Masumi Kuwata

The Appeal of Tokyo for Masumi Kuwata

When I first came to Tokyo when I was 18, I was surprised by the highway that slips between buildings, and the rail network that spreads through Tokyo. In the U.S. and Europe, I think there is nothing so spectacular.

While urbanization has progressed so much, its unexpectedly large number of parks is another charm of Tokyo. When I was an athlete, and I felt totally humiliated when we lost a game, I would hate to go straight home. I would often go to a park, where I would do things like relaxing and looking at the moon.

But recently, I guess for safety, it is a pity that there are many places where even playing catch has become prohibited. When we were kids, playing baseball in the park was normal. As a baseball person, I would like there to be places where people can easily play baseball.

In the States., they build arenas and stadiums in harmony with the city, and that really impressed me. In Tokyo, for example, it might be good to try to build a baseball stadium where people can enjoy the landscape of skyscrapers lining up outside. By creating a stadium that makes people think "I want to play there," I think the population of athletes will increase.

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Masumi Kuwata

Born in Osaka in 1968. Served as an ace pitcher for PL Gakuen High School, a school renowned for its high school baseball team, from his first year. Along with his teammates, appeared at the Koshien baseball tournament five seasons in a row, winning the finals twice and the semifinals twice. Achieved a Koshien record of 20 victories (a post-WWII record) and 6 home runs (tieing the post-WWII record for second place). 1986: Drafted by the Yomiuri Giants in the first round. 2006: Left the Yomiuri Giants after a 21-year, 173-win career to join Major League Baseball (MLB). Earned a string of titles and honors, including the Eiji Sawamura Award, Central League MVP Award, Best Nine, best earned-run average and best strikeout record. 2007: Joined the Pittsburgh Pirates in his MLB debut. Retired the following year, in March 2008. 2010: Completed Master's Degree in Sport Sciences at Waseda University. 2011: Although supervising and actively coaching the Aso Giants, a youth baseball team, while still on active roster, he launched an NPO called Amici del Cuore to provide baseball training to children and spread coaching methods suitable for a new age.

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