The Ridiculous High School Tournaments of Japan

If you’re a sports fan, you would be familiar with round robins and knock-out tournaments. As with all sports, seeding is an inevitable part of tournaments. For those who are unfamiliar with seeding, I’ll briefly explain how it works and hope that it makes sense.

Depending on the sport, seeds are usually based on a player’s or a team’s world ranking and their past performances at the same tournament. What seeding does is to prevent the best players from being lined up all on one side of the chart, because if that happens, many of them will all be out of the tournament leaving the finals to be played between a top player and a random player making for an unexciting finals. In order to make sure that the best players make it to the finals, the top seed will be farthest separated from the second seed, so that if both of them win all their games, they will meet at the finals. But, for example, if someone knocks out the first or second seed along the way, it is proof that these other players are stronger, thus making for a deserving victory. Some people argue otherwise but that’s not the purpose of this post here. I’m just here to deliver the pizza. Don’t ask me how it was made.

Getting back on, some of Japan’s high school tournaments have the most ridiculous seeds in their prefectures. Look at the following chart of the 2011 Aomori prefecture national high school soccer tournament. All other high schools start the tournament at the Round of 32 level, except 青森山田 (Aomori Yamada) who begins their tournament at the semi-finals. In order to be champions of their prefecture, they just have to win 2 games, unlike other schools who have to win 5 games.


And if you think it’s too much to give so much advantage to Aomori Yamada, look at their baseball tournament chart below. They still start from the semi-finals.


Before you faint from Aomori’s ridiculous way of seeding high schools, take a look at Nagasaki’s 国見 (Kunimi) who begins their tournament from… the finals! They just have to play one single game to be the prefectural champion while the rest of the schools have to win 7! Alright, 6 for a couple of schools but still!


On the other hand, the rugby tournament of Tottori prefecture, which has the smallest population in the whole of Japan, looks like this. Yes, just 2 schools. At least it’s fair.


The same goes for the high school rugby tournament of Shimane prefecture. Looking at the results, you can see that 石見智翠館 (Iwami Chisuikan) is extremely strong over their opponent with a 182-0 win. But apparently, 出雲 (Izumo) really is a combined team of Izumo and 松江 (Matsue) since both schools do not have enough members, and since the national tournament doesn’t allow for combined schools, Iwami Chisuikan will go to the national tournament regardless of the results in their prefecture. Thankfully, they really are a strong team with their best results going into the Best of 8 in the whole of Japan.

At such a lost for words, I’ve got no idea how to close this post…


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