After a 3-year lapse, Hsinchu County Chung Shan Elementary School’s junior baseball team paid a visit to Miyakonojo City in Miyazaki Prefecture, Japan to continue a tradition full of beautiful baseball-related memories established 12 years ago. Led by Chun-Tzu Yang, Director-General of Hsinchu County Government’s Education Bureau, the junior baseball team departed for Japan on July 26. The delegates were warmly greeted in Fukuoka by Mr. Toru Hoshihara, Director-General of Miyakonojo City Youth Sports Association, and Mr. Jun-Ming Chen, Director of Fukuoka Branch, Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Osaka, launching a 5-day visit focused on friendly baseball games and educational and cultural experiences in Miyakonojo City.
Hsinchu County Magistrate Yang Wen-Ke stated that Hsinchu County has attached great importance to sports development and made great efforts to support baseball exchange activities. The County currently has six junior baseball teams, set in Guanshi Elementary School, Da-Tong Elementary School, Chung Shan Elementary School, Wufeng Elementary School, Shangguan Elementary School, and Liujia Elementary School. Among them, Chung Shan Elementary School's junior baseball team has demonstrated particularly outstanding performance, with fantastic achievements in several national-level games. The team’s achievements in recent years include champion in the 2022 Zhudong Mayor Cup and TOTO Cup Selection Competition, runner-up in the 2022 Hua Nan FHC Cup - National Junior Baseball Championship, champion in the 2022 Fifth Ximen Cup - National Junior Baseball Championship, and runner-up in the 2023 Hua Nan FHC Cup - National Junior Baseball Championship. It is hoped that the experience gained during this exchange visit will facilitate the team’s further success.
The Education Bureau pointed out that since Hsinchu County’s junior baseball team first visited Miyakonojo City in 2011, there have been several exchanges between the two sides. This is the fifth time that Hsinchu County’s junior baseball team was invited to visit Japan. Despite the impact of the pandemic over the past 3 years, everyone’s passion for baseball remains strong. Through baseball exchange activities, the friendship between Taiwan and Japan has been reinforced, and this relationship has become a characteristic of Hsinchu County’s baseball activities. Moreover, these exchange activities have enabled Hsinchu County to learn from the vigorous development of baseball in Miyakonojo City, and understand the city government’s efforts to turn baseball into a grassroots sport.
On the first day of the game activity, an opening ceremony was conducted with passionate as warm as the weather in Miyakonojo City. Two games started immediately after the ceremonial first pitch was performed by Mr. Toru Hoshihara, Director-General of Miyakonojo City Youth Sports Association, and Ms. Chun-Tzu Yang, Director-General of Hsinchu County Education Bureau. The first game ended with a score of 16-4, and the second with a score of 7-7, with a good showing from Chung Shan Elementary School. After the games, the athletes met with the Miyakonojo City Council in the afternoon, and were warmly welcomed by Mr. Yoshinaga, Deputy Mayor of Miyakonojo City. The two groups exchanged gifts, and the cute mascot of Miyakonojo City also joined to take photos with the visitors. It was a lovely and unforgettable day.
On the second day, four games were held under scorching sun, which was not only a tough battle but also a great test of stamina for the young players. The score results of the four games were 7-1, 9-8, 22-8, and 5-5. Four wins and two draws were achieved in the six games held in two days, fully demonstrating the accumulated effectiveness of daily training. The players’ excellent performance was highly praised by the Japanese host, marking a perfect end to the Taiwan–Japan baseball exchange event.
The Education Bureau indicated that, in addition to allowing team members to improve their baseball skills, through the visit to Okimizu Elementary School, the largest elementary school in the city, personnel were able to interact with Japanese educators and learn from the education site of a different culture. It is helpful for personnel to develop global perspectives, experience a bilingual setting, improve interpersonal skills, and bask in the luminosity and warmth brought by the baseball, educational, and cultural exchanges between the two countries.