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Baseball is widely played in America. And also, in, historically America's foe, Japan. Trade relations between Japan and America have been on hold since the bombing but sports have no boundaries. Several Japanese talents feature in the MLB, thanks to their upbringing at home. School students are devoted to playing baseball and college baseball is a precursor to Japanese baseball. That is how Nippon Professional Baseball is called around the world. The Japanese call it Puro Yakyo, which translates to Professional Baseball.
Formerly known as the Japanese Baseball league, NPB is founded in the 1950. The league consists of two divisions, Central and Pacific. Each division has six teams. The division winners qualify straight to the semi-finals. Whereas, the second and third placed sides will battle it out in the quarter-finals.
A baseball game is lit with energy, noise and drums on Matchday. Japanese celebrate the game like none other. Yomiuri Giants and Hanshin Tigers are the two most followed teams. The Giants have been to the finals a whopping 36 times, 22 of them have ended them winning the title. Though winning just once, Hanshin Tigers have enjoyed considerable success throughout the decades and have stayed in the hearts of the fans. Last season winners were Fukuoka Softbank Hawks. Once known as Nankai Hawks, the name changed when they moved to Fukuoka in 1988. There are seven metropolitan teams in the league including the Hawks. Throughout history, there have been five mergers in NPB. Kintetsu Buffaloes is the last team who pulled off a merger. Operating as Kintetsu Buffaloes since 1949, they united with the Orix BlueWave to become the Orix Buffaloes in 2004.