at the kiosk during summer Koshien. Vendors at the stadium also sold beer and other items.
To prevent danger, bringing in cans and bottles is prohibited, but it was possible to bring in alcohol in water bottles and cups. Even if you drink alcohol outside, you can go inside. On the other hand, in this tournament, drinking problems have happened one after the other.
On the 17th, a 37-year-old unemployed man was arrested on suspicion of obstructing the performance of official duties after he got into an argument with a spectator after drinking and punched a police officer in the jaw. In the semi-final on the 21st, a 35-year-old restaurant worker was arrested for red-handed assault after he got drunk and crouched on the ground outside the stadium and punched a security guard in the stomach when he called out to him. .
“We will respond to different styles of entertainment, including eating and drinking while watching the game.”
A Hanshin Koshien Stadium spokesperson explained to J-CAST News on August 25, 2018, that alcohol is allowed to be sold or brought into high school baseball.
“It’s not all decided in the stadium, it’s basically the organizer’s intention. In terms of sales and entry, the organizer decides. So far, we’re not talking about reviewing it. It wasn’t no mention ever of separating places to drink.”
The Japan High School Baseball Federation (Japan Takanoren), which hosts the Koshien summer, and the Asahi Shimbun jointly commented on the interview on the 28th as follows.
“We allow the sale of alcoholic beverages to satisfy the different types of enjoyment, including eating and drinking while watching the game, to customers who come with their families or friends.
In the summer tournament, sales were postponed in 2021, in principle without spectators to prevent infection, but it was allowed to resume from 2022. From the point of view of preventing danger, it is forbidden to bring in cans and bottles.”
When it comes to selling and bringing in alcohol, many opinions on the Internet emphasized the educational point of view, but it seems that the organizers mainly considered the audience’s point of view.
I wonder how other competitions deal with selling and bringing in alcohol.
At Inter-High, alcohol is not sold as part of educational activities
On the 25th, the National High School Athletic Federation (National High School Athletic Federation), the organizer of the High School Interscholastic Championships held mainly in Hokkaido from July 22nd to August 21st, said that alcohol was being sold at the venue. I never had. He explained that the reason for this is, “Because club activities are part of educational activities, and Inter-High is where the results are presented.”
There were no specific regulations regarding bringing alcohol into the stadium, but he replied, “During our inspections, we have not confirmed that people are drinking in the spectator seats. In addition, we have not received any reports on this from the executive committees of the competitions.” . In the future, we will continue to maintain inter-high levels with the same policy. The Inter-High is co- sponsored by the Yomiuri Shimbun.
In addition, the Inter-High is held around the same time as Koshien in the summer, and baseball is not included in the sports. The Japan Takanoren is not affiliated with the National High School Athletic Federation, but is affiliated with the Japan Student Baseball Association.
Football, which is popular along with baseball, has become an inter-school event, In addition, alcohol was not allowed to be brought in. It is also forbidden to enter the stadium while drunk, or to interfere with the operation of the game or other actions.
In the semi-final and final held at the National Stadium, it was clearly stated that “alcohol will not be sold in the venue, and alcohol will not be brought into the venue.” The tournament is sponsored by the Japan Football Association and 43 commercial broadcasters, and is co-sponsored by the National High School Athletics Federation.
(Hiroyuki Noguchi, J-CAST News Editorial Department)
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